Jordan, Dauber maintain campaign fundraising leads in school board race | News | Palo Alto Online |

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Jordan, Dauber maintain campaign fundraising leads in school board race

Candidates collect donations from tech employees, community members

With less than two weeks until Election Day, parent Kathy Jordan and incumbent President Ken Dauber are maintaining their fundraising leads in the Palo Alto Board of Education race, campaign finance reports show.

Jordan raised $14,719 during this reporting period, which covers Sept. 23 through Oct. 20. She has raised a total of about $52,000 to date, including $250 she loaned her own campaign, according to her campaign finance documents.

She received large donations from Rebecca Fox, identified as a homemaker on the reporting documents, who gave $1,000; and William and Lucetta Ganley in Florida, who Jordan said are related to her husband, who donated $2,000.

Jordan also received $500 contributions from parents Carol Chan and Mudita Jain. She also received donations from nine Google employees, totaling $1,400.

Jordan has spent $33,472 on advertisements, mailers, polling, web design and video production, with about $8,400 remaining in her campaign coffers.

Dauber, the current school board president and the only incumbent running for re-election, raised $10,252 during this reporting period. He has also made two significant personal loans of $1,500 and $5,000, bringing his total contributions to date to $30,729.

Dauber received an injection during this period from larger donations, including from Krishna Bharat, the founder of Google News ($1,500); Bryan Baker, a manager at Google, where Dauber works as a software engineer ($1,000); sitting board member Todd Collins ($499); psychologist Janet Dafoe ($500); and retired engineer Alan Stivers ($500).

Other supporters of Dauber's campaign include parents and community volunteers, including Gina Dalma, the vice president of government relations at Silicon Valley Community Foundation who ran for a seat on the school board in 2014 ($100); Lars Johnsson, who started a grassroots effort to rename two middle schools in 2015 ($100); parent Sally Bemus, Dauber's campaign treasurer ($300); Rita Tetzlaff, whose analysis of large class sizes prompted the board to invest further in smaller classes; and Amado Padilla, Stanford University professor and former Palo Alto school board member ($250).

Dauber has spent about $14,000 on campaign literature, voter data and online fees. His campaign finance report shows an ending cash balance of $6,507.

Candidate Shounak Dharap, an attorney, raised the most after Dauber and Jordan, though special-education Stacey Ashlund is close behind. Dharap raised $6,431 during this period, his campaign finance reports show. To date for the election, he has raised $16,705.

Dharap received new contributions from local elected officials and community volunteers, including board Vice President Jennifer DiBrienza ($100), board member Todd Collins ($500), former board member Barbara Klausner ($250), former Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt ($250), former Palo Alto Council of PTAs President Susan Usman ($100) and former Utilities Advisory Commission chair Jon Foster ($150). Dharap received a large $1,000 donation from parent Katie Shade, who is on the Palo Alto High School PTSA executive board, his campaign finance report shows.

The Peninsula Democratic Coalition gave $100 to Dharap's campaign.

Abi Karlin-Resnick, the executive director of Health Connected -- whose sex-education curriculum, which Palo Alto Unified uses, was the subject of controversy last year -- also gave $100 to Dharap.

Dharap spent about $2,500 during this reporting period on lawn signs, printing and website fees. He has just under $8,000 left in his campaign coffers.

Ashlund raised $6,358 during this reporting period, bringing her total contributions to date to $21,670, including $100 she loaned her campaign. She has spent the majority of her cash, on advertising, mailers and flyers, with an ending balance of $1,630 for this period.

Donors to Ashlund's campaign include H. Lee Caswell, the husband of board member Melissa Baten Caswell ($150); former board member Camille Townsend ($200); Marci McCue, the chief marketing officer for Flipboard in Palo Alto ($500); Catherine Crystal Foster, who ran for a seat on the board in 2014 ($150); and former board member Klausner, now the executive director of after-school mentoring nonprofit Dreamcatchers ($250).

Ashlund's largest contribution during this reporting period came from Preeva Tramiel, an author who gave $1,000.

Recent Paly graduate Alex Scharf raised $300 during this period, with a $200 contribution from Paly parent Keith Ferrell and $100 from Stephania Kaneda, identified as a retired manager from Cupertino on the campaign finance disclosures.

Scharf's finance report shows an ending cash balance of $21. He spent $618 during this reporting period on a five-day newspaper advertisement.

A campaign finance report for candidate Christopher Boyd, the director of an after-school program, was not available online.

The five candidates are vying for two open seats on the school board.

For complete 2018 election information, check out the Palo Alto voters' guide.

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Comments

20 people like this
Posted by toxic
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 9:11 am

"raised a total of about $52,000"

$52,000! Bring in campaign limits!


3 people like this
Posted by Do No Evil
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:16 am

Why Has PAUSD Failed in Closing the Achievement Gap or Reducing Stress? Web Link


34 people like this
Posted by Michelle
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:30 am

@toxic, If we’re going to impose a campaign limit, as you proposed, how are we supposed to put a dollar value on newspaper endorsements? The silent majority needs a voice, and Kathy Jordan is OUR voice! That voice will not be suppressed by the so-called mainstream media like Palo Alto Weekly.


