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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Alameda County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Board Member; Castro Valley Unified School District

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of the Eden Area and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on ,

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. (School funding priorities) With school district budgets throughout the state cut to the bone, what would you cut and what would you avoid cutting if Prop 30 doesn't pass and "trigger cuts" to education are implemented?

Answer from Mary Pippitt:

One of my top priorities is maximizing financial resources for engaging, equitable student learning. If we need to do more with less then that more needs to be directed to kids and classrooms! A board of education's primary goal is education of our children and our budget should reflect this priority. Kids first! Classrooms First! Teachers First! Identifying areas of greatest need and prioritizng the budget will guarantee that the monies are spent wisely and appropriately. That being said, the process of prioritization would need to be done collaboratively with a broad representation of students, teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and community members. Only then could the community be assured that the decisions made would be the best for ALL stakeholders and include a broad knowledge base and perspective.This reflects my priority for open, collaborative decision-making.

Answer from Jo A.S. Loss:

The Castro Valley School Board has built the 2012-13 budget with great care to protect the students, staff and programs in case Proposition 30 does not pass in November. The trigger cuts designed into the 2012-13 State budget are anticipated to reduce our revenue by $465 per student. If additional modifications are needed, we will revisit our established budget process. Staff and community members are encouraged to participate and provide input to the administration and Board. We strive to make it an inclusive and transparent exercise. The Board works hard to make long-term, strategic decisions that focus on individual student achievement.

Answer from Charmaine Marie Banther:

I want to work together with the community to prevent unnecessary educational cuts and anything that hinders student learning. Castro Valley Unified currently has a healthy reserve to weather the "trigger" if Prop. 30 does not pass. If cuts are to be made in the future, I would like to convene community forums to gather input about the priorities of all stakeholders.

? 2. (Board Member effectiveness) How would you go about improving student achievement, gaining the trust of the teaching and classified staff, and ensuring transparency and open communication with parents?

Answer from Jo A.S. Loss:

Listen, ask questions, listen some more! Being a good listener lets people know that you value their input and their priorities.

Answer from Mary Pippitt:

Student achievement can be improved. Castro Valley Schools can be one of the best in the nation. Our schools are good, safe, and sound. Now we are ready to reach for best!Make changes; changes that will make our schools some of the best in our country. Accomplishing this will involve acknowledging the capacity of everyone, the expertise of our teachers and staff; the willingness of community volunteers and community partners working together; thinking outside the box to find powerful solutions that will transform our schools. We need change that will bring opportunities for our next generation; better engage our students in opportunities that foster creativity, problem solving, and higher level thinking. Powerful solutions that will reinstate arts education and music in all our classrooms. If everyone is at the table; if everyone is involved in this process than it will be an open and transparent process. Trust is gained through actions; actions over time. This coming together for the future of our children's education will start us on that road. Staying together for the long term will build the collective trust necessary if our kids are to receive the best Castro Valley can offer.

Answer from Charmaine Marie Banther:

I would work with Castro Valley teachers and encourage curriculum innovation. Our schools have been hindered by the one size fits all approach of "no child left behind". With the introduction of the Common Core Standards in 2013-2014, Castro Valley teachers should be empowered and given the professional development to create curriculum that will take our schools to the next level. I would hope to gain trust with the certificated and classified bargaining units by listening, working hard and keeping my word. I plan to make myself easily available to the community through email and attendance at community events. I also plan regular meeting with both bargaining units to listen to concerns.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' responses are presented as submitted. Direct references to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: February 1, 2013 14:01 PST
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