Board of Education candidate Jon Murphy

Board of Education candidate Jon Murphy

Alameda Elections '12
Jon Murphy

Jon Murphy

Instructor at Merritt Community College Oakland

Relevant experience
Teacher for 15 years and Doctor of Educational Leadership

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?
Budget and Spending Accountability with real transparency
Push to Resume Negotiations for Contract between AUSD and AEA
Fight to increase teachers’ salaries equitable to other CA School Districts

What would you do to encourage harmony between the school board, school district administrators and teachers?
I believe teachers and AEA representatives should meet whenever labor issues arise but also regularly, perhaps once per month throughout the year to discuss collated teachers’ concerns and periodic updates about efficacy of pedagogy as a whole system. The Board needs to start Listening to the concerns of the teachers who are in the classrooms everyday and making decisions (as a Board) which are responsive and pertinent to those needs. This is the key to harmony in the District.

I would examining the underlying problems and the motives behind the recent decisions for excessive spending, delays of contract negotiations, and the neglect to raise teachers’ salaries before signing a lease for overpriced Administrative offices and a private full-time attorney.

The district recently released a facilities report that outlined $92 million in needed facility fixes. How would you address these needs?
I would have to look at the line item debits and credits for this accounting. For example prioritization related to safety and efficiency of class room operations needs to be funded before funding posh administrative office furniture. This needs to be clearly outlined so all Board Members understand the decision making process about how priorities of spending is done so all Board Members can understand well enough to be able to explain the process to their public stakeholders. Analysis of how Measure A Funds can be spent is important to understand if it is a possible funding source for facility repairs. After needs for safety is considered priority is next given to rebuilding pedagogy and not waste the funds on non-educational needs. Funding the highest priorities on the established algorithm shall be funded first.

Do you believe Alameda’s schools are underfunded? If so, where would you find the revenue to address this problem? And if not, what do you believe the district’s priorities should be and how would you shift funds in order to address them?
I am not certain at this time but I would like to analyze it deeper, especially after Measure A approval. Priorities of funding should be pre-established to decrease the sway of bias in Board decision making process due to persuasive argumentation promoting only option as the best option before looking at all the facts.

What services should Alameda’s schools provide, and what services do you believe every Alameda student is entitled to?
The service Alameda provides should all be focused on the means to deliver quality education to promote optimal opportunities for success and empowerment of our students in a nonthreatening learning environment where the morale and the enthusiasm for teaching and learning thrives with the teachers and students. Administration and the Board have the responsibility to facilitate this key process.

How do you view the challenges and/or opportunities posed by charter schools?
I think Charter schools are good because they offer alternatives to the existing educational system and I view them as affordable subsidized private schools which arise from community needs.

Would you propose to compete with charters and private schools in order to retain students, and if so, how?
Charter schools arise out of current needs of the community and the learning needs of students and the private schools will have a difficult time competing with this because affordability will be a huge advantage charter schools have over private. Needs based charter schools will likely have less attrition than public schools due to filling those needs and again save families thousands of dollars. However operation costs may be much greater to sustain the Charters from a cost to the District Point of View.

There is a wide disparity among PTA organizations’ ability to support their individual schools in terms of the amount of money each can raise. How would you address this disparity?
The schools with less PTA contributions should be supplemented by AUSD based on need to offer the same or similar amenities to decrease the gap in disparity.

How would you improve the way the school district does business?
We need Increased Transparency and a thorough Pro-and-Con view about all the issues presented at the Board Meetings — before decisions are made.