6 people like this
Posted by toxic
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:46 am

If you have a legitimate concern on media endorsements, find another solution to make the money go further such as district elections. Don't remove a lot of people from the pool by making it so expensive to run that the majority of residents can't.


6 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 26, 2018 at 11:42 am

Samuel L. is a registered user.

@toxic
Complaining on the internet isn't going to solve your problems


24 people like this
Posted by Was Undecided
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 26, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Well, I was undecided, but looking at the profile of these contributions, I think I will choose Jordan over Dharap. [Portion removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by Follow the money
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 12:42 pm

@DO NO EVIL, you ask why PAUSD has failed to close the achievement gap or reduce stress?

We are a community with pride in being ahead in industry, education and innovation. We attract new residents and transfer students for our excellent education. This includes well-resourced residents with money and (IMHO) intentions to maintain and perpetuate an achievement gap. Nowadays, fearful, ambitious or anxious parents, privately finance that gap with after-school, weekend and summer tutoring. Visit the busy tutoring centers any day or night. Students pre-learn material, as early as elementary school (math) and continue this practice through High School (honors and APs). Families pay to “Be ahead”, “Get ahead”, “be Ivy-Bound”, “build college resumes”, “look the best”. The other students or parents eventually feel pressured to get private tutors “like everyone else”. It’s no wonder students are stressed and sleep-deprived. Any school counselor or mental health provider will tell you the expectations are beyond reasonable. A student with a 3.75 GPA should not feel like a failure, yet that is the median.

The district surely has its share of work to do too, but attention should shift from slinging blame, to actionable solutions to support vulnerable kids and help struggling students. An underfunded public education system must teach to the standard FIRST, will never keep pace with private schooling “at the top”.

Voters are you informed about what has CHANGED in the past years? Which candidates are accusatory and point to old sensationalized news? Which candidates have actual ideas, solutions and experience in governance? Who is @Michelle’s “silent minority” that “will not be suppressed” and needs Jordan’s vote? Follow the money people.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Local elections are becoming more and more like national elections as the winner is more likely to be the one who raises the most money. The follow through is that the candidate who makes the most promises to donors will get the most money and therefore will win.

This is so wrong from so many levels. I want to see more independent candidates without the need to placate their donors and can lead without worrying about upsetting someone who they might need to get support from next time around.

There should be caps on the amount any candidate can spend on an election. Let's get rid of all the shiny brochures then mainly get put straight into recycling bins. Let's get rid of all the lawn signs that do very little than get a name out there. Let's get back to listening to the candidates at the local forums where they are standing on equal footing and not on the fancy meet the candidate parties where all the back patting and praises sound artificial and insincere.


29 people like this
Posted by cmarg
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:24 pm

cmarg is a registered user.

I am 100% for Shounak Dharap. He is very interested in helping all students and he is focused on working together. He has done his research and is here to bring an positivity to the school board.

Let's get people who are hopeful versus Debbie Downers...


3 people like this
Posted by toxic
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 2:19 pm

@DO NO EVIL, you ask why PAUSD has failed to close the achievement gap or reduce stress?

Didn't you get the memo from our new Superintendent about the documentary film titled The Edge of Success, which discusses teen suicide with a focus on PAUSD?

Even with this focus, on the next line in the memo after that; all on it's own, in big bold letters was:

"PAUSD is a success story that needs telling!"


Sigh. Even with a new super, it's the same old story.


18 people like this
Posted by The whole picture
a resident of Barron Park School
on Oct 26, 2018 at 2:20 pm

This article is about last month.

Overall 2018 fundraising looks like this:

#1 Jordan $51k
#2 Dauber $32.5k
#3 Ashlund $22k
#4 Dharap $17k

When you subtract the $12k that Dauber donated and loaned to himself:

#1 Jordan $51k
#2 Ashlund $22k
#3 Dauber $20.5k
#4 Dharap $17k


This election is a referendum on how voters feel the school district has been managed over the past 4 years.

Measuring by donations, 4:1 are NOT pleased.

Those who are OK with it will be joining board members Todd Collins and Jennifer DiBrienza who donated $1.5k out of their own pockets to make extra sure that Dauber-&-Dharap get elected.


12 people like this
Posted by The whole picture
a resident of Barron Park School
on Oct 26, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Correction:

Todd Collins and Jennifer DiBrienza donated $2.1k out of their own pockets to make extra sure that Dauber-&-Dharap get elected.

That will give them the majority vote they need, plus some.


18 people like this
Posted by Do No Evil
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm

As a parent with high-school kids,I am strongly against Palo Alto Weekly's endorsement of the two school board members. [Portion removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by this shouldn't be
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 3:37 pm

This is astounding.

Over the last 2 years three of our current school board members contributed $46,000 to get themselves and each other elected. FPPC 460s.

Dauber. DiBrienza. Collins.

