Incumbent Jim Garvey faces challenges from retired educator and coach Marion Bonura and retired educator and education activist Lee Price-Barrios. District 1 includes all of St. Tammany Parish as well as portions of Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

Marion Bonura

After 12 years of Louisiana being ranked 48th in education, Marion Bonura decided to run for the District 1 seat on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. As a coach and teacher in Jefferson Parish with 50 years of experience, Bonura thinks the laws governing education need to be changed. 

If elected to serve the residents of BESE-District 1, Bonura will push for amendments to Act 91 and BESE policies that will return local control to area schools because BESE’s one size fits all education policy doesn’t work. Bonura’s view is that different cultures and demographics need different education approaches, even in curriculum, and that local educators know what is best for the children they serve. 

As an agent of change, Bonura says only independent leaders, like himself, who are not worried about money or charter schools or choice schools, can give children the best education. He is against vouchers because they take money away from the public schools. In New Orleans, where taxpayers pay the highest taxes, parents and children are not getting their money’s worth. 

Bonura also supports policies and legislation that will raise teacher’s pay and implement a fair teacher evaluation process. He also thinks the Louisiana Department of Education should be run by an experienced educator.  

Coach Bonura thinks he can bring the advocacy needed on the BESE to help children reach their dreams because he really cares about children. That’s has been his life’s goal. 

Lee Price-Barrios 

After attending BESE meetings for the past nine years and speaking out on the injustices she observed, Price-Barrios says she cannot stand back and watch what she calls the destruction of the public school system and the harm being done to children and must join the fight with a seat at the table. She believes the public is being misinformed and that the true failure of BESE is hidden behind a system of test score manipulation and invalid formulas for producing teacher evaluations, school performance scores, and district letter grades based on the results of a single high-stakes standardized test.

Price-Barrios is a retired educator, independent journalist, and a part-time personal assistant, who says that her experience in collaborating with diverse stakeholders in both major political parties, parents, school board members, educators, administrators, and unions, as well as her efforts to educate and influence policies, her experience in advising and assisting several lawmakers in writing education legislation, and the nine years she has spent of researching education policy qualifies her to represent the citizens of BESE- District 1. 

If elected to serve on BESE, Price-Barrios pledges to do the following: support the NAACP’s call for a moratorium on new charter schools statewide; gain support from BESE  members to work with the legislature for statutory remedies for the oversight and accountability of charter schools; work to end BESE’s policy of overriding local school board decisions to refuse charter applications in their district; work to ensure that charter schools are held to the same legal requirements as traditional public schools; develop a viable plan for equity in school choice; work to retain qualified certified teachers both in the classroom and in school administrations; ensure that teachers get pay raises; and that there is a comprehensive teaching evaluation plan in place; and Price-Barrios would also conduct a review the state’s high stakes testing policies. 

Barrios has a masters degree in secondary education and a bachelor’s degree in English Language Arts and journalism.

The New Orleans Tribune

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