( School Board Member Arleigh Kidd speaking at a recent townhall forum. Arleigh Kidd posted the press release about technology. Earlier, Dan White also posted on Facebook that the school board voted to fund this idea.)
The Simi Valley Unified School District is dedicating a major source of money to upgrading technology for area schools. Click on continue reading for the press release.
The Measure C4 Bond projects have were less expensive to complete and now the money will be used for major technology upgrades.
My current classroom computer runs Office 2003. I am excited to know we will have more technology for students next school year.
What good news is happening in your school district?
On Saturday Morning I went to the town hall forum put on by School Board Members Arleigh Kidd and Jeanne Davis. The attendance at the event was small but it gave a chance for decent conversations. Discussions included technology, neighborhood schools, closing schools, selling excess property, budget cuts, magnet schools, online grades, and hiring from within or from outside. I did not stay the entire time so I do not know everything that was discussed.
Former school board member Don Otto asked many questions and gave suggestions for a long time. He mostly seemed focused on the way the school district is perceived by the public.
I support Arleigh Kidd's proposal to bring solar energy to our campuses to save money. Adding solar panels to our campuses is only a small part to the overall budget issues. I like that they are trying to find many ways to spend money better. Here is a short clip of Arleigh Kidd discussing solar panels.
The solar panel discussion was only a small part of the meeting.
I am glad they did this event. I encourage them to keep doing them.
Did you see the story of the Royal High School students that put a giant inflatable ape, taken from a local car dealership, on the roof of the MPR? I was sitting at a candidates forum when I posted on my blog's Facebook page a post about Mr. Pickles, the big blue ape. Apparently, my readers were interested in what the candidates thought about the prank.
The car dealership was more than pleased with all of the free publicity and no damage was done to the school. With that in mind I asked School Board candidate Jeanne Davis her thoughts on the incident. Here is her reply:
I will post the reply from any of the other candidates that choose to respond.
You might say this is a pointless issue. But so is asking about vouchers, when it isn't anything the Simi Valley School Board deals with.
I am interviewing Simi Valley School Board candidate Arleigh Kidd tonight using the comments section of this blog entry. Click on continue reading later to read the interview. Arleigh Kidd is a personal friend of mine and I am supporting him. But that doesn't mean I'm not planning on asking him tough questions. I am going to ask him about charter schools, tenure, budget priorities, and more. After the interview let me know how I did.
In an era where many politicians are running negative campaigns designed to take advantage of a frustrated electorate Simi Valley School Board candidate Jeanne Davis's campaign has been running a more uplifting campaign.
To promote her new campaign Facebook page she asked people to nominate a local teacher for a start of the year of the giftbasket. To post a comment supporters have to click like, which helps her build up her Facebook page. There are two seats up for election on the SVUSD Board and Jeanne Davis is the only incumbent running. Of the four candidates only her and Arleigh Kidd submitted statements for the sample ballot. She might be strongly favored to win but she isn't taking her position for granted.
School Board Member Jeanne Davis gives the prize to Jill Craft of Sycamore Elementary. Congratulations Jill!
School Board Member Rob Collins, Past School Board Member and his wife Diane Collins, and education activist Donna Prenta are putting together a meet and greet event this weekend for three of their favorite local candidates. Here is the flyer for the event:
Although the candidates are appearing together that doesn't mean they have all endorsed each other. Arleigh Kidd posted this comment on Facebook:
I plan to be at this event to take pictures and to interview the candidates briefly. I have interviewed Jeanne Davis a few weeks ago and I will be interviewing Arleigh Kidd soon. I am personal friends with Arleigh Kidd and I am supporting him. He has been a teacher in Simi Valley and has a passion for public education.
I am helping to raise money for the Simi Valley Education Foundation. If you like what you read on this blog please consider donating to this worthy cause. The money is used to fund their enhancement grants that teachers in SVUSD can apply for. Grants have been funded in the past for classroom materials and teacher training.