Shounak Dharap must be elated to be a beneficiary of their wealth and largess and the one they picked to join their governing threesome.


33 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Luckily school board races aren't decided by who raises money, but by who takes the best positions and shows the best judgement. Fear mongering and complaining may pry dollars out of donors, but tend to fall flat with most of the PAUSD voters, who are looking for constructive problem solving.

The school board and district are in a better place than they've been, as any district watcher can tell you. Keeping the board moving in the current direction is the key, and Dauber and Dharap are most likely to do that.


33 people like this
Posted by Board Watcher
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:37 pm

As anyone who watches the PAUSD board can tell you, Dibrienza and Collins don't exactly see eye to eye on a lot of issues. So that they seem to agree on getting Dauber and Dharap elected is pretty strong confirmation of what the newspapers are telling us - that these two candidates have good sense and good judgment, far more than the alternatives. I'm not surprised they are putting in money to support them - they have to sit next to whoever wins for the next two years, that's got to be worth a few bucks!


19 people like this
Posted by district's report card
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Resident,

"Better place" according to whom?

Here is what trusted "district watchers" ...School Board members, students, and staff ...report on the State of PAUSD:

"need to rebuild trust... need to build morale"

"lack of operational systems, progress monitoring and accountability throughout the organization"

"Using data to inform decisions has not been consistent in both operating the district (district operations-budget, human resources, special education) and insuring academic achievement"
Web Link

Specifically...

The School Board members complained to the interviewers that the district is incredibly weak as an organization from top to bottom, basic compliance and operations are not monitored, and Special Education in particular is an area of "failure."

Students reported trust and honesty issues and a lack of consideration for their voice.

Administrators shared that the district is in a free for all, there is lots of fear, the negativity consumes them, and students get lost in the agendas of the Board.

Teachers and staff noted that they also do not know whom to trust, complaints are more numerous, and district leaders are focused on lawsuits rather than people.
Web Link


28 people like this
Posted by Money does not equal majority
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 26, 2018 at 6:42 pm

@Michelle, 2 newspapers not endorsing your candidate is not “silencing”. Rather it is the perogative of a free press to endorse the candidates who they judge to be best suited to the role of school board trustee.
The fact that both local newspapers did not endorse your candidate, and in fact were unanimous in endorsing Dauber and Dharap, should give you pause about who you have thrown your support behind. That none of the student papers endorsed your candidate either, further pause, especially for a candidate who touts herself as the voice for students. Nor any elected officials, at the school board, city or county level ....
And elections are where we find out who the “majority” is, not who raised the most campaign funds. The good news is that all citizens have the right to vote. The outcome of the election will not be decided by those with the biggest pocket book, but by those who take the time to exercise their responsibility as citizens to engage in the democratic process and vote.


39 people like this
Posted by Oldtimer
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:03 pm

The fact that Kathy Jordan couldn't convince a single elected official to endorse her, nor any newspaper, PTA official, etc. speaks volumes. Paly students felt harassed by her, she has sent hundreds of emails and dozens of record requests, demanded the firing of both our high school principals.

The real question here is why a subset of the Chinese community in PAUSD has chosen her as their champion, when she is so obviously flawed. Probably some will be very surprised when she loses, and interpret it as a reason to fall behind the next candidate with narrow appeal. I hope the board members who are in office will reach out and try to bring this community into the larger school community.


33 people like this
Posted by Board Watcher
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:10 pm

@district's report card, yes, those quotes are from the search firm interviews about 10 months ago.

As the Weekly put it in its editorial, "we are in a far better place than at any point in the last decade." Since the time of those quotes, they have put McGee in the read-view mirror; incredibly improved legal compliance; hired a good interim and now very good permanent Super, keeping the interim one as Deputy Super; brought in a new strong CFO; done a full program analysis and improvement plan for Special Ed, including allocating additional funds; replaced the Paly principal. Not to mention that the board meetings are now largely boring and end on time. Hmm, that does sound like a better place!

There's still work to be done, but they've gone from a hot mess to something that is at least proficient and compliant and has the chance to be actually good.


21 people like this
Posted by Board Watcher
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:12 pm

@Oldtimer - good analysis, good point.


27 people like this
Posted by Greene/Paly Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:24 pm

As much as I typically look to support women who are running for office, Ken and Shounak are hands down the best candidates in this race. The school board is not typically a place where women are underrepresented, on the contrary it is a place where anyone NOT white and NOT already a parent is underrepresented.
Kathy [has a] [portion removed] a dated tunnel-vision of what our district is and needs. There is a reason that she does not include any endorsements on her flyers as she basically has none outside of the Chinese community who for some concerning reason has thrown their support behind her (I doubt many have known her very long). Those who have known her -- i.e. other Duveneck parents -- are notably absent from her list of endorsers. As are elected officials, community leaders, newspapers, etc.
Stacey is another hot mess, though less obvious. Her choice in campaign manager immediately caused concern [portion removed.] Stacey is [portion removed] extremely pushy and entitled when it comes to asking people for endorsements (literally gets offended when you turn her down), brings nothing new to the board, and has a reputation of not working well with others.
Shounak and Ken really are the only choice and a great one! I have no doubt that they, if given a chance, will bring PAUSD to the next level of student wellness, innovation, equity for all, and engaged learning in the classroom. And that they will accomplish this in a respectful way that makes everyone feel safe to voice their opinions and help bring our intense parent community together.


