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

Palo Alto Unified School District

Katie Causey

Now is the time to help others- and if we want our schools to continue to produce strong leaders, now is the time to lead by example for our future elected officials (our students!)

  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?

    In the face of COVID-19 my two highest priorities are well-being and equity, this pandemic is going to disproportionately impact marginalized communities, that means our district’s already wide opportunity gap could be exacerbated and the physical and mental health of our most vulnerable students is at risk. My highest budget priority is ensuring those working hard to close our district’s opportunity gap are heavily supported, that students have access to the resources they need, and that educators have the resources they need to adapt curriculum.

    Adapting with equity in mind does not have to be expensive, and it has been fantastic to hear from educators who in the past years have heavily focused on marginalized voices in their curriculum or have organized resources for each other. For example, a teacher spoke at a board meeting earlier this year about how 30 teachers got together and read “White Fragility” and made recommendations based on that work.

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

    We’ve been saying with our budget cuts we will be cutting away from the classroom
    - and if the parcel tax doesn’t pass this fall and we face $15 million annual budget cuts
    My top priorities are going to be
    - Learning
    - Well being
    - Equity
    - And Consistency - because if we say we’re cutting away from the classroom, and we cut a custodian, but we need a custodian to have not only a clean classroom right now, but a safe classroom that doesn't align with our goals.

  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?

    Working with county and state representatives, advocate for the GUP to include compensation for childcare.

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

    My biggest concern is that during the pandemic this district has focused on what is cannot control rather than what it can control. As a result of that we have diverted time and energy away from immediate needs (special education being a primary example) and instead into unpredictable goals (preparing for a reopening which has no definite date).

    I want to keep us focused on the immediate issues at hand -
    for example we knew distance learning was not going to be an option for some special education students.

    Special Education should have been a priority with additional staff assigned to collaborate with health officials on solutions.

  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 assisted the League of Women Voters in the community education event “Climate-Friendly School Food: Healthy Planet, Healthy Kids”, to improve understanding on the depth of the issue of district meal plans. Let's take an approach other bay area districts have to create healthy meal options.