Mark Good has served on the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees for nearly 12 years and wants to continue to work on education issues with what he believes has been a good and effective team of board colleagues.An attorney and retired Gilroy police sergeant, the incumbent served one four-year term after being first elected in 1996 and did not run in 2000. He ran and won re-election in 2008 and 2012.Good is one of a trio of candidates actively seeking three seats on the GUSD board. A fourth, Paul Nadeau, withdrew from the contest but his name is on the ballot.Nadeau has said he will resign if he is one of the top three vote getters. If that happens, the board will appoint an interim member who may run for election in 2018. It does not have to be the fourth-place finisher.The election comes at a time when trustees are poised to begin $170 million in Measure E building projects, are struggling with somewhat improved but still lackluster test scores and are battling a lawsuit over the districtís decision in 2014 to not fire a teacher now accused of sexual misconduct that targeted students.Good’s and Pace’s profiles are in today’s edition. Candidate BC Doyle’s profile was published last week.Each candidate was asked to respond to three questions. Each was given a 700-word limit but could submit less.Good, 58, is the father and stepfather of five children who went to Gilroy schools. He is a former GUSD board president and supported Measure E.He is a partner and member of the intellectual property, commercial law and real estate litigation practice groups at Terra Law LLP in San Jose.Asked why he is running, he said, “Essentially I think we have turned the district around in a lot of ways. A lot of good things are happening. The board I was on in the ’90s did not work nearly as well as the current board.”Here are the questions posed to each candidate and Good’s responses: DISPATCH: What are some of your specific goals if elected and how would you achieve them? Please discuss your three top priority goals.GOOD: My top three goals are 1) reducing the achievement gap; 2) further reducing the dropout rate; and 3) ensuring the safety of our students and staff.In GUSD, English Language Learners (ELL) represent almost 30 percent of the student population. We have a variety of initiatives in place to help ELLs and are currently in the third year of a master plan for services to English learners. It starts with identification, assessment and proper program placement followed up with appropriate instruction in English language development appropriate to the student. We have made significant improvements in this area and need to continue our forward momentum until the gap is closed.Since my election to the board in 2008, the dropout rate has been reduced from a high point of 26 percent in 2008 to 7.5 percent in 2015. For the first time, we also now have a program administrator who is responsible for school climate and district attendance. Students who do not attend school regularly are much more prone to drop out. This is an area which has to be constantly monitored.When I first ran for the board in 1996, I ran on a platform of increasing school safety. I was compelled to run after a student was fatally stabbed at Gilroy High School. Since that time, the high school campus was closed and security fences have been erected at all schools. Safe school locks have been installed at all secondary schools and additional locking devices were purchased for our elementary schools. We have worked closely with the police department while implementing all of these changes, and for the first time this year, we now have two full-time school resource officers assigned to the district. While some are at or near state averages and others show some improvement, in almost all categories Gilroy’s state test scores are below minimum state standards. This was true in recent and past rounds of tests. What will you do to improve test scores? Fundamentally, the assertion that our test scores “are below minimum state standards” is incorrect. Based on the overall CAASPP data, the district is actually at or above the state average depending on the area.In this second year of the new Smarter Balanced assessment system, scores across the state, and across the country are significantly lower than on previous (paper and pencil) assessments.In 2016, GUSD made growth in both English language arts and math, as compared to 2015 (6 percent point increase in ELA, and a 3 percent point increase in math). The district matched the overall state performance in ELA (49 percent met or exceeded standard) and continues to rank above the state in mathematics (In GUSD 40 percent met or exceeded standard).Santa Clara county tends to score much higher than the state in most academic areas, but much of this is due to the fact that Santa Clara County has very different demographics than much of the state of California.While GUSD’s overall CAASPP scores are below the county average, when looking at subgroup data, Gilroy was at or above the county average in many significant subgroups on the 2016 CAASPP results. In particular, Hispanic students in both ELA and math, and socio-economically disadvantaged students in math. GUSD made growth at all seven grade levels in ELA. GUSD made growth at six of the seven grade levels in mathematics.GUSD compared favorably to neighboring school districts in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. Gilroy’s public charter school, Gilroy Prep, has consistently been one of the highest scoring schools in the state in key categories and grades tested. Should GP’s methods be mandatory in all GUSD elementary schools and why or why not?Many of GP’s methods are not permitted under the Education Code and/or collective bargaining agreements. We have implemented some of the same instructional practices, for example use of the MOBI, grouping students for small group reading instruction and using some of the same texts. However, there are many differences as we cannot replicate due to inadequate funding and the Education Code. Some major differences that we cannot implement include iPads and other technology in every classroom at a 1:1 ratio for students, highly trained para-professionals that teach in place of teachers which we are not permitted to do (effectively reducing the class size ratio), and a longer school day. There are also two or three instructional coaches just at GP (which is what we have for eight elementary schools). The bottom line is that they receive more funding than we do and do not have to abide by union contracts, providing more flexibility in how they offer programs and services.
