Board of Education candidate Ron Mooney
Board of Education candidate Ron Mooney
Incumbent – elected in 2008. As a parent of two children attending public school in Alameda (elementary and high) and a third in college, I am passionate about public education. I have a proven track record and experience supporting education. I earned the National Lifetime Achievement Award during over 12 years with PTAs, and I serve with non-profits such as AEF. Furthermore, my AUSD and business experience give me a unique perspective on providing leadership, as well as redesigning our schools to be accountable, effective and efficient in the years and decades ahead.
If elected, what would be your top three priorities?
Increasing rigor, accountability and implementation of the Master Plan.
What would you do to encourage harmony between the school board, school district administrators and teachers?
By creating deep and honest communication, explaining our relative views and listening to understand. We need to do this in a professional and respectful manner, and hopefully agree to joint announcements on our progress. I know that we have common goals. I hope we can clear up any miscommunications and increase our understandings of all the needs and desires, which would then lead to agreements.
The district recently released a facilities report that outlined $92 million in needed facility fixes. How would you address these needs?
We need to receive and review the Phase II report which will give us specific details and prioritized projects. We then will need to review the priorities and break the total need into manageable projects to be done over the coming years. Creating and managing a long term plan is crucial to prevent ‘emergency’ repairs from developing with much higher cost to handle for our district.
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?
It is well documented that the State does not fund our schools appropriately, we are underfunded. We have already asked Alamedans to tax themselves, which they have stepped up and done many times, including last year (Measure A). I urge all to vote for Propositions 30 and 38 to prevent further major cuts to K-12 education across the State, including here in Alameda. In the long run, I hope we are successful with the Robles-Wong lawsuit against the state to create a rational and fair funding structure for our schools. We continue to look for partnerships to help support our programs, but need to work within the state funding and Measure A.
What services should Alameda’s schools provide, and what services do you believe every Alameda student is entitled to?
Our schools should provide a rigorous education for all students so they may achieve their personal best and be career and/or college ready when graduating from one of our high schools.
How do you view the challenges and/or opportunities posed by charter schools?
Supporting public education for all of Alameda’s children is my goal as a Board member. We need to provide appropriate facilities and support for our charter schools and perform our oversight duties for each school as well.
Would you propose to compete with charters and private schools in order to retain students, and if so, how?
We need to demonstrate to the community what wonderful teachers, schools and classrooms we have across the district. By inviting all stakeholders to see the fabulous work happening every day, layout in clear detail the goals, strategies and results our teachers, staff, families and students are achieving, as well as the unique environment at each site, I believe we will retain students. We are already showing increased enrollment this year attributed to our low class sizes, our full school year and our excellent results. I believe if we stay focused on all students achievement across the district and consistently report our results we will not only retain our current students we will attract new families to AUSD.
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?
PTAs are separate public organizations whose members set their goals, programs and budgets. When I was on PTA Council years ago we encouraged all PTAs to create partnerships with other PTAs to deeply share knowledge and experiences. Those types of partnerships between PTAs and all community members from across the City need to be encouraged and fostered to raise the PTAs fundraising abilities.
How would you improve the way the school district does business?
We continue to look at ways to improve the District office using 21st century management practices and tools, including best practices from private entities and other school districts. We must continue to create a culture of a service organization, which supports the teachers and staff to increase student achievement at every school.
Supporting each school to strengthen their unique community within the framework to provide every student success requires clear communication, expectations and reflections. By using ‘Cycle of Inquiry’ principles we should support staff at each school to increase our effectiveness and adjust strategies if necessary.