Van Epps to seek another school board term
School board trustee Karen Van Epps will run for another four years on the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board in the November election.Van Epps said on Friday that she decided to seek another term after hearing from the community and fellow trustees that they want her to remain on the board.”I feel the support is there,” she said, adding that other trustees have told her “at least there’s somebody there to remind us what has been.”As a board member, Van Epps said she thinks out of the box and take risks in her decision making.”It’s tough when we’re making cuts, and I’m thinking: How can we make money?” she said. Last month, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District made $1.4 million in cuts and re-allocations in the face of California’s budget crisis.Van Epps represents Area 3, which consists of residents from Tahoe City to the North Shore state line at Lake Tahoe. She said Truckee schools can learn a lot from what the lake area of the school district has been through, especially with bilingual and second-language education. She wants to make more strides toward integration in schools, she said. That has been a larger issue on the lake side of the district where a significant percentage – albeit a declining number – of Caucasian students from Kings Beach have enrolled at Tahoe Lake Elementary rather than Kings Beach Elementary, where many students are Spanish speakers.”I’d like to see integration that is not forced integration – integration that is healthy academically and socially,” she said.If she is elected to another term, Van Epps said she would like to work toward improving morale with school district employees.”We have the most incredible group of employees, and I just want them to pull together, and I think the potential is there,” she said.Van Epps said she would like to bring facilities up to par, serve the at-risk students in the district and advocate for a well-rounded education for all students.Van Epps, who owns Karen’s Playskool in Tahoe Vista, was elected to the school board in 1996, when she received more votes than John Falk. She ran unopposed in 2000. In her seven and a half years on the school board, Van Epps has been involved in the hiring of three district superintendents.Area 2 trustee Dan Collin, whose seat is also up for grabs in November, has not decided if he will seek another term as a Truckee representative on the school board.”I’m waiting to get through my daughter’s graduation before I make that decision,” he said.Candidates must file forms expressing intent to run for office between July 12 and Aug. 6.