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

Berryessa Union School District

Jai Srinivasan

I am your neighborhood PTA parent that has been working hard to ensure all our children get an equal opportunity to succeed. I am running to make a difference in the BUSD governing board by bringing some fresh ideas and new thinking in a challenging schooling environment.

  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?

    This year, the COVID-19 pandemic and the fight for racial justice and equality has changed the way we think about how we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day lives. For our children, it is a confusing time because so many things are changing and they are bombarded with so much information
    - Access to online learning and tools remain a challenge for several communities. Our focus must be to ensure that the students have all the necessary tools to make this is successful school year, and be prepared to quickly transition into an in-person learning
    - Have open discussions about racial inequities in our society. Ask children about what they are learning through various channels and what concerns they have. We should review our curriculum offerings and determine whether it truly represents our changing social construct, and if doesn’t, we must work on augmenting the curriculum with a focus on learning about what inequities exist in our world and how can they be addressed
    - Our school facilities have been falling behind and in many cases, falling apart. We need to focus on improving school infrastructure, and bringing the latest available tools to help our teachers and staff help every student achieve their fullest potential

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

    We will need a surgical approach to our budget. We must look at every avenue for savings, and optimize spending as much as possible. The budget must be practical and student centric. We should make a determination on what is working and what programs need improvement. We must invest more on programs that encourage inclusivity, address bullying, and talks about social issues that affect us today.

  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 work with the County and State leaders to ensure that preschool programs are adequately funded. We need to optimize the teaching talent across Santa Clara County and seek help and mentorship from other school districts that have successfully implemented programs that address these specific challenges. Our local PTAs have been advocating for student issues for a long time; I will collaborate with all local PTAs and provide support for their lobbying efforts.

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

    I will work on continuous improvements to the programs for our children with special needs and disabilities, by ensuring that they are funded adequately, and by ensuring that we are addressing the correct needs that helps the students achieve success. I will also work with the County to find ways to expand these programs wherever possible. We must partner with other school districts to determine what they have done to achieve student success when it comes to our children with special needs.

  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 encourage the school district to create more opportunities for our low-income students to succeed by engaging their families more often to understand their immediate concerns. I will continue to work on improving free and reduced lunch for our most vulnerable students. Access to online resources is critical for low-income children, which means the families must have wider access to WiFi Hotspots. Online resources must be available in multiple languages to enable parents and guardians to provide accurate and effective guidance to their children.