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

Morgan Hill Unified School District, Area 5 Short-term

Vanessa Sutter

I believe a good education is and will continue to be one of the greatest gifts we can give our children and in turn our community. Now, more than ever kids need our support. I know together we can create the highest-quality schools that our students and community deserve.

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

    Closing the income achievement gap for our students. Morgan Hill is divided along lines of income and race. The achievement gap is inexcusable and we need to focus our efforts and closing those gaps. Students and families do not feel safe. We not only need to focus on increased physical safety in schools but as a trained counselor, I want to increase the focus on students mental health as well. Access to resources, affordable housing and adequate healthcare. Our students are not able to learn to the best of their ability because they do not have the resources they need.

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

    In managing a multi-million dollar budget, I will ensure that we deploy resources in a way that always prioritizes student outcomes and access to opportunities. I will promote the needs of students that need a disproportionate amount of resources (such as English Learners, Foster Youth, and Students with Special needs). Additionally, I will advocate for the exceptional teachers who work tirelessly to educate our kids day in and day out, all while ensuring the district stays fiscally solvent.

  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?

    As the president of my Children's Preschool Co-Op Board, I have always been committed to the belief that universal preschool needs to be a priority for all children. I would support increased funding for preschool programs in our district and encourage the partnership with local preschools and our district schools. Giving all children the head start they need towards a positive educational experience begins with a positive preschool start.

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

    As a parent to two children who have been part of the IEP program in our schools, I understand the importance of ensuring that all special needs students have access to appropriate resources, teachers with appropriate training and that their families receive the support they need. We need to make sure that providing these services is a priority for our district schools and that they are held accountable and the board level when these goals are not met.

  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?

    This is a real crisis in Morgan Hill. 50% of all students are meeting the Math grade level Standards, whereas a mere 20% of economically disadvantaged students are doing so. When it comes to race, our Latinx students are performing almost half as well on our testing as our Caucasian students and this is unacceptable. I would work to increase parent education programs in the district and make sure that we are fully funding programs that are proven to support at risk students not only during the school year/day but after school as well.