Jee Manghani for RSF School Board

By Jee Manghani

October 2, 2022

In 2018, the communities of the Rancho Santa Fe School District entrusted me with oversight of the District.  This time of serving the children and their parents has been one of the top highlights of my life, as I see the children thrive and grow from year to year.

We moved to the Ranch back in 2010 so that our children would be able to attend Roger Rowe, which I saw as a public boutique school.  Both of our sons are currently attending the school, and will be “Roger Rowe Lifers” (a term for kids who attended Roger Rowe from K-8).  I enjoy spending time at the school volunteering for multiple activities, such as coaching an after-school robotics team of 4th graders.

Several years ago, we joined the Scholars Circle of the Education Foundation, because we believe in monetarily investing in the future of all of our children.  One of the top features of our school is the 20 to 1 class sizes (or smaller).  This can only be accomplished with the sacrificial donations by the parents, grandparents, and community partners (local businesses who donate) in conjunction with the hard-working volunteers at the Education Foundation.  With the roughly $1M per year that is donated, we are able to hire one additional teacher per grade level to bring down our class sizes, that would otherwise have been 25 to 1.  My commitment to these small classes is unwavering and uncompromising.  We are also able to offer a plethora of enrichments.  This is a long-standing tradition that goes back to the days of Dr. Rowe.

When I was elected, the District was facing a sizable, and growing, deficit.  My commitment was to balance the budget and keep it balanced, so that we can keep our District strong for our children and for future generations.  What was a roughly $700,000 deficit has been balanced every year since.  This was important to retain our staff, because when the District is bleeding money, it would have been difficult to give raises.  After the Great Recession of 2008, the staff went 6 years receiving a 0% on-schedule raise.  My heart was that this would never happen again, and since my time on the Board, they have consistently received raises over the last 4 years.  This was on top of automatic step-and-column pay raises as the staff gains tenure.  It bears repeating: with all that, we have maintained a balanced budget.

With the State of California in a 2 year state of emergency due to the pandemic, many schools were shut for in-person learning.  We reopened for in-person learning on day 1 of 2020, just a few months after COVID had started.  In the last couple of years, we have seen our real estate values rise by 30-40% a year as families moved from other parts of the state to our area to allow their children to attend in-person learning at Roger Rowe.  We also led the public school Districts in San Diego County by returning to normal back in February, a month before any other District.

Looking forward, the Board has a lot of work ahead of us.  Our number one priority is to conduct a superintendent search.  We started this process in late August, and we want to conduct this search carefully in order to find the right person who understands what it means to lead a school that is the crown jewel of a small community.  Many prospective superintendents may view a job like this as a “stepping stone” in their career, but we want to find someone who would want to end their career here, like Dr. Roger Rowe did.

Another priority of mine is to continue to improve our learning environment by allowing more children to pursue advanced learning.  Meanwhile, the State continues to raise CalPERS and CalSTRS (pension) contribution levels on us.  The State is asking all Districts to implement Transitional Kindergarten, without giving us any extra money to do so.  In addition, we are facing high inflation and a possible recession. These issues will continue to pressure our budget over the coming years and therefore we need steady and responsible leadership to continue to govern our District.

Doing what is right requires listening to all stakeholders to get as much input as possible, which I have done in my four years as a Board member. I commit to continue to listen and being responsive to our community.  Today, in 2022, I ask you for your support and your vote, as I strive to keep taking care of our community’s most precious asset, the Rancho Santa Fe School District.

Please visit my website, Home – Jee Manghani – RSF School Board President

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