Q: What should the district do about the Cubberley Community Center site (4000 Middlefield Road)?
Jay Cabrera suggests "redoing Cubberley from the ground up" based on a mixed-education model, with spaces for elementary, middle and high school students. Since Foothill College already has a presence there, there could also be a college-prep program for high school students. Investing in revamping Cubberley is one of his top three budget priorities.
Q: Should the district open a 13th elementary school?
Cabrera supports opening a 13th elementary school.
Q: Should foreign-language instruction be provided in elementary school?
Cabrera said that implementing foreign language at all levels is a "great idea" and that the board "should find a way to make it happen in context of budget restrictions, and I feel there are ways to do that."
Q: Should the board repeal its June resolution criticizing the Office for Civil Rights?
Cabrera has said he would repeal the resolution and that his priorities as a board member would be to increase collaboration and transparency.
Q: Your opinion of district versus school-site decision-making?
Cabrera strongly supports school autonomy and thinks decisions made by the board should be a 50-50 collaboration with schools. If schools need resources to implement their plans, it's the board's responsibility to see that resources are provided. If the board wants schools to implement a program, the board has a responsibility to "prove" to the schools why and how they can do it.
Q: Your view on the district budget?
Cabrera wants the budget to be more transparent and easily accessible online. He has also proposed cutting the district's Basic Aid Reserve Fund cap from 10 percent to between 5 to 8 percent to free up money to "alleviate some of the strains that are coming up in the community" and classrooms.
Q: Your view of the district's implementation of inclusion programs?
Cabrera has said he's not an expert on specific inclusion programs in Palo Alto but that he brings "an open slate to listen to community needs" on the topic. He supports inclusion as a way of rethinking traditional models of education.
Q: What would you do about the achievement gap?
Cabrera attributes the district's slow progress on closing the achievement gap to poor leadership. He also thinks "mini Strategic Plans" tailored to individual students would help because he sees the current Strategic Plan as too broad to make an impact.
Q: How is the district doing on managing student stress/well-being?
Cabrera said student mental health is "one of the most important issues we need to deal with as a community." He thinks a system that rewards all students for all achievement -- not just good grades or high test scores -- would help.
Q: Your opinion of Common Core?
Cabrera said he's been told by Gunn High students that they feel completely prepared academically. What they need is real-world skills such as how to do taxes and how to get an apartment. Students in Palo Alto would greatly benefit from Common Core, but the board needs to make sure to assess it.