4 people like this
Posted by XPAUSDMom
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:44 pm

XPAUSDMom is a registered user.

Stacey has been an advocate for students for decades and is the only candidate who understands both special needs kids and neurotypical kids from 15+ years personal experience. She was the only candidate out there in the schools this week for Unity Day. Where were the other candidates? She speaks her mind, which some may find pushy, but I doubt those same words would be used if she were male instead of female. She has my vote.


33 people like this
Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Oct 26, 2018 at 8:25 pm

Showing up at schools on Unity Day is a not what makes a good school board member.
That makes for a good PTA leader or a good CAC rep. Empathy and enthusiasm are useful, but not sufficient - good judgment and temperament are what matters most.

Besides, how about people who have day jobs - do you think they aren't qualified to be school board members?


25 people like this
Posted by Greene/Paly Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2018 at 9:28 pm

@XPAUSDMom
Really? The only candidate who attended Unity day? I find it curious that you find this relevant and even more curious how you can possibly know who attended and didn't attend Unity day at our 17 schools?

@Parent of 2
I have never heard anything that would make me draw the conclusion that Stacey was ever a "good PTA leader" or a good CAC rep. The bar is quite low to be on the PTA board or Site Council etc. Do you know of anything that Stacey ever actually accomplished? And do we know if the people who have served with her on these boards, CAC etc. are actually endorsing her? Didn't she also serve on Magical Bridge for a minute? I haven't seen Olenka endorse her...

Stacey will not get my vote.


22 people like this
Posted by Money does not equal majority
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:25 pm


@Michelle says: “The silent majority needs a voice, and Kathy Jordan is OUR voice! That voice will not be suppressed by the so-called mainstream media like Palo Alto Weekly.“

What exactly does the reference “so-called mainstream media like Palo Alto Weekly” mean? It honestly sounds quite Trumpian, seeking to undermine our local media because the editorial does not support your viewpoint.
That’s disturbing, especially when our media is under sustained attack nationwide, portrayed as “the enemy of the people” by our President and subjected to regular death threats.
We are very lucky in Palo Alto to have a local newspaper that covers city and school board elections, sends a journalist to nearly all school board meetings, investigates issues that arise without fear or favor, and has the resources to employ a dedicated education reporter. We should not take this for granted and we must be vigilant as a community in supporting local media.


8 people like this
Posted by got a bridge to sell
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 27, 2018 at 7:10 am

I've watched videos from the candidate forums and chuckle each time I hear Ken Dauber describe his leadership style as based on "trust the professionals" and cringe when he tags on "and fire them when they disappoint."

That's not effective leadership. Leadership by fear, Dauber's style, creates the mistrust apparent throughout the district and shared in the interviews mentioned above.

Effective leaders support employees with training, validation, clear direction, inspiration, and second chances.

Dauber says he's righted the ship with our new Superintendent. But Dauber didn't even vote for Dr. Austin so his resume and recommendations did not pass the Ken Dauber quality test. Now? Dr. Austin has been on the job for 3 months so it's too soon to tell what he'll be able to do and how he'll go about doing it.

It's not Dr. Austin's fault. The problems he inherited are daunting, in large part because of the laissez faire attitude our School Board adopted years ago but continued under Dauber's leadership with his own special "fear" twist.

Sadly, this current School Board has spent more time on window dressing like cutting short agendas and public comments, finagling out of records requests, and bringing lawyers in-house to manage its escalating issues and #2 million legal budget than listening to district employees' cries for what actually matters most to them and our students: ethical, law-abiding, and effective leaders.

Anyone who says that PAUSD is in the best place it's been in a long time has a bridge to sell you and will not get my vote.


19 people like this
Posted by Former Paly parent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 27, 2018 at 7:36 am

I attended two of the community debates and I didn't hear Dauber say "and fire them when they disappoint". I bet that's because he didn't say it despite your quote marks.

I agreed with Dauber and Collins that Max McGee had to go for all of the reasons in the Weekly endorsement editorial. He was a nice guy but couldn't run a school district. Chasing after a TedX school, spending months on weighted GPA, pushing for a disaster of a 3 year contract, screwing up Title IX compliance and then not notifying the union about canceling a raise.

By my count, McGee was on his 4th or 5th "second chance". Accountability doesn't equal "fear" it means having adult expectations of adults. If you want a board member who is going to be co-dependent with senior managers, hire Ashlund or try to persuade Emberling to come back.

"Anyone who says that PAUSD is in the best place it's been in a long time has a bridge to sell you and will not get my vote." "Anyone" here includes our two local papers. Just saying.


