Of the four candidates running for two seats on the Berkeley school board, three deserve serious consideration.
Incumbent Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, teacher Tracy Hollander and nonprofit director Judy Appel have no substantive policy differences. They all bring years of service to the district and experience with its budget.
They all understand that Berkeley schools are generously supported by parents, though they did not realize how generous. With the help of hefty parcel taxes, the district receives about 45 percent more per pupil than the average statewide, according to the latest state data, for 2010-11. Specifically, the district received about $13,000 per student.
So, Berkeley sits among the lucky districts, with challenges ahead that pale in comparison to the tough choices other districts will face.
That might help explain the respectful and professional tone when the three candidates met with us. They would all be good representatives. We endorse Leyva-Cutler because we are not inclined to oust an incumbent when the district is running well.
Our choice for the other seat is a close call. We opt for Hollander because of her teacher perspective and her emphasis on making the learning experience engaging and meaningful for children.
As for the fourth candidate on the ballot, Norma Harrison did not appear for our meeting. In earlier comments to this newspaper, she said her focus is "the struggle to build socialism" and branded school "a badly placed institution in society serving the capitalist system."