Positive change now. Our kids deserve the best education we can provide. Our families deserve peace of mind for safety of their kids. Our taxpayers deserve the best fiscal stewardship of all funds. My mission is to work collaboratively to put the trust back in Trustee for Alum Rock.
What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?
The residents of Alum Rock are currently dealing with the issues of housing, equity and visibility. Relating to our district that's equal opportunity, achievement gap and lack of voice in our district boardroom. Equal opportunity can come down to the health and safety issues we have at some of our schools. Our district must address the basic needs immediately! Inequity of opportunity causes an achievement gap. We must provide the tools to learn and the staff to insure our kids education is world class. Finally, our residents voices must be heard, and respected to insure their engagement.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
As chair of the Bond Oversight Committee, I am most informed on those issues of facility repair, and the fiscal responsibility of our board in this area is a primary goal to achieve progress on all the others. There will always be tough decisions due to the financial constraints of our district, but I feel that opportunity, equity and visibility must be addressed urgently. This will not take a single budget cycle, but any 5 year plan must achieve significant benchmarks in all of these.
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?
Our district has attempted to create full day pre-k and kinder. We were not able to sustain it. That provided a great resource and there were few critics. In light of funding issues, I feel we must work with our local titans of the tech industry. The working families in our district provide the most valuable resource to make their products. It is time they take more responsibility for the quality of life for their employees. I would like to like to work with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and industry to find those funds.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
Every child deserves an equal opportunity to education at the school in their neighborhood. In my history, I have often needed to give voice to those who had no voice and I would strongly advocate for all kids in our care. One of the recent issues I learned of was the fact that many of our schools do not have facilities that are ADA compliant. They are allowed to go without update due to the fact they predate the new regulations. Our bond program should be prioritizing the ADA upgrades to our campuses, not avoiding them as they have been.
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?
We are fortunate to have programs providing breakfast and lunches for our kids at no charge. Some of them in shelters, who come to school without eating since the lunch provided the day prior. I would encourage further effort by our city and county to address this. Our pre-k and kinder programs have experimented with expanded days and access. We must find the funding for these and would seek alternative funders, such as industry. Finally we have organizations who do sports and other activities. We cannot afford, so should partner to ensure more access to those for our kids.