Redlands Unified School District Boardmember Cristina Puraci is running for re-election because her top priority is getting students “back to school” as soon as it is safe.
“Distance learning has its advantages,” Puraci said. “But it’s not the best choice for all our students.”
Puraci announced this week that she is running for Redlands School District Board of Trustees District 4, which includes much of northeast Redlands as well as Highland and Forest Falls. She was first elected to the position in 2016 and she’s the first candidate announcing her candidacy in that race.
“Distance learning is isolated and requires constant and reliable access to technology,” she said. “It does not give students the opportunity to work on oral communication skills. It does not offer immediate feedback -- among other disadvantages.”
Also, the state mandates and requirements imposed on the districts (SB98/AB77) are very tedious and involved, she said.
Puraci said that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s July 17 declaration – when he mandated that schools in 33 counties must remain closed – came days before the Redlands school board was set to make its decision.
“We had complied with local, state, and federal safety guidelines,” Puraci said. “We were ready to go.”
She said Redlands was ready to vote on a “50/50 hybrid plan,” which split in-school instruction and online learning along with a distance learning option. This district has approximately 21,000 students.
Puraci taught elementary students for 15 years in Colton Joint Unified School District. She is now the president elect of the Association of Colton Educators, which represents more than 1,120 certificated staff.
Education runs in her family. Her husband, Adrian, teaches math and science at Beattie Middle School in Highland. They have one son.
And education runs in her blood. Puraci moved to California in 1992 after growing up in communist Romania, where her parents instilled education into their nine children so they could get ahead.