Moraga is well known for its strong schools. My wife, Pat, and I came to Moraga 35 years ago specifically for the schools, which our 4 children attended. I was elected to the Moraga School Board in 1998. I bring 14 years of solid experience in education finance, policy and process. It would be a privilege and an honor to serve the Moraga School District and the Moraga community for the next 4 years.
The Moraga School District is in the top 1% of elementary school districts in California. Over the years, we have all worked hard to achieve this, with input and resources from many stakeholders. We have solid curricula in all our schools, programs for at risk students, technology for all. Parents volunteer both in class and outside of class. MEF and PTA provide significant financial support. Our teachers teach at the highest levels and are actively involved in a broad range of extracurricular activities for students. Staff provides strong infrastructure, from finance to facilities, textbooks to technology, and libraries to playgrounds. Our special needs students and English Language learners are an integral part of our planning, never an afterthought. I am proud to have been a part of this for the past 14 years.
The Moraga School District is faced with limited financial resources, mainly because of the reduction in state funding of education. The District has "lost" over $9 million in revenue from the state over the past 5 years, or approximately 10% per year on a budget of $16 million/year. The District has managed to maintain a quality education program, largely due to: prudent financial management, the existing parcel tax, and the generosity of the Moraga community and parents. We have made cuts when necessary, as far away from the classroom as possible. Unfortunately, we are getting closer to the classroom now. Our District, like many other school districts, are forced to rely on local support from and fund-raising in the community, and this will continue to make the difference for us. My goal is to provide the District with responsible fiscal oversight, so that the District can continue to provide a quality education program, in the face of severe fiscal constraints.
We should all want our children to do well at activities they love and enjoy. We want them to reach their maximum potentials. It may be in academics, or it may be in other areas. We need to provide both a sound education as well the opportunity to experience, enjoy, and succeed in other endeavors. I have had the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing and supporting what the Moraga School District offers, including great music and art programs, cooking classes, competitive and noncompetitive sports, technology, and leadership classes.
The world is changing, society is changing, and the workplace is changing. We need innovation and we need 21st century learning skills, not just to keep up, but to lead. In this global economy, our children need contemporary skills, the ability to think globally, creatively, and effectively. Our children need to develop good communication skills, critical thinking skills, and team-building skills.
Moraga has a reputation for being a safe community. This needs to and must include the school environment. Student safety is of the highest priority for the Moraga School District. There are laws, policies, and programs to maximize student safety. The District has gone one step further, with its School Safety Committee, a standing Board committee, consisting of parent, community, teacher, and district representatives. While it is not possible to control the actions of every person, whether a student (bullying) or an adult (child abuse), every effort is being made to provide a safe environment. I understand the issues and the concerns, and student safety will continue to be of the highest priority for me.
Moraga also has a reputation for strong schools. This means a positive teaching and learning environment and culture. My goal is to have a school district that educates all children to their maximum potentials, provides opportunities for all children to enjoy and value learning, and finally, helps all children to become life-long learners.