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Sacramento County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Greg A. Paulo

Candidate for
Board Member; San Juan Unified School District

This information is provided by the candidate

Greg Paulo is an experienced teacher with a passion for education. He understands education and what students and teachers need to guarantee success. He led both boys and girls to victory in athletics and the past eight years has been instrumental in leading the district back to academic excellence and premier educational status. As a retired teacher and coach, he has demonstrated the energy and the time to devote to our school district.

Testing and accountability are watch words in education today. Though standardized tests are by no means the only measurement of student success, it is one way of holding students, teachers, and schools accountable in addressing the California Common Core State Standards. Accountability is further enhanced through a wide scope approach to measuring teacher effectiveness. Included should be peer and administrative observations, student interviews, and self evaluation. Parents also play a role in accountablity. They must actively participate in ensuring student success by insisting on regular attendance, homework completion, attendance of study/tutorial groups and keeping communication with the school as a two way endeavor. My focus is equitable funding, ensuring that all children have equal opportunity. We need to focus on the students, teachers, and schools that require the most support and make sure that they are adequately funded to ensure student success. We'll continue to partnership with the San Juan Teachers Association and community with the goal to close the achievment gap. We've expanded our CTE program along with $40 million of facilities improvements at San Juan High School and are committed to a new redesign effort at Encina High School with the acquisition of a $3.6 million grant. We'll be expanding the successful Advanced Pathways program at Encina and San Juan High Schools.

San Juan is a district that is experiencing declining enrollment. The district must encourage students to enroll by offering alternative opportunities. These programs must include college preparatory tracks, career technical education, agriculture/FFA, arts, athletics and music. We've instituted a dual immersion program at Edison Elementary and full day Kinder at many of our elementary sites. The IB program instituted at Mira Loma High School and since expanded to the middle school attracts students from both within and outside of the district.

Since Measure J passed, the district has addressed many of the immediate needs of the schools focusing primarily on internet access with broadband and wireless capability and heating/air-conditioning. Many of our school sites are more than forty years old. Considering this, we've worked first to upgrade those sites to ensure our students remain competitive with other districts. Secondly, we are working to improve the aesthetics of the buildings and make individual sites a place that students and teachers can be proud of. In that regard many new paving and landscape projects are complete with others on the drawing board. Major projects completed in addition to the facility improvements at San Juan High School include new second gymnasiums at Mesa Verde and Del Campo high schools and a new library classroom complex at Mesa Verde.

Once the district addresses the declining enrollment and facilities concerns will we be able to avoid closing schools. I understand that neighborhood schools offer much more than an education to your child. Schools are a community unto themselves. Choice is a long standing community demanded policy in San Juan. There is a strong nationwide movement toward 6-8 middle schools. The 6th grade middle school option enhances choice and is characteristic of a stronger academic program. At schools with a viable 6th grade program the community can choose to keep it. Community choice might also be to fold an existing 6th grade into a K-8 configuration if the existing facility can accomodate it. The broad community trend, however, is to embrace a 6-8 middle school configuration. We can drive programs to better utilize existing facilities without closing them. The savings realized from closing an elementary school don't compare favorably with keeping the facility open with viable programs. A vacant site is a magnet for vandalism and thus costs. If we can sell a site at market value closure is feasible, but state law make that very difficult. Examples of growing and/or creating programs are full day Kinder, advanced pathways, elementary IB and dual immersion. Such programs provide the opportunity to increase enrollment. I will do everything to ensure that school closures are considered only as a last resort as we endeavor to find expanded and new uses for our facilities.

I'll continue to offer a reasoned and thoughful approach to new perspectives and ideas to address the serious issues that confront SJUSD. As a leader in the community, I'll focus on solutions, ask the tough questions and demand answers and accountability. We will give district residents true value for their taxes by making the San Juan bureaucracy lean and trim. We are in an era of extreme economic pressures. Our district, thus far has weathered the storm much more favorably than most districts in the region. San Juan will face economic conditions as a result of the new state funding formula (LCFF). We will strive to in San Juan Unified School District to maintain a level of excellence that each of its stakeholders deserves. I look foward to the opportunity to provide reasoned, significant and positive leadership to the district.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 16, 2014 18:42
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