DUBLIN -- Three school board incumbents and their 18-year-old election challenger made their differing pitches for voters to go with experience or youth in the November election.
Austin Ogden, a 2012 Dublin High School graduate, said it's time to elect a school board member with a student's point of view and the personal experience of going through Dublin schools.
"None of the board has been a student in Dublin schools," Ogden said in an election forum last week. "Dublin needs a fresh perspective, not a slate of incumbents that minimize the opportunity for students' and teachers' voices to be heard."
Incumbents Greg Tomlinson, Amy Miller and Dan Cunningham said they should be returned to office because of their proven leadership and experience in improving education.
They spoke before some 45 people in an Oct. 17 forum sponsored by the Dublin/San Ramon Women's Club at the Shannon Community Center.
The incumbents said the Dublin school system has improved its achievement test scores for 10 consecutive years and avoided teacher layoffs despite years of state financial cutbacks.
"Even with all the problems facing public schools in California, Dublin schools continue to succeed," said Cunningham, owner of a tax and accounting business. "We need people on the board that have the expertise and experience to guide the district through difficult times."
Tomlinson and Miller gave a similar message, saying a cohesive board has worked hard to manage funds wisely and see that the district recruits good school administrators and teachers.
"Test scores are doing very well," said Tomlinson, a construction finance specialist. "We need to continue to prepare our students for success in the world economy."
Miller has a master's degree in educational counseling. Before her appointment to the school board two years ago, she worked for a nonprofit group that raised funds for the school system.
Ogden, now a Diablo Valley College student, was involved in Dublin High School government last year, being selected as a rally leader to organize special events.
He said that while the achievement scores have improved in Dublin schools, the high school SAT scores have not.
He also said the school system needs to do more to reach students with different types of learning styles and to strengthen career education courses. "Not everyone is going to college," he said.
Miller said the school district has supported efforts for teachers to learn from each other about best teaching practices.
She also said the school board has defended regional occupational program classes and went to bat last year to restore funding cuts.
Miller said the school district must be prepared to deal with the continuing increase in student population in fast-growing Dublin. The school district population is growing at the rate of about "a half a school" per year, she said.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.