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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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Del Mar Union School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Erica Halpern

Erica Halpern

Governing Board Member, Del Mar Union School District
10,624 votes (44.56%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATION: Continue providing an unparalleled education. Our curriculum teaches critical thinking and problem-solving, which results in top test scores for our kids and preserves property values for all.
  • FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: Ensure we continue the budget discipline that will keep our District strong over the long term. We have maintained a BALANCED BUDGET with HEALTHY RESERVES while preserving class sizes.
  • EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE: Continue working productively with our strong and cohesive Board of Trustees. We represent multiple perspectives and professions, but we are committed to collaboration and getting the best results.



Profession:Governing Board Member, DMUSD; Past PTA President; Mother of 3 children (ages 4, 8 & 10)
Governing Board Member, Del Mar Union School District — Elected position (2015–current)
Chief Operating Officer, Investment Banking Services, Goldman, Sachs & Co. (2001–2008)
Director of Public Affairs, Presidio Trust, San Francisco (1998–1999)
Public Affairs Associate, GCA (1996–1998)
AmeriCorps Member, Partners in School Innovation (1995–1996)


Columbia Business School MBA, Finance (2001)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill BA, Journalism & Political Science (1995)

Community Activities

PTA President, Del Mar Heights School (2012–2014)
Strategic Planning Committee, DMUSD (2013–2014)
Founder, Baby & Toddler Playgroups, Del Mar Foundation (2013–2014)
Volunteer of the Year, Del Mar Heights School (2012–2013)
Facilities Planning Committee, DMUSD (2012–2013)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • All Current DMUSD School Board Trustees
  • Del Mar California Teachers Association
  • Current and Former County Supervisors representing Del Mar and Carmel Valley, Dave Roberts and Pam Slater-Price

Elected Officials (4)

  • Doug Rafner, President and Trustee, Del Mar Union School District Governing Board
  • Dave Roberts, County Supervisor representing Del Mar and Carmel Valley (District 3)
  • Kristin Gibson, Board Clerk and Trustee, Del Mar Union School District Governing Board
  • Scott Wooden, Trustee and Former President, Del Mar Union School District Governing Board

Individuals (17)

  • Pam Slater-Price, Former County Supervisor representing Del Mar and Carmel Valley (District 3)
  • Carolyn Perkins, Community Volunteer and Widow of Doug Perkins, Former DMUSD School Board Member
  • Jill MacDonald, Former Solana Beach School Board Member and Former President, Del Mar Foundation
  • Dee Rich, Former Trustee, DMUSD & SDUHSD
  • Alan Kholos, Former Trustee, Del Mar Union School District Governing Board
  • Comischell Bradley-Rodriguez, Former Board President, Del Mar Union School District Governing Board
  • Mary Farrell, Civic Leader
  • Kate Takahashi, Former PTA President, Carmel Del Mar School
  • Sandra Hoyle, Former PTA President, Del Mar Hills School
  • Kate Lampe, Former PTA President, Del Mar Heights School
  • Suzanne Hall, Former DMSEF Board Member, Torrey Hills
  • Robert & Muffie Knox, Community Members
  • Lori Laroque, Business Owner and Ashley Falls Parent
  • Ty Humes, Ocean Air Parent
  • Aimee Smith, Former DMSEF Board Member, Del Mar Heights
  • Neil Duhamel, Sage Canyon Parent
  • Lani Curtis, Former PTA Executive VP, Del Mar Heights School

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (1)

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools.  What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?
Answer from Erica Halpern:

The new law requires the District to incorporate community input on our priorities.  Happily, we have been doing that for five years since the development of our Strategic Plan process.  This plan is updated annually during a comprehensive series of meetings and working groups.  One priority is featured monthly in public board meetings with a full progress report and discussion.

Transparency is a cornerstone of good governance.  Our board has focused on community engagement and providing clear, accessible information about our budget and priorities.

Questions from League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (1)

What is the most significant challenge facing the Del Mar Union School District, and if you are elected, what steps will you take to address it?
Answer from Erica Halpern:

Our elementary school kids get an EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATION, and we do it with a BALANCED BUDGET and HEALTHY RESERVES.  Learning in our classrooms has never been better.  Sustaining top-notch instruction requires rigorous fiscal management, which must remain our focus.

In contrast to most school districts, our funding comes mostly from local property taxes rather than the state.  That means we have more dollars per student, and we are able to provide an unrivaled level of instruction.  It also means that if property tax revenue goes down, our revenue goes down with it.

It is critical that we retain sufficient financial reserves so that in a downturn we can PRESERVE CLASS SIZES, RETAIN our highly-trained TEACHERS, and MAINTAIN OUR PROPERTY VALUES.  Our board keeps a close eye on our expense structure and is strategic in resource allocation.  We have a stable financial framework that ensures we can provide high-quality education now and into the future.

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