If a candidate donates, or someone donates on behalf of a candidate, I will recognize them here on my blog. I won't post how much someone donates unless they as me to include that information.
Jeanne Davis is running for a second term on the Simi Valley School Board. In the last election she beat a candidate endorsed by the union representing Simi Valley teachers. This time she has their endorsement and she has wider name identification. She worked in SVUSD as a teacher and as an administrator until she retired. There are four candidates running for the two positions on the school board. Only two candidates filed candidate statements, and she is one of them. Her campaign isn't taking chances though and has been working on getting their message out. All of those factors combine to show she is very likely to retain her position.
I am going to be interviewing Jeanne Davis tonight. Email me suggestions for questions.
There are four candidates running for two open seats. Arleigh Kidd and Jeanne Davis are the only two candidates that paid to have their campaign statement in the sample ballot. There are two seats up for election and Jeanne Davis is the only incumbent running.
In the last election the union representing Simi Valley teachers, the SEA, endorsed two of her opponents and she won anyways. This time she earned their endorsement. She has also been endorsed by City Council Member Steve Sojka. A personal friend of mine has been hired to be her campaign manager. She is taking this campaign very seriously.
Adding all of that up and it is clear she is heavily favored to win. That's why I appreciate even more Jeanne Davis' willingness to answer my questions.
In the interest of full disclosure I am a teacher in SVUSD and a member of our union. I am also personal friends with her son, who is an amazing teacher. This interview is odd because in some ways I am interviewing a supervisor of mine.
But don't expect that to stop me from asking some tough questions. You can ask Jeanne Davis personally if I have hesitated to let her know my opinion on education issues before.
Do you read the letters to the editor in local papers? This letter from former Simi Valley School Board Member Greg Stratton was in The Acorn and in The Star.
Greg Stratton's Letter
What goes around comes around. So Janice DiFatta and Debbie Sandland are shocked that Debbie was passed over for president of the Simi Valley Unified School District board. Obviously, their definition of "recent memory" does not go all the way back to 2004, when they broke protocol and denied me and Carla Kurachi our turns as board president and clerk. They taught Rob Collins well that the leadership decision is purely political. I'm sure he remembers back that far.
By the protocol, Eric Lundstrom should have been clerk last year. Apparently, they forgot that part of it then, but now they conveniently remember the rules. I don't know how they each can make the statements they made without being afraid of being struck by lightning for twisting the truth.
It gives me some hope to see the board escape from the path those two have chartered. We have a good district, but it needs leadership to make it what it can be -- a great district. That means change, and the two of them have been there so long they don't even understand the need for change. They have become so embedded in the status quo that they take any suggestion for change as a personal affront. Well, times have changed, and the district needs to as well.
So, congratulations to President Lundstrom, and keep up the good work. You can now chart a new course for the district that will improve it for years to come. Good luck.
-- Greg Stratton, Simi Valley
(The writer was a board member from 2002 to 2006. -- Editor)
As a matter of disclosure I am a teacher in Simi Valley. That being said I really don't know how who is the president or clerk of the School Board influences local schools. I haven't paid attention to this issue jut as I don't normally pay attention to who the Mayor Pro Tem of a city is currently. I guess it helps people when they run for office and want a title to put by their names, but what else is there to the title?
Mayor Stratton, ( I assume, like president you get to keep the title) can you fill us in? In your letter you said : "So, congratulations to President Lundstrom, and keep up the good work. You can now chart a new course for the district that will improve it for years to come. Good luck." How does a board president chart a course for the district? Is there something in the bylaws, special committees they are assigned to, or do they become the go to person for staff?
Anyone else know the powers of a school board president and clerk? If they are running a meeting it seems they would work with the other board members on schedules and the like anyway. If the position was truly powerful, why would it be rotated anyways?
None of this should be construed to say I have a strong opinion on who the board president should be.
Click here for Mike Chandler's opinion on the issue. Mike writes the blog votesimivalley.com. He blogs often about Simi Valley. If you know something that needs to be covered send him a message.