Election Guide 2020: Palo Alto Unified School District

The empty Henry M. Gunn High School campus in Palo Alto on April 3. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

News

Election Guide 2020: Palo Alto Unified School District

The empty Henry M. Gunn High School campus in Palo Alto on April 3. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Much is at stake at Palo Alto Unified this election season, when voters will decide which three of six candidates for the Board of Education should govern the district as it weathers the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The Nov. 3 ballot also includes the renewal of an $836 parcel tax. Here's a roundup of our articles and videos.

Meet the candidates

Katie Causey

Katie Causey: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Katie Causey has wanted to run for a seat on the school board since she was 15 years old. She was a Palo Alto High School student at the time, surrounded in many ways by turmoil.

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Palo Alto native, graduate announces bid for school board - July 7

Katie Causey, a Palo Alto native, Palo Alto Unified graduate and nonprofit employee, announced on Tuesday that she's running for a seat on the school board in November.

Todd Collins

Todd Collins: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Todd Collins, current president of the Palo Alto Board of Education, believes the school district is more stable, better managed and effective than in recent history but that there is still progress to be made on key issues.

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Incumbent Todd Collins, parent Jesse Ladomirak detail campaigns for school board - Aug. 11

The race for three open seats on the Palo Alto Unified school board continues to expand with board President Todd Collins and Jesse Ladomirak, a parent and co-owner of a remodeling company in San Francisco.

Jennifer DiBrienza

Jennifer DiBrienza: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Jennifer DiBrienza's four years on the school board have been marked by enormous turmoil. She believes she and her colleagues have gotten Palo Alto Unified to a better place, with a less-siloed district office.

School board race expands as Jennifer DiBrienza and Karna Niswaner launch campaigns - July 31

Jennifer DiBrienza, who is nearing the end of her first term on the Board of Education, has confirmed she plans to seek a second term.

Karna Nisewaner has also decided to make a bid for the school board to bring her perspective as a parent and lawyer.

Jesse Ladomirak

Jesse Ladomirak: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Jesse Ladomirak looks at the current makeup of the school board — with only one board member with children attending district schools — and sees a gap she wants to fill.

Incumbent Todd Collins, parent Jesse Ladomirak detail campaigns for school board - Aug. 11

The race for three open seats on the Palo Alto Unified school board continues to expand with board President Todd Collins and Jesse Ladomirak, a parent and co-owner of a remodeling company in San Francisco.

Matt Nagle

Matt Nagle: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Matthew Nagle is a longtime educator with deep ties to Palo Alto Unified, including as a current parent and the spouse of a teacher, who believes his experience is badly needed on the current school board.

Former district principal, parent Matt Nagle is running for school board - Aug. 14

Matt Nagle, a former Juana Briones Elementary School principal, longtime educator and district parent, has announced he's making a bid for a seat on the Palo Alto school board in the November election.

Karna Nisewaner

Karna Nisewaner: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Karna Nisewaner believes her personal and professional experiences make her a needed voice on the school board during this time. She was driven to run primarily by concerns about the state of the district during the pandemic.

School board race expands as Jennifer DiBrienza and Karna Niswaner launch campaigns - July 31

Jennifer DiBrienza, who is nearing the end of her first term on the Board of Education, has confirmed she plans to seek a second term.

Karna Nisewaner has also decided to make a bid for the school board to bring her perspective as a parent and lawyer.

Debate

Palo Alto Board of Education candidates Katie Causey, Todd Collins, Jennifer DiBrienza, Jesse Ladomirak, Matt Nagle and Karna Nisewaner discuss issues impacting local schools during a debate sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly and moderated by journalists Jocelyn Dong, Elena Kadvany, Joshua Yang, Adora Zheng and Ethan Hwang over Zoom on Sept. 30.

The six candidates discussed numerous topics during the Weekly's Sept. 30 debate. Here are the issues and the timestamps: Schools reopening (8:19), teachers union (14:28), student input (20:35), youth mental health (26:19), academic rigor (32:37), student journalism (38:51), board's open forum (44:09), Title IX (49:46), social distancing enforcement (56:14), bell schedules (1:01:37), parcel tax (1:07:43), COVID (1:13:08), Asian community (1:19:28), private tutoring (1:25:29), communication and trust (1:31:15), governance (1:37:31), school athletics (1:43:33), online-only option (1:50:26), candidates' priority issues (1:55:16).

