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

Mountain View-Whisman School District

Laura Blakely

ALL kids, regardless of income level, immigration status, language, ethnicity, learning differences, race, religion or gender identity, deserve access to a high quality public education.

  1. Taking into consideration the profound impact of COVID-19 and the expanded movement for racial justice and equity, what do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?

    The top three issues affecting our children and families are access to affordable housing, health care (including mental health care) and food security. These are perennial issues that Covid-19 has further exacerbated. I support the Mountain View Whisman School District’s programming for homeless students which includes a full-time McKinney Vento liaison to work with our homeless families to ensure their children have access to the services they need. I will partner with our City and County to advocate for more affordable housing. I will work with the County and local healthcare district to make sure our students receive the healthcare they need, and I am the District’s Joint Powers Authority member on the board of CHAC which provides mental health services to our students and families and wholeheartedly advocate for and support CHAC. I will continue to support expanding our food service’s meal program to offer meals year-round to as many students and their families as possible.

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

    I will continue to advocate for more funding for affordable housing and support services for homeless students. I will continue to advocate for more funding for healthcare and mental health services. I will continue to advocate to expand our food service program.

  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?

    I will continue to advocate for high quality, affordable childcare programs. The Mountain View Whisman School District operates an award-winning preschool with half-day and full-day programming with free, low cost and full fee-based options depending on family income to help insure more kids are entering kindergarten ready to learn. I would like to expand this program. I am also supportive of and will advocate our City to encourage developers applying for affordable housing approvals to include a community benefit of on-site reduced cost or sliding scale childcare to be provided by the County or local school districts.

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

    All students deserve access to an inclusive and equitable education in the least restrictive environment. I support MVWSD’s adoption of co-teaching practices at our middle schools and an elementary school program that includes general education classes enhanced by a robust resource program offering support through specialized academic instruction in small group classes. A team approach that promotes collaboration with families delivers the best outcomes for kids. Parent surveys show a 42% increase over the past 3 years in our parents who believe special education students receive the resources and support they need. Our special education student achievement has increased by ten percentage points in both math and language arts over the past 5 years. I will support steps that promote additional gains.

  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?

    I will continue to support our seamless summer meal program that has prepared delivered thousands of meals to our community in partnership with our neighboring school districts, Second Harvest and the County. I will continue to support and promote quality subsidized preschool programs as described above. I will continue to support quality after-school care and on-site tutoring in partnership with the City, Beyond the Bell, the YMCA and other providers. I will support MVEF (school foundation) which pays for art and music classes and field trips for every student.