We asked all five candidates for the Castro Valley Unified School District Board of Directors to answer the same questions in their blog post: What do you view as the biggest challenge (or challenges) facing CVUSD now, and how will you work to address it (them) in the next four years?
I have served on the Castro Valley School Board for twenty-one years to ensure our children have excellent public schools. Our schools need knowledgeable and experienced leadership to maximize resources and educational opportunities for our students, teachers and staff. I am proud that CVUSD has maintained the highest levels of academic achievement while the Board has demonstrated prudent fiscal management. I have worked diligently to ensure outstanding educational programs for students and a quality environment.
Castro Valley has become a district of choice, where families come to live because of the schools. Our excellent schools have developed through thoughtful decision making by the School Board. I am proud of my participation.
It is vital that CVUSD continues with a prudent fiscal approach. Our prior reserves saved our schools from the drastically negative impacts that other districts experienced during the great recession. Over the next four years we need to maintain our careful stewardship to rebuild our reserves to enable the best possible learning environment.
At the same time, priority must be given to retaining and recruiting quality staff throughout CVUSD. Staff members have a great impact on a child’s academic success and our district’s culture is to support and nurture our own. Employee compensation represents over 86.7% of the district’s annual budget with our staff receiving a 12% salary increase over the last four years. We must ensure that CVUSD’s environment is one that respects and honors our professionals with resources and tools to aid with student learning. The Board must be very strategic with the additional 13% of the budget to ensure that resources, facilities and safe schools provide the optimal learning environment.
In June, the community entrusted CVUSD with $123 million bond. I have worked through the implementation process with the last three bonds and am well prepared to guide the district through the many steps we need to take to result in technologically and physically advanced campuses. This bond represents a major investment of our community and it is important that we demonstrate the best use of the funds.
The School Board is responsible for approving our Local Accountability Plan (LCAP). The LCAP engages parents, staff, students and community. This plan, with its eight priority areas, ensures that CVUSD is meeting the needs of our students. It is critical to build a plan with high expectations and then provide the resources for the students to succeed. The Board must ensure that we stay focused on supporting the implementation of the LCAP. Board members must be willing to do the work required to understand the priorities and the underpinnings of support.
Institutional knowledge will be a critical component to building CVUSD’s future governance team. I have demonstrated a thoughtful and passionate approach as a trustee for the last 21 years. To enhance my contributions, I have earned a Masters of Boardsmanship and a Masters of Governance from the California School Boards Association. I am aware of the time and commitment necessary to prepare for and attend board meetings, serve as a representative at the auxiliary organizations and be an ambassador for CVUSD.
I have led the California State PTA as President, President-Elect, Vice-President of Leadership and Vice-President of Education. The State Superintendent of Schools appointed me to California’s P-16 Council. I have served as President, Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer for the Alameda County School Boards Association and as President of the Castro Valley Education
I have a longtime investment in our community. I have coached soccer, softball and T-Ball. I have served as a scout leader and been active with Community Outreach from the beginning. I spoke in Sacramento for funding for the library and served on the library art selection committee.
I truly believe that public education is the cornerstone of our democracy and have worked tirelessly for many years to ensure quality education for all children. I have a proven track record as an advocate and champion for public education. Your vote for Jo Loss on November 8 will be a vote for strong and vital public education for our children.