I have lived in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District for 15 years and am the mother of two boys who attend district schools. I was elected to the School Board in 2013 as a change agent, someone who would improve communication and transparency to all stakeholders, preserve neighborhood schools during increasing enrollment, encourage innovative academic programs, and improve teacher job satisfaction
There is much change to celebrate in my first term. We passed a bond measure and two parcel taxes to ensure there was sufficient school capacity and adequate funding for growing enrollment. We developed a Strategic Plan with input from a broad spectrum of stakeholders to align on our vision of student success. We overhauled district websites so information is more accessible and initiated a new parent orientation to provide a warm welcome for anxious new parents. We transitioned to interest-based bargaining with the teachers union to foster a more collaborative culture.
All is not rosy, however. The school district’s budget is turning negative in two years despite the recent passage of a parcel tax. California is ranked 41st out of 50 states in per-pupil school funding, and the funding formula is the same across the state with no accommodations for regional cost of living. We attract teachers to our district via our investment in teacher intern programs and high-quality professional development, but they often leave when they can’t afford to buy a home. The district and the teachers are being required to contribute more into the pension fund which further strains finances.
Change is inevitable because the district has to have a balanced three-year budget. My goal is to promote an engaged school community whose members will work collaboratively to ensure each student’s success as we overcome financial stressors. We must match community member interests and skills to school district needs so we can increase donations, broaden the volunteer pool, and implement innovative yet cost-effective programs.
Ultimately school funding is a state level issue. This year I was elected to the California School Board Association’s Delegate Assembly so I can make an impact at the state level and serve as the policy advocate on our school board. All of us can make an impact at the state level by writing our state legislators and electing those who support increased school funding.
Please vote for me so we can continue the change that we started!