2007 School Board Election Forum
Original post made
by Tyler Hanley, digital editor of Palo Alto Online,
on Sep 19, 2007
Please use this topic to post your comments and questions regarding this fall's Palo Alto School Board race. The idea is to organize the community's discussion about the candidates and issues in one place rather than in scattered topics within Town Square. Also, we hope the candidates themselves will feel welcome to participate and respond to posts or questions.
Please adhere to our guidelines by being respectful and truthful in your postings, and please do not start or spread rumors or innuendo. We will be removing comments that are primarily aimed at criticizing a single candidate. The people who put themselves forward to run for public office deserve our respect even when we may disagree with their views, and our editors will be attempting to keep everyone focused on issues in these discussions.
Thanks for your help and participation.
Posted by Summary of what I heard last night
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 16, 2007 at 1:30 pm
Anyone, including candidates, of course, feel free to correct my sincere attempt to summarize some of the answers to some questions from last night's and other, former, Candidate Forums.
A) Choice programs.
1) If given a forced choice, would prefer keeping the same curriculum at all elementary schools: Barbara, Wynn and Melissa. ( With classroom differentiation). Nobody for dismantling current choice programs.
2) For continued different curriculum choice program growth: Claude, Camille and Pingyu.
B)Mgt of MI process
1) Thought the Board managed the MI process well in the last few years: Camille
2) Thought the Board should have brought people together and come up with a good compromise on MI and managed Superintendant better on Mgt issues, Claude and Pingyu
3) Thought the Board should adopt a more comprehensive, specific and measurable Strategic Plan with firm priorities in place to better guide future decisions when new programs are proposed - Melissa, Wynn and Barbara.
C) Management Issues
1) Thought that as soon as it was apparent that there were management issues, the Board should have managed the Super better to "get on top of it"..Wynn, Barbara, Melissa. I wasn't sure, but I think Claude meant the same thing. I didn't understand Camille's answer. Anybody? I think it had to do with hiring a great new Superintendant. And Pingyu was very kind and careful, but I think he agreed that there should have been better communication.
1) Think that donations to the district should have a better policy so that they are equitably disbursed based on a sound Strategic plan, Barbara, Melissa and Wynn. I didn't understand Camille's or Pingyu's points, so will leave it up to others to fill in. Claude said that of course he was against inequity and doesn't like this North/South divide he is hearing about.
E) Special Education: I didn't understand the point of the question, so couldn't understand the answers. Something about inclusion. ( Sorry..hope somebody else heard it and remembers well)
F) Bullying question from recent gun shootings in nation: Claude went on about eliminating all guns, Wynn said his wife was part of starting the anti-bully program at Barron in the last couple years ( which surprised me since I thought every school already was strong in this), Camille, Melissa and Barbara confirmed that all schools have programs under different names and they support making sure all schools have a program, and so does Pingyu.
I got really tired after this, and am going to have to go to another one to try to focus on the answers to enrollment growth etc.
Bottom line, between my reading and last night..inclined toward 3 people who I think have a similar view of public education, "choice" programs, strategic plans, priorities, and a similar problem solving style to mine...Wynn, Barbara and Melissa.
The other 3 are very nice people, of course. They would have to be to tolerate everything they are putting up with! But, one was on the Board or in charge during the last couple years ( and not once have I read that she has proudly claimed any responsibility for any of it) and I, frankly, can't follow her thinking style in the questions. Another is a really nice guy, but clearly isn't too aware of the issues and how things run..he just likes kids and likes the idea of MI and other specialty programs, and the last is aware of the issues, but i completely disagree with much of his way of thinking and what he thinks are good goals for the District. ( He tends to come up with solutions, without ackowledging that FIRST there needs to be a strategic plan and priorities that the City folks, who pay the bill, agree to).
Lastly, I hear loudly and clearly that Wynn, Melissa and Barb understand that to try to float a Bond right now would be a waste of District resources and time. The others don't seem to understand how much distrust and anger there is right now over a complete trampling of our process and our management over the last few years. Wynn, Melissa and Barb want to try to fix what is "broken", rebuild trust, prove we can trust the Board and the District to use the money the way we support...THEN float a bond the next cyle. I would say this is the single biggest reason to support these three, so we can get a good bond passed with clear, honest, well thought out and transparent goals for the bond.