Retired math teacher challenges incumbent for school board seat
by Peter Burke
Sep 30, 2010 | 3920 views | 5 5 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Davenport resident George Martinez has entered the race for a four-year seat on the Santa Cruz County Board of Education, facing off against two-year board member Aaron Hinde of Scotts Valley.

George Martinez

Martinez, a longtime high school math teacher and union representative, thinks his experience in all aspects of the school system make him a good choice for the county school board.

After graduating from University of California, Santa Cruz, Martinez taught 20 years as a math teacher at Santa Cruz High School. During his time in the Santa Cruz City School District, he developed a bilingual education program and helped develop the Santa Cruz Math Academy for students throughout the county.

“I really get a kick out of working with kids,” Martinez, 59, said. “When I see them get it, it’s really a big thrill for me.”

He became the union president for Santa Cruz teachers and represented teachers in negotiations while monitoring education at the state level. In 2004, as union representative, Martinez attended a meeting at the state level and pushed for a waiver for students who had not completed Algebra 1 because of an oversight by high school counselors. It was the first waiver of its kind, and because of it, an extra 45,000 students in California were able to graduate that year.

Martinez holds that schools need financial support from the community. He has two grandchildren who will soon begin school, and he supports a countywide parcel tax that would support all the schools in the county, including charter schools.

“I’m concerned if we don’t take the lead as a community and don’t invest in our children’s future, we’re going to have problems,” he said.

He hopes to expand regional occupational programs to make up for the loss of classes such as shop and music.

“I have a perspective that is more panoramic, with real and concrete approaches to the real and vexing problems that we have,” Martinez said.

Aaron Hinde

Since his election in 2008 after a resignation left a two-year opening on the board, Hinde, a chiropractor in Scotts Valley, has become known in the county educational community. In those two years, he said, the county office of education has reduced a budget deficit of $4.5 million to zero.

“At the county level, I want to maintain a balanced budget and make decisions that make the least impact on the classroom,” Hinde said.

He is fiscally conservative and touts the county’s efforts to balance its budget while maintaining services. Over the past two years, to cut costs, the county office has allowed administrators to retire and, instead of rehiring, has spread their responsibilities to others, Hinde said.

Hinde was elected as the president of the board during his second year on the board. He has two children who will both attend Brook Knoll Elementary School by next year. His priority is to maintain a balanced budget despite shaky funding from the state.

Hinde cited the San Lorenzo Valley Charter School program and the Pacific Collegiate Charter School in Santa Cruz as examples of how districts have looked outside the box.

“I believe there is no cookie-cutter solution to education,” Hinde said. “We need to have choice. We need to have diversity.”

He strongly opposes the idea of levying a countywide parcel tax to take the place of education money no longer given by the state. No tax has been proposed. “The community and small businesses are having a much rougher time than I think people realize,” he said. “I don’t think we need to be ramming new taxes down people’s throats. It just angers people.”

However, he would support a parcel tax of less than $100 per year with a senior exemption in Scotts Valley to keep teachers in the district.

Hinde said that if he wins, it will be his final term on the board. He has been endorsed by all six of his fellow board members and the county superintendent of schools.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Time for Changes
October 02, 2010
It is clear that what the current board is doing isn't working. We need to see changes and a new individual and perspective is welcomed
October 02, 2010
Wat we dont need is another activist on the board to simple increase taxes and lower standards just to graduate kids that are noit ready. I prefer Hinde
Doc Phil
October 01, 2010
He looks like Dr. Phil.
Martinez supporter
October 01, 2010
George Martinez is one of the most knowledgeable and most dedicated educators. He understands what education is supposed to be about -- the County Board of Education needs him.
SV Fam
September 30, 2010
We support Aaron Hinde. He has done a wonderful job, and will continue into the future.

We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at