An Open and Inclusive School Board

  School board meetings that welcome public participation with focused discussions and reasonable end times.
  Transparent government by minimizing closed door meetings of the school board.
  Make decisions based on data and best practices, with full transparency and open discussion.

We all share a vision for good government for our schools: we want a Board of Education that is transparent, accountable to the public for its decisions and for results, and guided by the best thinking and data to ensure that every child is supported in reaching his or her potential. The Board has been transformed over the course of my term, particularly in the last two years as I've served as Vice President and now President. Working with my colleagues, we now have:

  • Meetings that typically end on time.
  • A practice of using motions and amendments to effectively capture the will of the Board, and to produce public accountability for decisions.
  • A budgeting process that allows the Board to set priorities for spending of public education dollars.
  • A clear division of responsibility in which the Board sets policy and priorities, and the staff does the professional work of implementation.

Transparency. A core principle of our government is that the public's business is done in public, so that we can be fully informed participants in the governance of our community and our schools. In the past, our school board resorted too often to closed meetings and private communications for issues that would better be aired in public.

A good example is how the Board responded to reports that the district mishandled a complaint of sexual assault at Paly in 2016. Before I joined the Board, the district responded to criticism by circling the wagons and holding numerous closed-door meetings. In this case, my colleagues and I commissioned a public report from a leading law firm that laid out in precise terms the areas of failure, and that served as the basis for investment in effective compliance,

Data-driven decision making. In a statement on the Board's governance challenges in 2012, former Board member Barbara Klausner commented that for high school counseling "I believe what the board wants, and what many, many members of the community want is simply a calm, reasoned, professional analysis of the data and best practices." We have made good progress towards this goal, particularly with the introduction of dashboards provided through the State of California that track the district's performance on a number of key measures. I'll work hard in my second term to continue to build this capacity, which I believe is a key asset for ensuring that the district makes effective decisions on behalf of students.


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