Citizens sought for school bond oversight

Volunteer committee reviews expenditures under the $378 million 'Strong Schools' bond

The Palo Alto school board is seeking applicants to serve on a citizens' committee overseeing expenditures under the school district's "Strong Schools" facilities bond program.

The $378 million bond measure, approved by nearly 78 percent of voters in June 2008, is funding major renovations to modernize and boost capacity at Palo Alto's two high schools, three middle schools and 12 elementary schools. The district also is considering using bond funds to add a 13th elementary school.

The Strong Schools Bond Citizens' Oversight Committee is an independent group charged with reviewing bond expenditures and reporting to the public.

New buildings, funded under the bond, have been completed at Gunn High School and Ohlone Elementary School.

Additional major construction is under way or about to begin at Gunn, Palo Alto High School, Jordan Middle School, JLS Middle School, Terman Middle School, Fairmeadow Elementary School and Duveneck Elementary School.

Current members of the oversight committee, who volunteer their time, are Ray Bacchetti, Todd Collins, Scott L. Darling, Gary W. Hornbeek, Catherine Garber, Mary Marth and Bruce Whitson.

Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 15, for seven upcoming vacancies on the committee. Four current members are re-applying to continue their committee service, school district staff said.

Applicants must live within the boundaries of the Palo Alto Unified School District and may not be an employee, contractor, consultant or vendor to the district.

Applications may be downloaded and submitted by email attachment or print to Liat Baranoff,, Superintendent's Office, Palo Alto Unified School District, 25 Churchill Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306.

For more information, call Liat Baranoff at 650-329-3737.

Chris Kenrick


Like this comment
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

The Bond oversight Committee is actually an Bond Aftersight Committee.
It only reviews actions several months after the fact.

Like this comment
Posted by Scott
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm

These oversight committees are just cover scripts for the various elected officials to claim cover, instead of them taking on the nasty issues.

Don't buy into it!

Don't sign up!

Elected officials need to stand up for what they believe. If we don't agree, then we can boot them out of office. This is democracy, for better or worse.

Like this comment
Posted by agreed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Agree with you Senior Blogger and Scott, except it's more like aftersight YEARS after the fact (if we're lucky)...

However, Scott, the vote isn't enough to guarantee competence or lack of graft, oversight is important. I'm not sure a citizen group chosen by the very body whose decisions they are supposed to oversee is the way to do that! You're absolutely right about the cover issue, though. They do that with various disingenuous acts like inviting public input in forums designed to prevent any substantive input but give the appearance of having accepted it to deflect later criticisms.

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