Six board candidates debate reopening plan, school culture, communication - Oct. 1

The six candidates vying for three open seats on the school board faced off in a virtual debate on Sept. 30, discussing their views on reopening schools, transparency, student mental health and more.

The debate was held the night after the school board voted unanimously to approve a plan to start reopening elementary schools in two weeks, which has sparked controversy and division in the school community.

Infographics

In their own words: Where the candidates stand on the issues - Oct. 7

The Palo Alto Weekly asked the six Board of Education candidates to share their positions on key issues facing the district, including student health, reopening schools and the budget.

Campaign financing

Newcomer Jesse Ladomirak holds fundraising lead in school board race - Oct. 23

Challenger Jesse Ladomirak continues to lead fundraising in the school board race, receiving about $7,700 during the most recent reporting period, according to campaign finance reports.

Ladomirak ahead in school-board campaign fundraising, trailed by incumbents - Sept. 25

Newcomer Jesse Ladomirak has a lead in campaign contributions in the Palo Alto Unified school board race, having raised just over $20,000 to date, while incumbents Todd Collins and Jennifer DiBrienza are trailing with about $17,000 each.

Newcomers Katie Causey and Karna Nisewaner have each raised about $8,000 to date, according to campaign finance reports. Another challenger, Matt Nagle, is not accepting campaign contributions.

Parcel tax measure

Palo Alto voters to decide on schools parcel tax - Oct. 7

If approved, Measure O would extend an $836 per parcel tax for six years at the same rate.

School board puts parcel tax on November ballot, expecting challenging path to approval - July 8

The Palo Alto school board has decided to place a parcel tax renewal on the November ballot, partially out of concern that the measure might not pass the first time.

Opinions

Guest Opinion: Responsible track record deserves 'yes' on Measure O - Oct. 2

Given Palo Alto Unified's record of spending parcel tax funds responsibly, we owe it to our students to renew this critical source of local school funding.

Editorial board recommendation

Editorial: DiBrienza, Collins, Ladomirak for school board - Oct. 9

Out of a strong field, we recommend Jennifer DiBrienza, Todd Collins and Jesse Ladomirak for the Palo Alto school board.

This page will be updated with more content in the coming weeks.

Find more of our 2020 election coverage here.

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Election Guide 2020: Palo Alto Unified School District

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 6, 2020, 1:27 pm
Updated: Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 10:20 am

Much is at stake at Palo Alto Unified this election season, when voters will decide which three of six candidates for the Board of Education should govern the district as it weathers the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The Nov. 3 ballot also includes the renewal of an $836 parcel tax. Here's a roundup of our articles and videos.

Katie Causey

Katie Causey: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Katie Causey has wanted to run for a seat on the school board since she was 15 years old. She was a Palo Alto High School student at the time, surrounded in many ways by turmoil.

Palo Alto native, graduate announces bid for school board - July 7

Katie Causey, a Palo Alto native, Palo Alto Unified graduate and nonprofit employee, announced on Tuesday that she's running for a seat on the school board in November.

Todd Collins

Todd Collins: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Todd Collins, current president of the Palo Alto Board of Education, believes the school district is more stable, better managed and effective than in recent history but that there is still progress to be made on key issues.

Incumbent Todd Collins, parent Jesse Ladomirak detail campaigns for school board - Aug. 11

The race for three open seats on the Palo Alto Unified school board continues to expand with board President Todd Collins and Jesse Ladomirak, a parent and co-owner of a remodeling company in San Francisco.

Jennifer DiBrienza

Jennifer DiBrienza: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Jennifer DiBrienza's four years on the school board have been marked by enormous turmoil. She believes she and her colleagues have gotten Palo Alto Unified to a better place, with a less-siloed district office.

School board race expands as Jennifer DiBrienza and Karna Niswaner launch campaigns - July 31

Jennifer DiBrienza, who is nearing the end of her first term on the Board of Education, has confirmed she plans to seek a second term.

Karna Nisewaner has also decided to make a bid for the school board to bring her perspective as a parent and lawyer.

