Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

City of San José, District 9

Pam Foley

As a 14 year school board member, I am committed to providing a free and public education to all of our students. We must help our children by providing them with the tools they need to persevere, to adapt, to be curious and to thrive.

  1. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?

    • 1) Housing – or lack of affordable housing in conjunction with low wage employment, results in families sharing living space in order to maintain a roof over their families head. • 2) Education – As a city, we must continue to support homework centers, summer school programs and safe passages to school. This includes keeping our libraries open so that all students have access to a safe a quiet space to complete their homework with access to technology. • 3) Safety – this includes police and fire. It is the centerpiece of a healthy and thriving community.

  2. How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?

    • I approach the budget process in the following way: are funds being used to support our core services? Will it benefit the majority of our families and residents? Will the funding require new revenues? Is this a fiscally sustainable decision? As councilmembers any decision must be made with the consideration that this will improve the lives of our residents. Ultimately we must be good stewards of our taxpayers money.

  3. 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?

    • First steps would be to create a streamlined permitting process so that more preschools can open. Expand preschool programs at our elementary school sites, but partnering with the local school districts. Seek additional resources from the State to expand early education programs to provide more opportunities for low-income and English-learners. This should include an emphasis on dual-language preschools and inclusionary practices.

  4. What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?

    • As a school board member, I participate on the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education. We work to improve inclusion and educational outcomes for our students. City Council does not have a role in running our public schools. Improving educational outcomes falls within the District’s purview. • As a member of the Rotary Club of San Jose, I was involved in the development of the Rotary PlayGarden. This is an adaptive playground where children with special needs play side by side with able-bodied children. We must ensure that public parks and play spaces are designed to be accessible by all children.

  5. 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?

    • City of San Jose has many good programs that benefit our children. Working together with the school districts and creating partnerships with businesses, we can expand some of the educational programs that are available. For example, the San Jose Learns is a program that partners with local nonprofits to provide funding for summer educational programs targeting K-3 students to prevent the “summer slide.” These programs are located at schools with high numbers of low-income students. School districts offer free and reduced meals programs.