Uploaded: Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 2:16 pm Camille Townsend to seek third term on school board
First elected in 2003, board president says experience needed for budget challenges
Palo Alto school board President Camille Townsend announced today she will seek a third term on the board in this fall's election. Palo Alto Weekly file photo.
Palo Alto school board President Camille Townsend announced Thursday, July 26, she will seek a third term on the board in this fall's election.
Alluding to her experience, Townsend said, "The current budget challenges, ongoing building projects and exciting education possibilities all make board experience more important than ever."
Townsend's declaration came just hours after fellow incumbent Barbara Klausner announced
she will not seek a second term.
Thursday's declarations leave the race so far a non-competitive field of two incumbents and one newcomer seeking three available seats.
Melissa Baten Caswell, a one-term incumbent, qualified for the ballot July 24. Newcomer Heidi Emberling, a parent educator and active volunteer, has taken out nominating papers and is actively campaigning for a board seat.
In the event of an incumbent not filing by the nomination deadline of Aug. 10, the deadline is extended to Aug. 15. The election is Nov. 6.
Townsend, a lawyer and the parent of two Palo Alto High School graduates, was first elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007. She was board president in 2006-07 and again in the current year.
In rare split votes on the board, both Caswell and Townsend parted with the majority on the 2009 decision to adopt the Everyday Mathematics curriculum for Palo Alto elementary schools, and on a decision this past year to shift the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic calendars to an earlier school start date in order to end the first semester before the December holidays.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm
> Have you ever personally reached out to Camille?
And for what reason would I want to do that? There are probably 35,000 households in the PAUSD, all of which need information. Is Ms. Townsend going to respond to inquires from all of them? And why isn't that information generally available on the PAUSD web-site? The PAUSD does provide email for the Board of Trustees, which I do use, on occasion, to make a point about something the Board is about to vote on, or is considering in a study session. To that extent, I believe I have "reached out" to Ms. Townsend in her official capacity as a Trustee.
> Who wants to be yellled at?
I agree, and I personally have never confronted any elected official other than on paper. Yes, others do become hostile. From watching the PAUSD for a long time, I can only add that it's amazing that more people don't "melt", based on the comments, and decisions, of the school board. However, they are our duly-elected representatives, and we must live with their decisions, or recall them, replacing them with people who are more likely to vote a different way. (It's a shame that there is not a complete history of the "Math Wars" of the mid-1990s somewhere on video.)
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].
> you also proclaimed she voted for EDM when in fact she didn't.
I listed her EDM vote incorrectly, and admitted it as soon as it was pointed out. Did you not read my apology towards the top of this thread? (Just a too-early-in-the-morning posting.)
However, you do bring up a good point. And that iswhere would someone go to find Townsend's vote on EDM, or any other vote during her long, eight-year, tenure? Perhaps if the vote were recent, it might be in one of the archived packets for the last year. But the District does not archive back eight years on-line, even though the amount of disc space to do so would be trivial. So, how does a voter come to know the voting record of this, or any, candidate?
This leads towards my points about Townsend's not being a big supporter of technology use in the schools, nor does she seem to be particularly interested in increased transparency of PAUSD operations. It is a bloody shame that the voters can not go to the PAUSD web-site and find, readily, a downloadable list of votes before the Board, as well as the votes cast by each Trustee. This would be a trivial bit of web-coding to put together and populate. Yet, here we are in 2012, with little likelihood that such information will be available to the voters in our lifetime.
If one were to try to characterize the comments, it's clear that one group seems to want to see Townsend as a "person", and the other group expects results from her, not personality. It's hard not to believe that the people looking for results are men, and the ones who don't seem interested in results are probably women. The men, no doubt, work in the real world of the Silicon Valley, and the women are more likely not to have this result-oriented background that is necessary for companies to not only survive, but prosper.
My comments here are intended to be objective, although clearly my personal opinion. It's unfortunate that all of the points that I have listed (and this is but a short list) might not resonate with people who have only recently moved into the PAUSD jurisdiction, or who have not been paying attention to the PAUSD affairs. However, I aver that the comments as posted, have been drawn from experience, and are my personal reasons for not voting for Townsend. The comments are not intended to be personal, or in any way demeaning.