James Pace is running for a second four-year term on the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees.The father of two GUSD students, a high schooler and a middle schooler, his involvement in education began at the parent club level and as a volunteer at his children’s schools and has continued, he said, as way to give back to the community.Pace is one of three candidates actively seeking three seats on the seven-member board that makes policy for the city’s largest employer.A fourth, Paul Nadeau, withdrew from the contest but his name is on the ballot.Nadeau has said he will resign if he is one of the top three vote getters. If that happens, the board will appoint an interim member who may run for election in 2018. It does not have to be the fourth-place finisher.The election comes at a time when trustees are poised to begin $170 million in Measure E building projects, are struggling with somewhat improved but still lackluster test scores and are battling a lawsuit over the district’s decision in 2014 to not fire a teacher now accused of sexual misconduct that targeted students.Pace’s profile and that of incumbent candidate Mark Good are in today’s edition. Candidate BC Doyle’s profile was published last week.Each candidate was asked to respond to three questions. Each was given a 700-word limit but could submit less.Pace, 44, supported Measure E and is director of future planning for a Morgan Hill real estate development firm.His high school daughter is a student representative to the school board.Asked why he is running, he said, “The district has been very good to my children, they have had great opportunities and experiences and it has been very rewarding for them.”Being on the board, he said, “is a chance to give back and to keep the good things happening and [the district] going forward.”Here are the questions posed to each candidate and Pace’s responses: DISPATCH: What are some of your specific goals if elected and how would you achieve them? Please briefly discuss your three top priority goals.PACE: The number one goal of the District is to increase academic performance, including closing the achievement gap. We need to continue to implement programs proven to build strong academic foundations in students, such as SEAL. In addition, our academic standards are much more rigorous now, so we must ensure that we provide support to ensure student success. I will keep pushing the district forward.It is critical that we keep our fiscal house in order. We are funded seemingly at the whim of the state, and good economic times can change quickly. If Proposition 55 fails or another recession hits, there could be significant cuts to our budget. Since I joined the board, we set a policy to increase rainy day reserves, and we have built that reserve, while simultaneously making our employee packages more competitive, with a balanced budget. I will continue this economic stewardship.Thanks to the people of Gilroy’s commitment to education, Measure E was approved this year. This gives the district the resources necessary to build a new elementary school, renovate South Valley and Brownell Middle Schools, as well as complete other necessary projects throughout the district. If Proposition 51 passes, our local funds will go much further. As a member of the district’s facilities subcommittee, I will work to ensure projects are designed within budget and happen on time. While some are at or near state averages and others show some improvement, in almost all categories Gilroy’s state test scores are below minimum state standards. This was true in recent and past rounds of tests. What will you do to improve test scores?I reject the assertion that the district’s scores are “below minimum state standards.” Our CAASPP scores are at or above the statewide average, and we compare favorably to county averages in a number of significant subgroups. And Gilroy’s scores are growing.Of course, I want our scores to increase more. The district is devoting significant resources to ensuring that students are familiar with the online test format and are able to process the new types of questions, and I support adding needed training and technology for this. A reworking of the math curriculum has happened, a shift to next-generation science standards is coming soon, and a plan for replacing textbooks is being implemented; all these changes and more should cause test scores to continue to climb.However, one test should not be the single measure of the quality of our schools. By many metrics, our district is doing well. The graduation rate is up; the dropout rate is down. Advanced Placement options have doubled in recent years. Meeting University of California entrance requirements is now the default for students. Opportunities abound to be parts of specialized programs, such as the Bioscience Academy, the Spanish/English Dual Immersion program, FFA, gifted and talented programs, and GECA, our highly ranked high school on the Gavilan College campus. The community service requirement is producing young people who understand the value in giving back. There are many career technical education offerings, teaching skills such as metalworking, computer programming, biotechnology, auto maintenance, and culinary arts. We have music options at all levels, including choir from fourth grade up and band from fifth grade up. Students shine in the wonderful theater and visual arts programs. A wide variety of sports and athletic options are available. District programs focused on school climate are creating welcoming environments where students can comfortably be themselves without fear. Teachers and staff are dedicated professionals. Our campuses are safe, secure, and well maintained.I am very proud to be a parent of two Gilroy Unified students, and glad for all the opportunities my children have had. Their experiences have been much more than the score on one test.Gilroy’s public charter school, Gilroy Prep, has consistently been one of the highest scoring schools in the state in key categories and grades tested. Should GP’s methods be mandatory in all GUSD elementary schools and why or why not?GPS has done well on state standardized tests, and their team has been generous with sharing their successful strategies. The district has made regular visits to see their program in action, and one school has a strong working relationship with GPS, where good ideas are passed back and forth. I think this partnership between the district and GPS is valuable, and I hope it continues. Some of their practices are not appropriate or possible at Gilroy Unified schools, for a variety of reasons, including funding, differences in the law, and staffing-related issues.
