CORRECTION: In last week’s article titled, “Kelly Trunkey Challenges Joe Messina,” it was stated that Joe Messina is the current Hart District Governing Board President. Steve Sturgeon is the current board president. It was also stated that this year is the first year of district elections. The first year of district elections was in 2015. The Gazette regrets the errors.
Saying there is no place for a conservative radio-show host on a school board, Kelly Trunkey has announced she is running for the William S. Hart Union High School District board seat currently held by board president Joe Messina.
This is the first time the Hart district elections will be based on district voting. Past elections were at-large voting. Messina was first elected in 2009, when five people vied for three spots. He ran unopposed in 2013.
It is Messina’s role as host of “The Real Side with Joe Messina,” which Trunkey called “behavior I am not comfortable with,” that motivated her to run.
“He’s so involved in partisan politics that it takes away from his duties to our students, to our teachers,” she said. “I believe I do not agree with him being on the board when he has obviously, an agenda.”
Trunkey said Messina has come out against the LGBTQ community. In fact, Messina took some heat in 2014 over some comments he made in person and on his show. Two parents sought to unseat him, but failed. One claimed Messina mocked the process of former NBA player Jason Collins coming out. Messina said he questioned if people care if Collins is gay or if he can play.
Trunkey claims Messina’s views do not fit on a school board.
“We’re here to serve every child,” she said. “I don’t believe a radio show with personal, political views is right for this position,” she said. “If he wants to vocalize his views, we don’t need someone to talk down to the students he’s responsible for.”
Trunkey, married to Saugus board president Chris Trunkey, who’s also seeking re-election, said she wants “an inclusive district,” and for “everybody to have a voice. I want to provide parents with as many educational choices as possible.”
As an example, she cited a district program in which various schools offer specialized courses, mentioning the auto shop at Saugus High. But she says the district doesn’t do a good enough job of letting parents and students know that the students could transfer to said school.
“I didn’t know I could look at these schools and see if there’s something specific my child could go towards,” she said. “The Hart district has so much to offer. We need to ensure parents and children know Hart has so much to offer and where those programs are located.”
Other platforms Trunkey favors:
•She believes the district can do more to protect the safety and security of students, teachers and staff. She said she is concerned that a mentally unstable person could easily bring a weapon onto a campus, so the district needs to do more to find and treat those students before they commit violent acts.
She mentioned an article she saw in Time magazine in which a student at Santa Fe (Texas) High said she was unsurprised that a shooting took place there.
“We need to find a way to stop the bleeding,” she said. “It’s not just high school students who are afraid to go to school.”
•According to U.S. News and World Report Best High School rankings, Hart was the highest-ranked at 171 in the state (982 nationally). Next came West Ranch at 210 (1,154 nationally) followed by Saugus (247/1,339), Golden Valley (338/1,772), Valencia (344/1,793) and Canyon (411/2,125). The district’s average college readiness was rated 37 out of 100.
Trunkey said the district should be doing better.
“I don’t think our students are completely ready for college,” Trunkey said. “If we don’t have preparation, these students lose focus on what they’re going to do, possibly floundering, possibly not going after the education they should be getting.”