Strong strategic partnerships are how we can provide comprehensive services to children and families, and it is how I work, my 10 years of experience in public service will help me continue my advocacy as a city council member for children and families!
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
Education, healthcare, economic security. These long-term problems require committed focus and investment. A thriving local education system is the clearest indication of a healthy community. Strong partnerships and collaboration will be necessary and fundamental aspects of my work as a city councilmember. Access to health care is closely connected to economic security. According to the Federal Reserve, over one-fourth of adults skipped necessary medical care in 2017 due to being unable to afford the cost. While not the answer, as part of the solution I created a nonprofit to provide dental care for low-income children in our local school district.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
They are called business cycles for a reason. Elected officials must anticipate economic downturns. City services and the conduct of city business must always be founded on a strategic financial orientation. In order to support children and families, the city must first address its own financial challenges notably, Unfunded Accrued Liabilities. Concurrently, partnerships can allow the city to immediately leverage assets and resources to more closely partner with schools. My tenure as a city councilmember will be characterized by collaboration, innovation, and strong strategic partnerships in order to best overcome the challenges to our community and its families.
What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?
I will work collaboratively with other partners in the region to advocate for quality child care and pre school programs for all, especially low-income children and English language learners. My tenure on the school board gave me the opportunity to build relationships which will continue to foster as I take on my responsibility as a council member. Thus will continue to advocate for these services.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
High-quality programs for students with disabilities require differentiated services with a clear focus on successful student outcomes. Special education and related services could include offerings such as instruction from certified special education teachers, behavioral counseling, speech therapy, support from a paraprofessional, and access to assistive technology. These services are costly and require significant technical expertise. A strong partnership between the city and local school districts is the most effective step to support school inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs.
Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?
The long-term challenges facing children and families require a long-term financial commitment and support. While Saratoga’s opportunities may be limited, but steps can be taken. I will continue to advocate for early childhood services to address the opportunity gap.