Former member of the El Dorado County Board of Education and a teacher for 36 years Files for Santa Cruz City Schools Board
SANTA CRUZ - George W. Bettinger, 73, a former member of the El Dorado County Board of Education and a teacher for 36 years, has filed for one of two seats on the Santa Cruz City Schools board set aside for city residents. He moved from Folsom in November, and he and wife Jackie live with their daughter, her husband and their four children.
"I'm running because I have four grandchildren in school and I want the schools to be safe and drug free," he said.
One of his grandchildren attends elementary school. Two are in middle school and one is a high school student.
Bettinger served a year as teachers union president for the Folsom Cordova Unified School District, where he worked from 1968 until his retirement in 2000. He mostly taught sixth grade.
The Oklahoma City native who was raised in a poor section of Los Angeles by a single mother said he isn't worried about being new to Santa Cruz and not being up to speed on the district's contemporary issues. Even though he has attended only one school board meeting, he knows the big problem is always funding and said he will advocate for arts and music programs.
Bettinger said he will not accept campaign contributions or put up yard signs. Rather, he intends to spread his message by visiting the homes of 100 residents around each school, handing out his business card.
"I am not a political type," he said, adding he also has not sought endorsements.
Bettinger certainly will be the underdog in the Nov. 6 contest.
Although his opponent is a first-time candidate, she comes from a well-known political family. Sheila Coonerty, a retired school psychologist, is the sister of county Supervisor Neal Coonerty and is backed by the teachers union leader and is likely to have the local Democratic establishment behind her.