Fiscal Responsibility

An agency’s budget is its strongest statement of priorities. As a management consultant to non-profit organizations, foundations, and businesses, Susan is adept at making sure that financial and technology systems are efficient and appropriately managed to carry out those priorities. For nonprofits and public agencies, this means that dollars are well spent meeting critical program goals that assist those most in need.

As a school board member, Susan takes her responsibility for fiscal oversight of the Goleta School District very seriously, ensuring that the district provides the best education possible for all students. During her three terms on the Board, the district has not looked to taxpayers for increased funding for programs or facilities. During surplus years, she proposed the practice of allocating funding for two years out rather than the current year. This allowed the district to plan ahead, so that when the economy shifted they were prepared and avoided sudden program changes for the students.

In addition to this time cushion, she advocated for increased revenue sources. Specifically, the expanded mission of the Goleta Education Foundation resulted in increased revenue for student programs, and the popular after school program is both meeting needs and generating significant revenue. During the recent recession, no permanent teaching positions were lost. By refinancing previously issued bonds, the District was able to return $1.5 million to taxpayers.

Susan is committed to helping our County remain resilient in the face of new and ongoing challenges. By working together we can ensure our entire county creates good jobs, and builds on our strengths in agriculture, tourism, healthcare, technology and education, and continues our legacy of protecting our environment.

Santa Barbara County needs Susan’s software engineering and management background and budgeting experience to help ensure that we provide high quality, cost-effective services that residents need and want. She will advocate for updating fiscal and software systems to ensure that staff has the resources and information available to efficiently deliver services and programs our residents need and want.

Public Health & Public Safety

The main purpose of local government is to ensure the public health and public safety of all residents. This means more than maintaining high quality law enforcement and fire protection; it means ensuring that our most vulnerable children have alternatives to gangs, that seniors are safe in their own homes, that our workforce has access to quality housing and transportation, and that we all enjoy a healthy economy and a healthy environment.

As a member of the Eastern Goleta Valley Community Wildfire Protection Plan development team, Susan works with neighbors, County Fire, and scientists on ways to reduce [the impacts of] wildfires through proven strategies like structure hardening and strategic fuel breaks that save lives, preserve our watersheds and restore native vegetation.


Susan Epstein has a long standing commitment to protecting our environment. In 2013, Susan was voted the Cox Communications Environmental Hero for her work eliminating pesticides on 120 acres of playing fields, and transforming school meals to locally-sourced and cooked from scratch.

Susan is committed to maintaining our area’s leadership in environmental sustainability. Our region contains some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. Our coasts, mountains, and open spaces not only attract tourists but also give our residents a high quality of life and exceptional recreational opportunities.

Susan knows that together we can find innovative solutions to our most pressing problems: the effects of climate change (including wildfire and drought), recent growth that has outpaced our infrastructure, the high cost of housing, and an aging power grid that needs serious redesign focused on the increasing use of locally generated renewable energy.

Susan will carefully evaluate every project that comes before the Board to ensure that there is the existing infrastructure to support the project, that it enhances our community character, and does not damage our precious air quality and natural resources.

GUSD Board members and staff sample food prepared in the Goleta School District kitchen as part of a new healthy lunches and breakfasts program.