Palo Alto school board elections are months away, but PTA Board President Melissa Baten Caswell, former 2005 board candidate Claude Ezran, and GATE Math Specialist Barbara Klausner have told the Weekly they want to run.
Current Board President Camille Townsend said she will not make an announcement on whether she plans to run again for a second term until later this summer. Board members Mandy Lowell and Gail Price will leave two seats open after having served a limit of two terms.
Any registered voter living within Palo Alto Unified School District boundaries may apply. The open date for filing candidate declarations starts July 16 for 2007 and closes on Aug. 10, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Office. Elections will be held on Nov. 6.
"I've been to about every single school board meeting for the last two years," Baten Caswell said about her commitment to the district. "I'm very familiar with the issues. And I've been in PTA council for two years."
"We have an excellent school district," she added. "I want to continue that we have an excellent school district."
If elected to the board, Baten Caswell plans to put a high priority on closing the achievement gap. "I'm a big proponent about kids being enthusiastic and curious and loving learning," she said. She wants to emphasize educating "well-rounded happy-smart kids," she added. "And that should be all our kids."
Ezran, who ran for the board in 2005 but lost. He did win 3,000 votes, however, he said. People have been asking him whether he plans to run again, and his answer is yes.
"I'd like to see a little bit less talk and more action," he said about the current board. "Minor issues have been mishandled. First was the senior management crisis. Personally, I would have handled it a bit differently," he said.
"When you have heavily disgruntled employees, the first thing you want to do is talk to them directly. The gesture of doing that releases a lot of tension and creates goodwill."
Forming a committee to hire a consulting company to handle the issue was too bureaucratic, he said.
"When you have a crisis you have to grab the bulls by the horns and take action."
As for the food services debt, he wanted to see more creativity from the board.
"Maybe we could do more marketing, do more promotion of lunches to attract more students," he said. "Free movies on the terrace -- something like that would attract students."
On the achievement gap, "If you want to lose the gap, you need to raise standard of living of people who fall into the achievement gap," Ezran said. "It's a societal problem, and not just linked to schools."
Klausner, a teacher on special assignment for GATE, said she is considering the possibility of running for the board and will have a statement prepared in a few weeks.