My fellow taxpayers, we just left the School Board candidates forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters broadcast from City Hall. There are three candidates for two open seats. For about the last two years, by far the most important issue has been the passage of the bond. In June, 2014, by about a ¾ margin it passed successfully. The BOND measure allows the School District to spend $106,000,000 to upgrade health and safety conditions to protect our children and employees and to upgrade infrastructure, including modern infrastructure technology. We taxpayers pay for this AND interest through real estate taxes. This means nearly a quarter billion dollars you and we must pay out of our pockets.
As taxpayers, we were eager to learn what the candidates had to say and what they would do for the decisions that need to be reached now that the District has access to all that money.
Anne Burke and Scott McVarish:
supported, endorsed AND proudly voted FOR the Bond.
have been actively working with the School District for the last 2 years in the bond sub-committee meeting,
interviewed the Principals and staff at all school sites about each school’s condition.
Anne pointed out that the deadline for decision making is fast approaching. Choosing contractors, architects, making District-wide construction standards, issuing competitive contracts are examples of informed Board decisions. She said that major work must be done in June, July and August of 2016 while the schools are closed. She promised to work closely with the Division of State Architects in Sacramento to shorten up the approval process.
What came out of the Forum shows that Kelly Kent is well formally educated, sincere and well meaning. Scott and Anne pointed out, however, that Kelly Kent:
Never supported our bond measure,
Did not endorse our bond measure,
Did not vote for our bond measure,
Never went or participated in any Bond Sub-committee meetings, Bond Advisory meetings or Bond Oversight meetings.
None of her campaign literature even mentions the Bond!
As in this and all prior forums the usual question came up, “What is the role of a School Board member?” I was expecting the standard, usual, memorized answer from all three candidates: making & reviewing policy, working with the Superintendent, negotiating salary and work conditions with employees, budgets and spend a large amount of time working on Bond decisions. Instead Kelly declined to answer this fundamental question and “passed!” Again Kelly had a second opportunity to explain what the roll of a School Board member is, but again failed to follow up.
My fellow taxpayers, in choosing a candidate for School Board, should you trust Kelly Kent or any candidate, to spend our quarter billion tax dollars wisely? Can we allow her possibly to delay making critical and urgent decisions because she has not taken the time to be informed?
Madeline Ehrlich, Former School Board Member and President & Paul Ehrlich, Concerned Taxpayer