To Richard Barrera, his roles as a San Diego Unified trustee and leader within the local labor movement don’t conflict – they complement each other perfectly. On the school board, Barrera led a deal to hire more union workers for school construction projects, helped elect union-backed school board members and selected Cindy Marten as superintendent without a public search.

The district’s facilities chief and Scott Barnett, the former school bond trustee and a big backer of Proposition Z, defend the district’s use of bond money for items like technology and new stadiums over repairs to school buildings. “There are never press conferences or ribbon-cuttings for new roofs or parking-lot repaving,” Barnett said.

Critics inside and outside of the school board have predicted budget mismanagement would rear its head right about now. Instead, we have a balanced school budget that prioritizes students.