A special interest group continues to promote their own personal agenda and has filed paperwork to begin the process of recalling two of our board members, Phil Rodriguez and Judy McGooden. Specifically, these individuals have targeted the superintendent’s actions to balance resources throughout the district. This action by these individuals is irresponsible and potentially very destructive for the Soquel School District. Conducting a special board election will cost our district approximately $70,000 or more in funds that could be better used to support student programs. Furthermore, the current superintendent has announced his retirement and given the complexities in the hiring of a new superintendent, this special interest group (who is pushing for a recall) will damage the recruitment of a highly successful superintendent for our district.
The hiring of a superintendent is a process that may encumber up to eight months of work. Throughout this time, community involvement is one of the highest priorities in the gathering of information for the development of professional and character traits that will be incorporated into the job description. To be successful during the recruitment of a new superintendent, it will require our entire community to work together collaboratively and to be proactive in marketing our district. This will encourage dynamic leaders to apply for the position of superintendent. When a superintendent is considering a position, he or she will invest a significant amount of time in the area of board relationships and community dynamics. This is one of the highest priorities that an experienced and proven superintendent will immediately evaluate before considering this position. Our children deserve to have an innovative leader who is able to expand upon the following accomplishments that have occurred under the leadership of the Soquel School District Board of Trustees: Phil Rodriguez, Judy McGooden, Sandra Wallace, Tory Del Favero and Amanda Jackson Miller.
The Soquel School District Board of Trustees has implemented fiscal strategies that have resulted in guaranteeing all of our children (2,050) with new Common Core instructional materials. The cost of the Common Core materials for all students is hundreds of thousands of dollars. Under the Board’s leadership our district created an excellent partnership with the Cotsen Foundation that has resulted in the investment of $450,000 for professional staff development. Given this investment, our teachers are some of the most highly trained teachers in our entire county.
In working with the City of Capitola, our board members approved a new partnership that resulted in the district acquiring a multi-million dollar facility (gymnasium) at no cost. The relationship with the City of Capitola is excellent and both entities continue to seek partnerships that will result in a win-win approach for both the District and the community of Capitola.
The Board of Trustees has also been forward thinkers and has embraced 21st Century skills for our students and teachers. This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars being invested in the area of technology. In addition, Soquel School District is the only district in our county that has launched a math program, Elevate, which prepares students for Algebra at the 8th grade level.
This dynamic program is being embraced throughout Silicon Valley and we are very fortunate to have board members who are willing to be innovative and to think “outside of the box.”
Several years ago the Board of Trustees established employee compensation as one of their highest priorities. By taking proactive cost containment steps, the District has been able to provide our employees’ salary increases for the past two years. Our district’s financial budget will also enable us to increase our employee salaries in the near future. In addition, Board leadership has resulted in saving our local taxpayers one million dollars in general obligation bond payments.
Given the accomplishments of our Board of Trustees and given that Soquel School District is an outstanding educational environment for teachers, staff, parents and most importantly our students, it is unfortunate that a special interest group has chosen to create havoc for their own personal agenda. There will be a general election in November 2016, for individuals who wish to become a trustee of the district.
That is the appropriate time for the community to make their wishes known. A recall election should be reserved for egregious misuse of board responsibilities and this has not happened. You are encouraged not to sign the board recall petition of this special interest group.