Pacifica Democrats public forum, 9/18/10 (a follow-up report)
Elementary School Board terms are 4
years, this year 3 candidates will be elected to these positions.
From the forum....
Are incumbent candidate school
board members accountable?
They are. During their tenure, Mike O'Neill and
Joan Weideman have been part of a school district board where
children achievement scores have improved substantially to be
counted the top 20% (API over 800), while district funding
from the State has remained in the lowest 11%. Buildings have
transitioned to being maintained, and our"special education"
program has become "a model for the country" (San Mateo Grand
Candidates agree on these issues
1. Operational: 1) Continuing to improve funding and
budget distribution (optimizing use of money), 2) maintaining
class size and staff level if possible, 3) keep special education
programs local (better for children and cost effective), 4)
maintaining buildings (deterioration costs more and is a safety
issue, 5) seek funding sources where possible (to improve requires
effort), 6) advocate for children (primary focus is on our
2. Philosophical. 1) a healthy Democracy requires
educated citizens, 2) children should achieve their best
attainable level, 3) charter and religious schools which receive
federal money should be accountable through testing and oversight
the same as public schools.
Candidate individual leadership focus
1. Mike O'Neill, current School Board member, 12 years. Maintain
district buildings, and gain revenue from leased building space
(last year's revenue was $200,000). He advocate for practical
improvement solutions, including those which have advantage the
2. Joan Weideman, current School Board member, 8 years. Improve
educator professional development, co-chair of Measure N parcel
tax, supports supplementary for music and
arts grant funding, also advocates at State level.
3. Kalimah Salahuddin, President/founder "Saving Pacifica Schools", member of "special
education" advisory committee to the school board. Improve and accountability. She supports "special education"
as education (not separate), also advocates at State level.
4. Richard Faust ,
Saving Pacifica Schools. Other leadership and advocacy is unknown
to me, he was not able to attend this forum.
signature comments. "We are committed to kids...and working together"
(Mike O'Neill). "What are the challenges,
and how do we make it right?" (Joan Weideman),
"Get parents involved, work as a unit (not piecemeal)"
My observation and viewpoint. This forum was almost as
inspiring as "church", while avoiding all the hugs. All 3
candidates who participated are a huge credit to our community, to
be admired for their essential child advocacy and foundational
work. This forum was one of the best
I've seen in Pacifica, made better by the school district
budget/financial and candidate judgment questions poised by
moderator Barbara Arietta. Re-election
of Mike O'Neill and Joan Weideman "accountable incumbents" is an
easy choice. I also liked Kalimah Salahuddin, she may be my 3rd
vote. Hopefully we will also hear from Richard Faust.
Other Elementary School Board Candidates Forums you may wish to
September 20th, 2010, Sunset Ridge Elementary School, 340 Inverness
Drive, 7pm to 9pm:
September 30th, 2010, Cabrillo School, 601 Drive, 7pm to
Posted by Kathy Meeh