Michael Allman, member of the San Dieguito Union High School District governing board.
Michael Allman, member of the San Dieguito Union High School District governing board. Image via Allman campaign

Michael Allman has been a controversial voice within the San Dieguito Union High School
since he was elected in November 2020 with 42.3% of the vote. In his very first board meeting, he announced that he felt student voices had “very near zero” value to the decision the board had to make.

I was outraged, as were my peers. In December 2021, I interviewed him to get a better perspective on these issues. This April, I released an article on him in my school’s online newspaper. I discussed his suspicious activity, lack of transparency, dismissal of community members, and blatant lies. I won’t let Allman escape this quietly.

He has done too much to put our district in jeopardy to be let off without people seeing. He doesn’t want you to know or care about his injustices against the community. This essay will serve as a condensed version of issues I have encountered with Michael Allman to reach a greater audience.

Michael Allman lied to me, and is misleading you as well. I asked him why he said elected student representatives brought “very near zero” to a discussion on school campus reopening in December 2020.

He told me the quote was taken out of context while Trustee Katrina Young was asking for student opinion to “run out the clock” and delay the vote in the last minutes of the meeting. This is not true. Allman brought up student perspectives’ value himself with 30 minutes to spare in the meeting.

In conversations about my article online, Allman claimed this was “directed at Trustee Young, not at the students.” Allman knows very well that his board meetings are broadcast to the public. Any comment he makes on students during board is directed towards them, despite who he may be physically speaking to.

For over a year, Allman has danced around this situation. The truth has remained clear the entire time: Allman does not value student opinions.

He also likely lied to me about teacher options to work remotely during the height of the pandemic in January 2021. He told me that any teacher with a “valid excuse” (pre-existing conditions in household, childcare, etc.) would be able to work remotely, and they were prepared to grant this to 20% of teachers. This is most likely untrue.

The Del Mar Times reported that “10% of the district’s teacher workforce” planned on taking a leave of absence because the district denied remote options and that “[m]any teachers have said they have received no information about their options to teach remotely after Jan. 27 and may be forced to either return to the classroom or take unpaid leave.”

Several teachers have also told me that the forms for remote work were tedious and often denied. I was in the first batch of students to return to campus, and I went as often as I could.

My teachers were exhausted trying to teach in two models simultaneously while trying not to get sick. Distance learning was not ideal for many students, nobody will argue that, but I also don’t believe it was fair to force teachers into a position that put them in high risk situations without much perceived benefit.

Allman solicited massive donations to combat a recall that never happened. He also advertised an “Inner Circle of Advisors” to anyone who would give him $5,000. This allows anyone with wealth to abuse Allman’s position of power, and Allman to exploit them for
financial gain.

This does nothing to help everyday families who can’t afford to give Allman thousands of dollars in exchange for influence. He has now taken this site down without any notice. He is trying to hide his activity in hopes that you don’t see that he has a literal “inner circle” influencing his every decision.

Allman looks through district emails for his own name, but deletes his own emails to hide his tracks. Despite knowing that most students are unaware that their emails can be accessed under public records, he said it is not a violation of privacy. In fact, he told me to delete any emails I “wouldn’t put on the front page of The New York Times; you can quote me on that.”

He went as far as to say he would be deleting more emails after our interview. Allman is not acting in your best interest by doing this. He is actively subverting laws aimed at keeping public officials accountable and transparent.

Allman wants to have cameras tracking the faces of 13,000 students and hundreds of staff members. On the basis of school safety, Allman told me he wanted “more cameras, smarter cameras. Cameras that can do facial recognition or license plate capture. Not in areas where
you’d have an expectation of privacy. So not in the bathrooms and not in the locker rooms, and probably not in the classrooms to start, but in things like the hallways and common areas.”

At best, Allman wants the district to be tracking your child during their free time at school. At worst, Allman wants the district to have surveillance of everyone on campus at nearly all times.

Teachers and students don’t want a Big Brother watching over them at all times. And just like Big Brother, Allman will let everyone know when he sees something he doesn’t like.

So what motivated Allman to run for board in the first place? It wasn’t because his kids had a notable experience in the district, at least one he would note to me, and he wanted to give back.

“Before I was a Board member, I was on no parent committees. I had no role with the district at all,” he says.

It wasn’t because it’s a fun hobby. And it certainly wasn’t because it was his only job option. I believe it is because he is trying to gain the favor of the San Diego Republican Party. Allman ran for Congress in 2018 as a Republican and placed fifth out of seven in the primary. He told me “it is hard to win a seat in Congress unless you have the endorsement of the party,” and that he did not have that support in 2018.

Since then, he has followed the GOP’s likings through his policy. He advocated for school campus reopening while experts deemed it unsafe, called public school a socialist policy and “empty promise,” and constantly vilifies the San Dieguito Faculty Association.

This all conveniently aligns with the San Diego Republican Party’s desire to fill “local offices” with Republicans. To be clear, I don’t think that running for office as a Republican is inherently wrong. However, I do believe taking advantage of a school district to do so is wrong.

Allman should be using his time on the board to encourage constant and consistent improvement of a district so many groups call home, not to bolster a political resume.

This is a condensed version of my opinions on board Trustee Allman. For my full research and analysis, please visit my original article published on The Mustang.

Landon Block, a resident of Encinitas, is a senior at San Dieguito Academy. He often spends time  with his school’s Division 1 tennis team, American Sign Language Honors Society and with friends.