Citing a need for greater financial oversight, Corey Barberie, a financial controller, will be on the November 6 ballot as a candidate for one of three open seats on San Marino’s Board of Education.
“That is the main item that has brought me here,” Barberie told The Tribune. “The San Marino community is very generous with their contributions to the Schools Foundation as well as the parcel taxes and past bonds. The increased financial scrutiny that the district has been under for the past few months has brought out more questions than answers and showed at the very least we need greater transparency on the financial workings of the district. We need to ensure that these contributions, as well as revenues from other sources, are properly spent to have the greatest impact on the quality of education. I have the skills to ask the questions that I don’t think are being asked.”
Barberie was also critical of a proposed $148 million facilities modernization bond that the school board tabled back in February.
“We need to focus any future bond proposals on safety issues as well as modernization projects,” said Barberie, who held a campaign kickoff event last weekend. “Things like fixing air conditioning for example. It is clear from the 2015 survey and the community’s response to the most recent bond proposal that alternative funding will have to be to be found for performing arts and athletic facilities.”
He also mentioned the new athletics complex at Huntington Middle School, which is currently under construction.
“Before the community is asked to approve any further funding for large projects, a full accounting of how the middle school gym started as a $6-8 million project and is currently looking more like $17.1 million,” Barberie added. “They need to demonstrate they have a robust process to manage these projects and hold to a budget.”
The candidate also said he has heard from parents of older students in the district that they are struggling to get their children into the colleges of their choice.
“Being a smaller district, we should be able to do a better job in this area,” Barberie said. “I look forward to teaming with other board members on this and other issues our district is facing. There are many things that our district does well, but we need to be more nimble to adjust to the changing landscape. As a parent of an elementary school student in the district, I have a vested interest in getting this right for her and all the students of San Marino.”
Barberie, 46, and his wife, Jennifer, have one child whom is a student at Carver Elementary School. He is vice president and financial controller at an entertainment company in Southern California, where he has been employed for 23 years. Jennifer, who grew up in San Marino, is active in the PTA at Carver and a Brownie leader for a local troop.
Corey grew up in Torrance, graduating from Torrance High School in 1990. He graduated from San Diego State with a BS in Accounting and earned an MBA from the University of Southern California.
“Another of my qualifications is that I regularly work with people from other cultures and I understand the different perspectives people have when addressing a situation,” Barberie said.“ I have to solve problems while making sure everyone is heard.”
Barberie, Jane Chon, John Gabriel, Mike Killackey and Steve Sommers are challenging incumbents Shelley Ryan and Joseph Chang on the Tuesday, November 6 ballot for three open school board seats.
Incumbent Nam Jack did not seek reelection. The terms of Board Members Lisa Link and Chris Norgaard expire in November 2020.
Following certification of the election, the successful candidates will be sworn in at the school board meeting on Tuesday, December 11.