2 people like this
Posted by got a bridge to sell
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 27, 2018 at 8:40 am

Former Paly parent,

Ken Dauber was clear during the Weekly's candidate forum: turnover is a fine employee management strategy when you "desire accountability and high performance." Web Link

How bad could everyone have been that 4 out of 5 of PAUSD's senior leaders took jobs elsewhere since Ken Dauber stepped on to the Board?

For those who weren't "forced to resign" like McGee, Diorio, and Wade, could it have been the lack of support from the Board and its not acting sooner to get McGee help or prod him harder to move on that sent these much loved admins packing? Thinking of Brenda Carrillo, Barbara Harris, Scott Bowers, Cathy Mak, and Denise Herrmann. Bowers and Mak had worked here for decades.




10 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 27, 2018 at 8:42 am

I am in support of Jordan, as she will voice an opposing opinion. The PA Weekly places too much emphasis on supporting candidates who will "get along". Remember how Dauber was treated by prior board members? They had the same objections to Dauber as the current board has for Jordan.

I believe Jordan was a contributing voice on the sexual predator issue at Paly. I would like to believe that Jordan would have bought up some issues to consider when the current board decide to approve the appointments of the staff involved in that episode (Laurence & Paulson) to principal. And I would like to think that if Jordan were on the board, she would be a voice on the recent episode involving the Paly Robotics team and how that was handled by the Paly administration (Paulson).


17 people like this
Posted by Former Paly parent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 27, 2018 at 9:22 am

@bridge

Thanks for clarifying that your quote "and fire them when they disappoint" wasn't a real quote. Very classy. And thanks also for clarifying that you would have kept McGee around even longer to give him some "help."

Regarding your list: Cathy Mak the former CBO was responsible for underestimating property taxes by $5 million dollars, supporting a teacher contract that was unaffordable, and probably should have noticed that the last year of the raise wasn't canceled. Scott Bowers, former HR director, was directly responsible for failing to notify the union to cancel the last year of the raise = $4 million a year.

These employees may have been beloved by you but they cost the district millions of dollars. When I was working, I would have been fired in a heartbeat for screwups that massive. And you think they should still be there? Why?

Denise Hermann is now a superintendent somewhere else (that is, she left to take a better job) and the others I'm not sure about. I think Harris retired and Carrillo went to the County.

@common sense Your argument that the Weekly didn't endorse Jordan because they value "getting along" is contradictory. The Weekly endorsed Dauber in both his previous campaigns when he was running as a critic of the board.

Actually, the difference is that Jordan has shown poor decision making. She's harassed Campanile students with unwanted texts and emails, wants to fire both of our high school principals, deluged the district with hundreds of emails and requests for hundreds of thousands of pages of records. Go back and reread the Weekly endorsement editorial.


15 people like this
Posted by Board Watcher
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 27, 2018 at 10:05 am

"How bad could everyone have been that 4 out of 5 of PAUSD's senior leaders took jobs elsewhere since Ken Dauber stepped on to the Board?"

The answer sadly is pretty bad. There's no one in the leadership group today who doesn't express surprise and dismay about how things were run before. Sloppy, haphazard, out of date, inefficient, and just plain wrong - there was and still is a lot of mess to clean up. Luckily the Board finally took action, which hadn't been done in a decade, to hold senior managers accountable and raise expectations.


2 people like this
Posted by got a bridge to sell
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 27, 2018 at 10:15 am

Board Watcher,

That begs the question, how good can a Board be that lets it get that bad for so long?

Former Paly parent,

I would not have kept McGee until he messed up the 4th or 5th time but that was what our Board decided to do. Fire him or sideline him if you don't want to buy out his contract. But don't let the district suffer after the Board recognized the second or third time that McGee wasn't capable of managing the school district.

For the rest, you make my point. Zero tolerance for long-time employees. No second chances.

Ever consider that McGee instructed Mak and Bowers to do what they did?

How is it that both had had exemplary records for decades until McGee stepped on to the scene? McGee tossed Mak's long-term conservative income projections and the way Bowers had always done contract negotiations so that whatever anyone wanted, including raises, suddenly look affordable and wouldn't be re-evaluated as often.

Nothing better to create staff loyalty than taking advantage of a gullible School Board with a shiny 3 year employment contract because that is how they do it in Illinois and, in the day of Google alerts, you just happen to "forget" a deadline that guaranteed the people who work for you a substantial raise without lifting a finger.

Of course, this is conjecture. We will never know the details because our School Board signed a contract promising McGee that they won't tell us what happened.

As for my paraphrase "fire them when they disappoint," are you quibbling about the context because what Dauber said, getting rid of employees to up "accountability and high performance," is the exact same sentiment. In or out. No teachable people. No teachable moments.


4 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 27, 2018 at 10:16 am

PAUSD has been messed up for years.

I don't mind that some classrooms or equipment are old. But just a simple tour of a campus will tell you that the school is dirty. Litters everywhere. No maintenance of the ground. You don't have to believe me. Go checkout Greene Middle School and Blach Middle School in Los Altos. One is dirty like a third-world country, one is spiffy clean. Or Paly vs. Los Altos High.

