Thursday, 29 February 2024

Luchsinger to challenge Geck for LCOE superintendent post

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Judy Luchsinger (at right) announces her plans to run for Lake County Superintendent of Schools at a rally on the courthouse steps in Lakeport on Friday, October 16, 2009. Photo by Marie Newsom.
 

 

 

LAKE COUNTY – Another race is forming as the 2010 election season nears, this time for Lake County superintendent of schools.


Dr. Judy Luchsinger told a group of about 75 people at the Lake Court Courthouse in Lakeport on Friday afternoon that she intends to challenge incumbent Dave Geck in next year's election.


Luchsinger, 64, previously held the job for 16 years. She was defeated by Dr. Bill Cornelison in the 1994 election and left office in January of 1995.


Geck, who came up through the ranks of Cornelison's office, succeeded him after being elected in 2006.


Hearing of Luchsinger's intent to run, the 61-year-old Geck said Friday that he believes his office has been providing excellent services to the school districts around the county.


“I'm sure we'll have interesting conversations,” he said of the election challenge.


The election next year will determine who will oversee the district, which has 120 employees and a $16 million annual budget.


The superintendent's job has a five-step salary schedule, with a superintendent's pay determined by his Board of Trustees. Geck currently makes $122,000 a year, about two and a half times the salary of a county supervisor.


Luchsinger said she's running on a platform of fiscal accountability and developing quality management systems to improve the district's performance.


She said she's been asked by many people to please run again. “I thought long and hard about it,” before finally deciding to take it on, she said.


The recent grand jury report, which among other things faulted Geck for signing a form that allowed a former administrator to apply for a credential program for which she wasn't qualified, was a basis for many people asking her to run, said Luchsinger.


However, Luchsinger said she preferred to focus on what she can offer the educational office.


Thanks to her previous experience, “there will be no learning curve,” Luchsinger said.


Luchsinger received her doctorate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, before moving to Lake County 42 years ago.


She taught high school English and math classes in Lakeport, and her four children went through the local schools. Luchsinger now has a young grandson attending local schools, and she lives in Lakeport with her fiance.


While she was county superintendent, she started collaborative efforts to purchase insurance for all districts jointly and brought the Academic Decathlon program to local schools. During that time there also was a collaborative district purchasing program for all the schools.


After leaving elected office, Luchsinger started her own consulting firms. Today, she works with corporations on three continents on quality and environmental management systems.


She'd like to bring those same systems to local education.


Addressing the recent community discussion about school district consolidation, Luchsinger explained, “You have to know that a school district is sort of a center of a community.”


She said the county office of education allows districts to remain small by taking on some duties. “That's what a county office can do for a district,” she said.


Luchsinger said countywide consolidation “probably doesn't make sense,” although very small districts that are in close proximity might consider it because that's a scenario where it might work best.


Among Luchsinger's goals are reestablishing fiscal accountability in the Lake County Office of Education.


She said she's been concerned that the cost of running the office has exploded since she left office in 1995.


That's what she told her audience on the courthouse steps Friday.


While teachers are working harder than ever with larger class sizes, “the quality of education has been compromised,” she said.


Responding to Luchsinger's criticisms, Geck said, “When you look at the cost of the office you have to measure it against the service and programs provided.”


Luchsinger said she thoroughly enjoys working with teachers, and appreciates what can be accomplished when organizations develop a culture of performance.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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