Eligible Santa Clara County residents who have not registered to vote in the November 8, 2016 Presidential General Election can take advantage of special extended hours today to ensure that they will be able to cast a ballot. The Registrar of Voters’ Office will remain open until 8:00 p.m. today for those who wish to complete their voter registration forms. Today is the last day to register to vote. Voters can also register online at www.sccvote.org. Online registration must be completed before midnight in order to meet the deadline. Alternatively, voters can sign and return paper registration forms by mail; forms that are postmarked today will be accepted. Paper registration forms are available at post offices, public libraries, fire stations, city halls, and most local government offices. “We hope that all eligible residents of Santa Clara County register to vote before today’s deadline, and then cast their ballot on or before Election Day. Turnout in the last presidential general election was about 80%. We would love to have an even higher voter turnout this November,” said Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey. Voters should complete a new registration form if they have moved, changed a name, or would like to change their political party preference. To register to vote in Santa Clara County, a voter must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old on or before Election Day, a Santa Clara County resident and not imprisoned or on parole for a felony. Voters who would like to check their registration status may do so at Check Your Registration Status. Voters may also request to vote by mail for this election at Request a Vote by Mail Ballot, or they may request to become permanent Vote by Mail voters at Permanent Vote by Mail. Postage is prepaid on all Vote by Mail ballots in Santa Clara County. For more information, contact the Registrar of Voters’ Office at 1-408-299-VOTE (8683) or toll-free at 1-866-430-VOTE (8683), or visit www.sccvote.org.
A candidate has dropped out of the race for three seats on the Gilroy school board but missed the deadline for removal, so his name will be on the ballot.
“The need for affordable housing in this county and Gilroy in particular is tremendous,” began Jennifer Loving, the director of Destination: Home, the San Jose-based nonprofit that has successfully championed housing-first solutions for the region’s homeless and is one of nearly 100 organizations across the county that have endorsed Measure A.The $950 million bond would fund affordable housing in the county, and was unanimously placed on the ballot by the county Board of Supervisors as a way to mitigate the region’s housing crisis by freeing up money for the acquisition or improvement of real property and first-time homebuyer programs.A countywide poll conducted earlier this year found two-thirds of likely voters would support a measure that built affordable and supportive housing for homeless, seniors, low-income families and other vulnerable populations.At last count in 2015, there were 439 homeless residents in Gilroy, up from 379 two years earlier.Gilroy Mayor Perry Woodward, who endorses the measure and is one of more than 130 individuals across the county to do so, said the way Measure A funds are used is largely up to the community.“It allows flexibility for cities to devise their own course on how they spend the money,” he said, adding that the money toward supportive housing for the city’s homeless would help address public safety issues as well, resulting in fewer quality-of-life calls fielded by Gilroy police.“We can focus a lot more on community policing,” he said.The $950 million in general obligation bonds would result in $700 million to be spent on the county’s most vulnerable populations, including supportive housing for the homeless; $100 million for low-income families; and $150 million for working families and first-time homebuyer programs.The annual cost over 30 years to property owners would be about $12.60 per $100,000 in assessed property value, according to the San JoseMercury News this summer.Thanks in large part to the advocacy work done by Loving and support from county representatives who spearheaded a housing task force that spurred the measure, there has been momentum in recent years to find lasting solutions to chronic homelessness and home insecurity in a region with rising home prices and a housing supply that cannot keep pace with increasing demand.At Monday’s City Council meeting, a five-member council (Cat Tucker and Roland Velasco were absent) voiced its support for the measure, with Councilman Peter Leroe-Muñoz saying the monies set aside for first time homebuyer programs would help the young workers who flock to Silicon Valley technology companies, many of whom he is in direct contact with during his day job as Vice-President of Technology & Innovation Policy for the industry lobby group, Silicon Valley Leadership Group.“We are in a housing crisis,” said Loving. “Here is a solution.”Measure A needs a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
Voters will weigh in on whether they like the state of education and local schools when they choose in November from four candidates for three seats on the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees.
In the first district election in its nearly 100-year history, two candidates are vying for the one contested seat on the Gavilan Joint Community College District Board of Trustees.
The bizarre events of December 2015 will be long etched in Gilroy’s political history. Mayor Don Gage stunned the city by resigning without warning a year before his term ended, effectively handing the reins to his political ally, Perry Woodward. The handoff allowed Woodward to run as an incumbent—but not before the duo pushed through approval of a massive farmland annexation that would have, along with other planned developments, made Gilroy one of the Bay Area’s biggest cities—a sprawling urban mass of 120,000 residents, more than double the city’s population today.