I think the board has a lot of responsibility for the mess. We need new blood. We need someone to help clean up the mess. We need an outside voice. It seems to me Kathy Jordan is worthy of a chance to be that outsider.

The fact that newspapers did not endorse Kathy is not surprising. She had a huge fight with Esther Wojcicki, who has so much influence in the local journalist circle.



10 people like this
Posted by Board Watcher
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 27, 2018 at 10:37 am

@bridge, you are right, the Board was very ineffective and didn't do its job. That's why Dauber (and later Collins) ran as Board critics and reformers and have tried to change Board practices and standards, not just the senior management. (Godfrey also deserved credit for this in my view.)

The best thing for employees is good and competent management. Hopefully they are headed in the right direction.


4 people like this
Posted by got a bridge to sell you
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 27, 2018 at 11:10 am

Dauber says judge him by his record.

He's right.

He came in knowing more than most and has had 4 years to make it better (remember "We Can Do Better Palo Alto"?) but hasn't.

His new slogan "trust the professionals" may be a feel-good platform in the era of attack politics but Ken Dauber staunchly opposed that mindset when he ran 4 years ago.

Rubber stamping is not what he or the other Board members were elected to do.

I am disappointed. I had hoped that by force of personality Ken Dauber would have been able to right the ship. But the opposite happened. No one bad stayed but almost no one good stayed either.


10 people like this
Posted by Board Watcher
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 27, 2018 at 11:35 am

@bridge, I would love to hear who these unfortunate losses were. I'm sure some good people left in the last 4 years, that's true of any org, but I can't think of one real keeper who left other than for personal reasons. And please recall that McGee's reign of error and disarray was at the same time!


15 people like this
Posted by Truthiness
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 27, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Actually I have heard Ken say that he prefers to follow the advice of teachers in education issues like curriculum adoption and laning. He hasn't said a blanket "trust the professionals" despite the misleading quotes again. In fact he disagreed with the previous business officer over the teacher contract and led the firing of 2 law firms that got the district tangled up in the OCR mess.

I'm seeing a lot of fake news coming from the Kathy Jordan camp including the flyer implying endorsements she didn't get. This smells like more of the same.


11 people like this
Posted by Board Watcher
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 27, 2018 at 1:12 pm

"Brenda Carrillo, Barbara Harris, Scott Bowers, Cathy Mak, and Denise Herrmann."

Carrillo and Harris were journeymen, perfectly nice but readily replaceable. Bowers and Mak may have been better in an earlier era, hard to say, but their work at PAUSD lately was way subpar; their replacements represent significant and important upgrades. And don't forget Wade, Diorio, and McGee himself!

Herrmann as someone said left for a district office job in Fremont and now is superintendent at Roseville High school district. To say the Board drove her away is laughable. I imagine she applied for the PAUSD job as well.


6 people like this
Posted by former staff
a resident of another community
on Oct 27, 2018 at 3:10 pm

I agree. "Trust" the professionals applies to how this Board handled almost everything.

Take the missed deadline that triggered $ millions of unbudgeted teacher raises.

The School Board was aware of Dr. McGee's many failings long before that happened and eventually owned up to its role in that debacle, AFTER the deadline had passed.

Ken Dauber, and others, on his falling asleep at the wheel on the trigger: "The community has a right to be disappointed in how we have managed these dollars. As an individual board member, I apologize for that failure." Web Link

"Verify," not trust, should have been the Board's approach according to its own rules designed to protect district funds from subpar Superintendents like Dr. McGee. They require the BOARD to monitor the District's finances.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2018 at 3:23 pm

I just want to remind everyone about the fact that the present board wasted money by changing the names of two middle schools and that they had no qualms about choosing new names of people for these schools. I consider this not only financially irresponsible but also asking for similar problems in the future as skeletons in closets are uncovered or new PC controversies occur in the future looking back at our times.

This board also made a big mistake in reporting that cost a lot of money.

I strongly suggest not voting for any incumbent and since Jordan seems to have caused ire to all she has crossed in school matters in the past, I would not suggest a vote for her.

So choose among those with a clean slate.


2 people like this
Posted by starting fires
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 27, 2018 at 3:28 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by sexism
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2018 at 4:36 pm

[Post removed.]




17 people like this
Posted by Truthiness
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 27, 2018 at 5:18 pm

It's amusing to watch a campaign try to run a negative campaign against an incumbent who has done a good job. They are reduced to cycling among charges hoping something will stick. He fired people too fast! He fired them too slow! Something about OCR! He should have checked somebody's work before they screwed something up! He governs by fear! He's too nice!

Dauber is going to win. Jordan is an unappealing candidate with her own big negatives, reflected in her lack of support. She's not going to be able to criticize herself into office. She might have tried fixing her own negatives, but that's a big job and anyways it's too late for that.


12 people like this
Posted by observer
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 28, 2018 at 1:29 am

I haven't met Jordan, but after reading her positions in the paper, I'm inclined to vote for her. She seems like a do-er, proactive, and I like that she was in the trenches on the sexual assault stuff at Paly. Some people's beef with her
in the comments seem personal. It's good to get a diversity of thoughts on the board, and her positions resonated with me.


