School Board Hopeful Stresses Accountability

Offering a resume that includes work as a controller and accountant, local resident Corey Barberie has declared his candidacy in the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education election to be held in November.
Barberie said that if he’s elected to one of the three seats up for grabs this year, he’d like to bring his fiscal acumen to the table while also addressing the concerns of parents who have voiced frustration with the way the district has conducted business in recent years. One lightning rod for him, Barberie said, was a bond proposition for facility upgrades that was discussed this year but ultimately tabled for later decision.
“People have really been digging into what the district spends its money on,” he said of the proposal, which would have borrowed up to $148 million. “Oftentimes, with consulting and legal fees, it really is quite substantial.
“I think that was so poorly handled,” Barberie added. “It really felt like they knew that all indications showed this likely wasn’t going to pass.”
Acknowledging that, despite the unpopularity of the bond proposal, there are facilities that need to be upgraded and infrastructure to be fixed, Barberie said he was committed to unearthing a solution if elected and hoped to use his skill set to do so.
“If we don’t start on these now, they’re not going to get fixed overnight,” he said. “For a long time, my job was overhead budgeting and digging into multi-variance ordinances across different jurisdictions. I know how to ask these questions.”
Barberie said he feels he’s met too many parents who are pulling their children out of SMUSD schools in favor of private schools, ostensibly because they don’t feel that the district is addressing the needs of their students or being thoughtful with answers.
He said he understands the need to move school board meetings forward without necessarily addressing each concern and question raised during the opening public comments, but he would like to see implementation of a policy that would acknowledge them in another setting.
“There’s so many of these comments that are good comments and questions that never get answered,” he said. “I’ve started talking to a lot of parents and they’re starting to feel like they’re screaming into the wind.
“There are too many questions anymore,” Barberie added. “I don’t want to say there’s any impropriety on the board members or staff, because I don’t know that, but the answers they’re giving aren’t very forthcoming. In such a small district, you need accountability.”
A Torrance native, Barberie earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from San Diego State University and his master’s degree in business administration from USC. He and his wife, a San Marino native, have lived in town for two years and have a daughter in 3rd grade at Carver Elementary School.

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