Children and families should be the first priority of all elected and appointed officials. To guarantee our future we must guarantee their safety, education and health. I have always supported these tenets as a school superintendent, school board member and city councilmember.
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?
Safety: With sheltering in place still in effect and schools closed to classroom instruction, lack of widely available Covid-19 testing I will continue to work with Public Heath and the Milpitas Unified School District to coordinate the effort to provide services to the most at risk children and families.
Education: I will have the City Council provide more learning spaces by opening up City facilities to be used as classrooms and child care centers.
Health: Working with Public Health and the School District and the City Council I will propose opening up low or no-cost temporary health clinics for families and children including senior in Milpitas.
How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?
I believe that the highest priorities should be budgeted first. Therefore, the priorities mentioned above would be budgeted first, ensuring that sufficient funds will be available for their implementation.
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 partner with Milpitas Unified School District in their childcare and preschool programs. I would also propose to the City Council establishing the City’s own childcare program patterned after the one established by Somos Mayfair, where parents are employed there providing not only the childcare but are taught English and reading become their children’s first teachers.
What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?
I would start by sitting in on the Milpitas Unified School District’s Special Needs PTA Council. There I would be able to listen to the needs of the parents and carry them back to the City Council. I have already been instrumental in getting two developmentally appropriate playgrounds at our City parks.
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?
Currently the Parks and Recreation Department in Milpitas spends over 50% of their dollars for enrichment programs. Beginning with the next budget cycle, the City needs to start providing subsidized programs and activities for low-income children and children of color.