CUSD Board Elections – Voter Compass and AMA (Ask-Me-Anything)
Voter Compass and AMA
As a service to the parent community, the admins of the CUSD Parents Group on Nextdoor crowd-sourced questions for the upcoming CUSD Board election in November, 2022. Questions were then aggregated, consolidated, and vetted by all the administrators of the group. The admins represent a diverse group of CUSD parents, community leaders, committee members, PTA and PTSA board members, and volunteers.
We reached out to all of the candidates and received responses from all, but Ava Chiao who pointed us to her website. As Ava chose not to engage with the parents of the district and declined a recent High School student-run candidates forum, we are not sure if she should be considered a serious candidate (borrowing an analogy from the Mercury news).
We and on behalf of all parents appreciate the time and effort that Darcy, Satheesh, and Jerry spent in answering parent questions in great detail. These questions are not easy and we do make each candidate choose on a sliding scale where they stand. We hope that this compass and AMA will help you to make a decision and elect the representatives that will have the best interest of our children.
Three seats on the Cupertino Union School District school board are up for general election on November 8, 2022. See the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) website for details. There are 4 candidates total for 3 positions. 2 candidates are incumbents and 2 are new.
|Question||Darcy Paul||Satheesh Madhathil (Incumbent)||Jerry Liu (Incumbent)||Ava Chiao|
|Education||Harvard College, 1999 (A.B.); Harvard Law School, 2003 (J.D.)||Cornell University, Master of Engineering ’92, Bachelor of Science ’91||UC Santa Cruz, Masters of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Science in Biology|
|Occupation||Attorney; Currently Councilmember and Mayor in Cupertino||Engineering Leader||Director of Software Engineering||High School Teacher (East San Jose)|
|Connection with CUSD||We have an eight-year-old (second grade) and a ten-year-old (fifth grade) in CUSD||Board member, Volunteer, Faria and Kennedy PTA President||Two daughters attended Lincoln Elementary, Kennedy Middle from Kindergarten to eighth grade;|
Volunteered in classroom and computer labs, organized activities such as Book Fair and Science Fair;
Served on Lincoln PTA Board in various roles including President;
Served on Lincoln School Site Council as Chair;
Served on Kennedy Middle PTA Board as Executive VP;
Prior to joining the board in 2018, served on District Advisory Committee, Parent Advisory Committee, Superintendent Search Advisory Committee
|No children and no connection to CUSD|
|Experience in public office||Currently on the Cupertino City Council and serving as Mayor.||Board member since 2018||Currently serving on CUSD Board of Education;|
Cupertino Library Commission, including two terms as Chair;
Cupertino Planning Commission
|Experience managing large organizations||I’ve been Mayor of Cupertino in 2018, 2021 and currently in 2022. Prior to this, I was Board President of the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce, where my priorities were stabilizing the organization following a recession (I joined in 2010), and outreach to the community.||Over 15 years in Technology companies||Professionally, I work at a large tech company managing an organization of over 150 software engineers located across four continents, with multiple levels of management reporting into me.||No experience|
|Campaign website (link)||darcypaul.org||satheesh4cusd.com||jerryliu.com||avachiao.org|
Below are the responses of the candidates. As noted above, the 4th candidate, Ava Chiao declined participation.
CUSD should measure parent satisfaction with the district and the schools on a regular basis and the Superintendent’s performance should be linked to it.
CUSD should invest more in support and creation of alternative schools catering to the diverse needs of the parents in the district.
Provided a large number of immigrant parents in CUSD, the district should advocate to allow non-citizen parents to vote in the board elections.
CUSD should convert closed schools into housing to generate additional revenue for the district.
As enrollment continues to decline, CUSD should prepare to close more schools.
If more schools need to be closed, CUSD should prioritize saving alternative schools (Faria, Chinese Language Immersion) over neighborhood schools.
CUSD should increase teacher salaries to the level above that of neighboring districts to retain talent in lieu of student programs.
School choice is going to make public education stronger and ultimately benefit CUSD.
CUSD should invest in a farm-to-table program to improve the quality of the school food, even if that means additional expenses and/or funds taken from other programs.
CUSD should reduce the number of administrators in the districts to bring down the admin : student ratio.
CUSD should reduce the class sizes from the current levels, even if that means raising additional funds from the community.
CUSD needs to substantially improve transparency and quality of communications to restore trust with parents and the community.
The new CUSD board should make it a policy to continue board meetings and accept public comments in hybrid mode, where both in-person and online attendance is possible.
CUSD should introduce health safety requirements above and beyond what the state and the county require (COVID vaccine mandates for all students, mask mandates).
CUSD parents should make up the majority of all CUSD committees and task forces.
CUSD board should put on the ballot a term limit for board members.
CUSD schools should increase the amount of homework to improve academic performance.
CUSD should remove some advanced math pathways to make education equitable for all students.
CUSD should promote SEL (social-emotional learning) classes at the expense of the core instructional minutes.
CUSD should prioritize DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) work and incorporate anti-racist education in the curriculum.
CUSD should publish supplemental materials used by teachers.
CUSD should offer more Middle School electives such as Computer Science even if that means additional expenses and/or funds are taken from other programs.
CUSD should balance access to electives across all middle schools.
To improve access to mental health, CUSD should prioritize funding for counselors, psychologists and mental health therapists and define a specific counselor : student ratio.
New CUSD board should raise funds from the community via a new parcel tax and/or new bond measure.
CUSD should fund art and music programs in elementary schools from the general fund and not rely on parents’ donations.
CUSD should reduce its expenses by at least 10% without reducing the quality of education.
Any final comments?