6 people like this
Posted by toxic
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm

@Observer,

If you do want to support Kathy and, given the amount of unqualified negative campaigning against her allowed on these on the forums, whereas comments against their preferred candidates are removed, you should consider bullet voting (Web Link).


In fact, that is the tactic that the Weekly told voters to pursue in the last election in support of their candidates:

"Since our goal is to maximize the chance that both challengers are elected, we urge voters to only cast ballots for Todd Collins and Jennifer DiBrienza. By withholding the third vote, the advantage of incumbency will be somewhat offset"


11 people like this
Posted by Peers Parent
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 28, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Peers Parent is a registered user.

@toxic,

"unqualified negative campaigning?" Sounds completely accurate to me. She's spreading misinformation, accusing the district and Board of things it hasn't done, and running on the exact things Dauber ran on 4 years ago and has made a lot of progress to fix. It is she who is running a negative campaign. Thank god there is a local paper where the record can be set straight.


4 people like this
Posted by Lien Yung
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 28, 2018 at 2:15 pm

"...why a subset of the Chinese community in PAUSD has chosen her as their champion, when she is so obviously flawed."

Kathy Jordan best candidate and supports Chinese students in Palo Alto schools.

Most Chinese parents all voting for Kathy Jordan. She care.


10 people like this
Posted by Old Paly Dad
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 28, 2018 at 4:12 pm

@Lien Chung
"... Most Chinese parents all voting for Kathy Jordan, she care"
Kathy also claims to be 'strong for students', wishing an environment for our students in which they can learn without intimidation.
Actions speak louder than words, just ask the Paly Campanile student editors about being bullied by Kathy until the district engaged a lawyer to put an end to her harassment.
Our look in the mirror and remember the verbal assault of our Japanese students and citizens during the Yamamoto controversy, which Kathy called 'a distraction' at a BoE meeting.
[Portion removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 28, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Parent is a registered user.

@Lien,
Most of my Chinese friends care about all of our students and who is the best candidate for all parents and students. I hope that we are not dividing our community along ethnic lines, that is happening too much from the White House. Our American and Palo Alto values are supposed to be about opportunity and equal opportunity for all and not pitting one ethnic group against another.


3 people like this
Posted by Yuan Le
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 28, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Kathy Jordan pro-Chinese candidate. Supports curriculum to help Chinese students succeed. Other candidates not so much. [Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Old Paly Dad
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 28, 2018 at 6:48 pm

@Yuan
"Kathy Jordan pro-Chinese candidate. Supports curriculum to help Chinese students succeed. Other candidates not so much."

- supports curriculum to help Chinese students succeed: means weighted GPA and academic rigor. Probably also means NO to sex ed. [Portion removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by XPAUSDMom
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 28, 2018 at 7:36 pm

XPAUSDMom is a registered user.

You need more than just academic intelligence and rigor to succeed.
Forbes: Why You Need Emotional Intelligence to Succeed
Web Link
Entrepreneur: Emotional Intelligence and Success
Web Link
Business News Daily: What is Emotional Intelligence and Why does it matter?
Web Link
Fast Company: Emotionally Intelligent People are more successful
Web Link


20 people like this
Posted by JB mom
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 28, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Kathy Jordan and her campaign is spreading false information on WeChat about the other candidates, especially Ken and Shounak. You can see it coming into this chat now too. This is not good for the Chinese or for the schools. I do not want to see this on the board.


9 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 28, 2018 at 8:27 pm

I think many comments miss the point. We don't want a board that is monoculture, because if we keep maintaining that monoculture one day you will realize that The Emperor Has No Clothes!

Kathy Jordan is not the only board member. She will be just one ingredient, so to speak, if she is elected. To cook a good dish you need more than just salt and pepper.

If the board consists of only one person I may not chose Kathy Jordan. But the matter of fact is that the board has a lot more members. We need diversity of opinions, not five copies of essentially the same idea, the same educational philosophy and the same approach to school matters.


18 people like this
Posted by Revealing comments re Jordan campaign
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 28, 2018 at 9:14 pm

@Yuan Lee “Kathy Jordan pro-Chinese candidate. Supports curriculum to help Chinese students succeed. Other candidates not so much.”

Thank you for speaking candidly about the real issue here with Jordan's campaign financing. This is both disappointing and revealing about the attitude and expectations of many who support Kathy Jordan’s candidacy.

It should also be noted that there is considerable cyberbullying being reported from within the Chinese WeChat community forums against those who don't support Kathy Jordan as “their” candidate. [Portion removed.]

Fortunately, the opinion of this commenter does not reflect the diversity of opinion within the broader Chinese-American or Asian-American community although it does reflect the attitude and objective of a small but vocal subset who are insisting that overseas-born Chinese parents should only support Jordan as their spokesperson candidate.

