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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The questions were prepared by the Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
Questions & Answers
1. How would you determine that the schools are using federal, state and local funds wisely and fairly and how would you report your findings to the community?
One of the major areas of responsibility of a school board member is fiduciary. The board manages and allocates monies received from federal, state, and local resources. Some funds are for general budgetary use; others are restricted by law for specific uses. The budgeting cycle has year round touch points for the board to monitor both revenues and expenditures and to make any revisions. Our budget adoption begins in January as we gather information from the Governors proposed budget. The board establishes budget priorities that align with our district's goals. We work closely with our employee groups to gather input. We hold hearings to inform the public of our priorities and hear their ideas as well. The budget must be approved by June 30 of each year. It must show sufficient funding for the budget year and the two following years. The Santa Clara County Office of Education then reviews our budget and sends us a report of their findings. The board monitors current budget year through reports of actual spending, and we receive formal certification by an independent auditor of the year-end expenditures and compliance audit review as required by the state. Additionally, we have a citizens' oversight committee review our locally generated monies such as our bonds and parcel tax. They bring an independent report to the board, regarding the expenditure of these monies. By law, there is public transparency, as these reports and board actions are subject to the Brown Act.
2. Are the schools offering instruction appropriate to the diverse educational abilities of all the students?
The District is using a research-based initiative that guides effective teaching for all children. Teachers monitor what students know and re-teach using a different strategy if they do not catch the concept. When a student has mastery, teachers guide them to further knowledge. At each grade level, we have our teachers engaged in the model of Professional Learning Communities (PLC). Here, they examine data and develop strategies supporting all levels of learning. Differentiated curriculum allows students to explore and demonstrate concepts through their multiple intelligences. In addition to large group instruction, concepts are taught in smaller groups. Teachers design this flexible group time so that lessons fit children's academic level. Often grouping is done throughout a grade level so that students diverse learning needs can be supported. As students gain mastery they are re-grouped. Our staff has been trained in systematic English language development. This supports our recent Language Arts adoption, which offers materials for learners at each grade level. Additionally, students who have a disability, as defined by federal regulations, may have an individual educational plan. More information about strategies to support student achievement can be found in the annual Single School Plan report.
3. Where do you want the District to be five years from now? What steps should the District take to get there?
In five years, the Sunnyvale School District will have a vibrant look and feel. On the outside, the public will see our modernization projects at their completion phase. On the inside, the research-based initiatives that we have begun will be embedded into the district culture. Students, teachers, staff, administrators and parents are focused on learning. Students will show growth academically by multiple measures. More importantly, with the work around the forty key indicators of positive behaviors and strengths that support achievement called Developmental Assets, our students will find that Sunnyvale is a place where they can learn and thrive. Students will have access to the academic and community resources they need to support success. The public will notice that our program is well rounded; youth are prepared for high school and they are successful in career paths leading beyond high school.In order to achieve this, we must maintain our focus on student success. At the District level we will use multiple indicators to assess our progress. Our ongoing collaboration with Fremont High School District will provide valuable information about our students' progress. While the economic recession has lasted longer than anticipated, an upswing is expected in 2016. What this means is that we must wisely align the budget to meet our goals while carefully monitoring and leveraging resources. Now more than ever, our community partnerships are vital. As an advocate for our youth, know that your support of our students is needed. Notice the children who are around you and say "hello." Stay connected with activities you have chosen that support youth in Sunnyvale. Volunteer at your local school or youth organization. Collaborating with the community, we can move forward even in challenging times. The children of Sunnyvale today will be the leaders of Sunnyvale tomorrow.
Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League. Candidates' responses are not edited or corrected by the League.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 19, 2011 08:51
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