Friday, October 15, 2010

Pacifica Elementary School District Candidates - Meet Kalimah Salahuddin

Text and picture from online  Pacifica Tribune online 10/14/10.

The Pacifica Tribune sent questionnaires to all four Pacifica School District Board candidates. Their responses are published in their entirety.

1. What is your background, training and experience that qualifies you to manage the affairs of the Pacifica School District.?Please include your occupation and any personal information you would like to share. Why are you running?  I am running because I am passionate about our public education system. Education is the great equalizer between the races, between the classes. And we are allowing the State of California to slowly destroy what was once the greatest public education system in the nation. Our children deserve better than what the State is providing. That is why I am proud to live in Pacifica. As a community we have come together to pass the parcel tax, the PTAs and PTOs have worked so hard to fill in the gaps left by the budget and the Pacifica Education Foundation has kept the educational process moving forward with the hiring of a 21st Century Learning Coach. With the changing times it is not enough to learn your ABCs and 123s. You have to be able to fit into a global economy to be successful. This is why I volunteer as a member of the Sunset Ridge PTA even though my own children have now moved on to Ingrid B Lacy and El Camino High School. This is why I founded Saving Pacifica Schools, a political action committee that lobbies on behalf of our District at the local and State level, and this is why I would like to become a member of the Pacifica School Board. To continue to fight for what we have all worked so hard to preserve, a quality education for all children in our city.have to be able to fit into a global economy to be successful.

2.  How can we make sure that positions that are eliminated, when brought back, will be filled by those who have lost their jobs in the district?  The budget is an ongoing issue. Every year the District has been forced to make cuts and we can no longer keep those cuts out of the classroom. I believe contracts require the District to offer any reinstated position first to those that were laid off. Children thrive on stability and continuity. We want to make sure that we continue to provide a safe and familiar place to educate our students even in tough financial times. So making sure that we bring back teachers and staff that were laid off is a priority.

3.  What would you consider unwise parcel tax expenditures?  First I would like to thank the citizens of Pacifica for passing the parcel tax. The District would be bankrupt now without those funds. Any expenditure made that does not fall into the guidelines for which the parcel tax was passed would be unwise. We want to make sure that our community feels that it made the correct decision in choosing to invest in our children's education, the future of Pacifica.

4.  What are the major issues facing the Pacifica School District?  The budget is an ongoing issue. The State is no where near fixing its fiscal woes, and cuts will have to be made. The current board, teachers, staff and administrators have done an excellent job in maintaining the level of education in the ongoing budget crisis. I want to continue working collaboratively with our PTA/Os, community and neighboring school districts in trying to find creative ways to continue this trend. On the other hand, we can only hold this together for so long. That is why I will continue to lobby and educate our local and State legislature to end the cuts and adequately fund public education. The other issue that is very important to me is Special Education. We have come a long way in providing a comprehensive program for all students regardless of mental or physical capacity. We still have work to do. Students in special education are the last group in America to suffer imposed segregation. They are transported in separate buses and they are educated in separate buildings away from the rest of the student population. There are schools in Pacifica, such as Ocean Shore, that have great inclusion programs. Still, the decision on inclusion for students with disabilities is left up to each individual school. This practice does a disservice to both sets of students. Part of a well-rounded education is learning how to work and live with people with differences. If elected I would like to work on a Strategic Plan that incorporates inclusion district wide. As a mother of a son with autism this is a very personal issue for me.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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