In the American education system, Chinese students are no different to any other students who all will thrive when our schools provide a rich and engaging learning environment focused on authentic academic engagement and care for student mental health and well-being. Perhaps Yuan Lee could clarify in what ways Chinese students needs are somehow different? Or perhaps it is parents expectations and needs she is really talking about. Please explain.


3 people like this
Posted by Inside View
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 29, 2018 at 1:06 am

[Post removed.]


17 people like this
Posted by Former Paly parent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 29, 2018 at 6:48 am

In the last few days I have spent some time asking my Chinese friends what's going on with Kathy Jordan. As the above posters are saying, it turns out that Jordan's campaign is a cynical attempt to stoke fear in a relatively small part of the Chinese community in Palo Alto, and to turn it into money to try to win a school board campaign despite the lack of any broad community support.

In some ways she fits the profile of other minor candidates in school board races now and in the past, including two other candidates this year. She has no endorsements from local papers and no endorsements from any elected officials or other school leaders.

What is different is that she has used WeChat, a social media app, to communicate a repetitive message to a group of Chinese parents that the district is on the edge of a precipitous decline in quality. Does Jordan actually believe this? There's no indication that she ever talked about it before. Instead, she has been obsessively focused on firing staff for two Title IX incidents at Paly from 2015 and 2016. But Title IX wasn't going to unlock $50k for a school board race. [Portion removed.]

Is $50k enough to overcome a lack of support and a record of harassing journalism students and obsession with firing staff members, including current high school principals? We're about to find out.


12 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 29, 2018 at 9:49 am

R.Davis is a registered user.

Curious. Just how powerful in numbers is this so-called Pro-Jordan 'Chinese voter bloc' and does it consist primarily of recently-arrived PA residents from overseas China who are dissatisfied with the current PAUSD perspectives?

Appealing and appeasing to specific voter demographic concerns is a common campaign strategy/tactic used in just about any election. For those voting against Ms. Jordan, will this acknowledged Pro-Jordan 'bloc' have a serious impact on the election outcome?



13 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 29, 2018 at 10:36 am

I found it rather ironic that the relentless pursuit by Kathy Jordan on the Paly sexual assualt incident bears a striking resemblance to the relentless Judge Persky recall movement led by Michele Dauber. Mrs. Dauber not only successfully recalled Judge Persky, last week she got the court to ask Persky to repay $161K for the recall campaign legal cost. What a poor man Mr. Persky is. :(

Michele Dauber is Ken Dauber's wife. While many comments put Mr. Dauber and Mrs. Jordan on the opposite sides, it seems to me Mrs. Dauber and Mrs. Jordan have a lot of commonalities in terms of their decisive, audacious, take-no-prisoners approach to fight against sexual assault and for gender equality.


22 people like this
Posted by Jordan campaign spin
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 29, 2018 at 11:15 am

Nice try. But Kathy Jordan's "relentless," "take no prisoners" approach was directed at high school students in our district:

"Jordan sent numerous emails to The Campanile editors-in-chief and staff, many of whom weren’t directly involved in the articles, demanding the articles regarding sexual assault be retracted. These demands came across as harsh and aggressive, resulting in many Campanile staff members feeling shaken and harassed, according to Campanile staff members." See Web Link

When students objected, Jordan told them she wouldn't stop because they didn't have to open her email. Only when the district hired a lawyer to direct Jordan to stop did she actually respect their wishes.

Students aren't the only ones Jordan harassed. The Weekly editorial endorsing Dauber and Dharap says, "her tactics do not suggest she has the temperament to work effectively with other board members or the new district administration. She has sent hundreds of repetitive and demanding emails to the board, administrators and the media and made unreasonably broad requests for years of emails between district employees. Her criticisms of the current board are also misplaced."

Not to mention the fact that the board actually addressed the sexual assault and harassment issues that Jordan claims to be concerned with. Her current focus seems to be on complaining that not enough district employees have been fired.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2018 at 12:42 pm

[Post removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by The Impact of Kathy Jordan's Campaign
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2018 at 2:26 pm

> In the last few days I have spent some time asking my Chinese friends what's going on with Kathy Jordan. As the above posters are saying, it turns out that Jordan's campaign is a cynical attempt to stoke fear in a relatively small part of the Chinese community in Palo Alto, and to turn it into money to try to win a school board campaign despite the lack of any broad community support.


Is this attributable to voter ignorance and/or not reading between the lines of Kathy Jordan's campaign efforts?

I too have spoken with a couple of Chinese parents both of whom support Kathy Jordan to the fullest extent. They view Ms. Jordan as a zealous advocate of their children's scholarly interests...one who will actively promote and ensure their academic success within the PAUSD and beyond. Through word of mouth amongst many newly-eligible PA community voters, Kathy Jordan is being portrayed and conveyed as the only PAUSD candidate who actually has their children's backs when it comes to public education.

It is also important to note that the majority of these Chinese parents/voters are not overly concerned with the academic needs of other district students as they only want the best for their children. In many ways, they are no different than their predecessors (i.e. the predominantly white populace that settled in PA before them).



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