Jesse Ladomirak

Jesse Ladomirak: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Jesse Ladomirak looks at the current makeup of the school board — with only one board member with children attending district schools — and sees a gap she wants to fill.

Incumbent Todd Collins, parent Jesse Ladomirak detail campaigns for school board - Aug. 11

The race for three open seats on the Palo Alto Unified school board continues to expand with board President Todd Collins and Jesse Ladomirak, a parent and co-owner of a remodeling company in San Francisco.

Matt Nagle

Matt Nagle: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Matthew Nagle is a longtime educator with deep ties to Palo Alto Unified, including as a current parent and the spouse of a teacher, who believes his experience is badly needed on the current school board.

Former district principal, parent Matt Nagle is running for school board - Aug. 14

Matt Nagle, a former Juana Briones Elementary School principal, longtime educator and district parent, has announced he's making a bid for a seat on the Palo Alto school board in the November election.

Karna Nisewaner

Karna Nisewaner: Candidate profile - Oct. 7

Karna Nisewaner believes her personal and professional experiences make her a needed voice on the school board during this time. She was driven to run primarily by concerns about the state of the district during the pandemic.

School board race expands as Jennifer DiBrienza and Karna Niswaner launch campaigns - July 31

Jennifer DiBrienza, who is nearing the end of her first term on the Board of Education, has confirmed she plans to seek a second term.

Karna Nisewaner has also decided to make a bid for the school board to bring her perspective as a parent and lawyer.

The six candidates discussed numerous topics during the Weekly's Sept. 30 debate. Here are the issues and the timestamps: Schools reopening (8:19), teachers union (14:28), student input (20:35), youth mental health (26:19), academic rigor (32:37), student journalism (38:51), board's open forum (44:09), Title IX (49:46), social distancing enforcement (56:14), bell schedules (1:01:37), parcel tax (1:07:43), COVID (1:13:08), Asian community (1:19:28), private tutoring (1:25:29), communication and trust (1:31:15), governance (1:37:31), school athletics (1:43:33), online-only option (1:50:26), candidates' priority issues (1:55:16).

Six board candidates debate reopening plan, school culture, communication - Oct. 1

The six candidates vying for three open seats on the school board faced off in a virtual debate on Sept. 30, discussing their views on reopening schools, transparency, student mental health and more.

The debate was held the night after the school board voted unanimously to approve a plan to start reopening elementary schools in two weeks, which has sparked controversy and division in the school community.

In their own words: Where the candidates stand on the issues - Oct. 7

The Palo Alto Weekly asked the six Board of Education candidates to share their positions on key issues facing the district, including student health, reopening schools and the budget.

Newcomer Jesse Ladomirak holds fundraising lead in school board race - Oct. 23

Challenger Jesse Ladomirak continues to lead fundraising in the school board race, receiving about $7,700 during the most recent reporting period, according to campaign finance reports.

Ladomirak ahead in school-board campaign fundraising, trailed by incumbents - Sept. 25

Newcomer Jesse Ladomirak has a lead in campaign contributions in the Palo Alto Unified school board race, having raised just over $20,000 to date, while incumbents Todd Collins and Jennifer DiBrienza are trailing with about $17,000 each.

Newcomers Katie Causey and Karna Nisewaner have each raised about $8,000 to date, according to campaign finance reports. Another challenger, Matt Nagle, is not accepting campaign contributions.

Palo Alto voters to decide on schools parcel tax - Oct. 7

If approved, Measure O would extend an $836 per parcel tax for six years at the same rate.

School board puts parcel tax on November ballot, expecting challenging path to approval - July 8

The Palo Alto school board has decided to place a parcel tax renewal on the November ballot, partially out of concern that the measure might not pass the first time.

Guest Opinion: Responsible track record deserves 'yes' on Measure O - Oct. 2

Given Palo Alto Unified's record of spending parcel tax funds responsibly, we owe it to our students to renew this critical source of local school funding.

Editorial: DiBrienza, Collins, Ladomirak for school board - Oct. 9

Out of a strong field, we recommend Jennifer DiBrienza, Todd Collins and Jesse Ladomirak for the Palo Alto school board.

This page will be updated with more content in the coming weeks.

Find more of our 2020 election coverage here.

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