1. Long-Term Financial Stability
We need to be aggressive, creative, and tenacious in bringing revenues and expenses into balance and providing long-term financial stability for our district. State-mandated increases in pension contributions and Proposition 13-related regulations pose significant challenges. Although recent budget cuts and a new parcel tax have reduced our deficit, we have only three years of runway to figure out long-term, sustainable solutions.
With my 20+ year investment career, I have extensive experience assessing financial plans and advising senior management. My recent roles in the district have provided me with a deep understanding of our district’s finances:
Finance and Audit Committee of the MPCSD Board (2016-present), Vice Chair (2017-present) — I have worked closely with the district’s chief business officer to develop a new long-term financial planning methodology, reviewed annual budgets, and provided input when the district evaluated strategic options to address its structural deficit.
Advisory Board to the Measure X Parcel Tax Campaign (2017) — I provided strategic advice to the campaign co-chairs, helped develop some of the campaign’s key messaging points and materials, and served as the campaign’s point person on financial topics.
There is no silver bullet to our financial challenges. Any good solution will require sacrifices from all parts of the community — parents, teachers and administrators, and taxpayers. It will demand constant efforts to control expenditures and take advantage of all local, state, and federal funding options that are available to us. I intend to work with district leadership to pursue both the short-term steps required to balance the district’s budget and pursue the best long-term options to address our financial constraints — all with an eye toward achieving long-term financial stability that fully funds the quality of educational services that we expect as a community.
2. Improving Educational Quality
We must continue to challenge every student to reach their potential in all subjects, close the achievement gap for underrepresented populations, and create safe and supportive environments where all facets of the child can be engaged and developed.
This is not simply a matter of continuing to set high standards. It demands that district leadership critically assesses our schools and systematically addresses our weaknesses. It calls for strong governance and rigorous oversight from the board: vetting plans and processes, setting timelines and milestones, tracking progress and results through tangible metrics, and constantly re-assessing and course correcting. It involves greater investment of time and resources — in professional development, mentoring and sharing best practices, and meaningful incentives — to continue building an organization and culture that support continuous improvement.
3. Transparency and Accountability
As a school district, we must do a better job of communicating with parents, teachers, and taxpayers so that we can all recognize our successes and work together to tackle our challenges. The current board and leadership have made great strides in recent years, and I intend to continue those efforts and focus on facilitating a two-way dialogue with the community around the district’s key issues and initiatives.