Always Put Kids First
My top priority is to improve student educational outcomes and decrease achievement gaps, especially in reading, writing, math and science, for all students at all grade levels. Now more than ever we need board members that prioritize the children's education.
I am committed to providing a high quality education that will prepare students to become successful, productive members of society. Board members should never prioritize the political or financial desires of special interests or unions over the needs of our children. My primary focus when I frequently raise financial issues is to make the most of our District budget to provide the best possible education for our students.
Respect Parent’s Rights and Promote Local Control
I was elected four years ago to be a “voice for parents” that was sorely lacking on the school board. I will continue advocating for parents to be the greatest influence over how their children are educated. Every year, bureaucrats hand down new regulations that impose their own standards and values onto our children. Since the school board is elected by parents and community members, I believe that the board is ethically obligated to respect the views, insights and wishes of parents to the greatest degree possible. I have established a record during my tenure on the board of fighting for parent's rights.
I have consistently advocated to tighten our belts and stop deficit spending. The district received $25 million less in funding this year due to the current financial crisis. The board majority voted to borrow millions to balance our 2020-21 budget. I advocated to use our rainy-day and other available funds ($37 million) for this crisis, rather than borrow more money and pay interest and fees.
The board majority also voted (during the middle of COVID-19) to give every district employee a 2 1/2% retroactive pay raise that cost the taxpayers $3.2 million. This increased our 2020-21 expenses by $6.4 million. During the current financial crisis we need to be making sacrifices not giving everyone raises. Raises can be considered after our budget has stabilized.
When making budget decisions, I will always prioritize student educational outcomes and experience. I will support solutions to stay within our budget and not expect families to subsidize programs and activities to make up the difference for budget shortfalls.
Reverse Declining Enrollment
CVUSD’s 15-year trend of declining enrollment must be reversed by effectively resolving parent concerns and providing the flexibility and programs that bring students back to CVUSD or convince them to stay. In 2005-2006, CVUSD had 22,456 students. After a devastating board decision in 2007 to close two elementary schools (that immediately reopened as charter schools), the District has had a steady decline in enrollment. The superintendent told the board at the August 11, 2020 board meeting that current enrollment is 17,700. Therefore, the District has lost 4,756 students. Census numbers show that one-third of all Conejo Valley school-age children do not attend CVUSD.
Just since the 2019-20 school year, the District has lost at least 1,000 students. Even more students are now leaving because our school board refuses to allow high school students back to campus until January 19, 2021. Every 1,000 students represents approximately $10 million in funding for our schools.
I believe the board's decision not to allow ALL K-12 students the option to return to campus right now violates Education Code 43504 that states, in the 2020-2021 school year, the District must "offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible." Unnecessarily delaying the opportunity for students to return to campus, when we have permission to allow them to return may cause the District to lose even more students to private, charter and homeschool options.