Three incumbents announce candidacy for school board seats | July 27, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - July 27, 2012

Three incumbents announce candidacy for school board seats

Election could be cancelled if no challengers file by Aug. 10 deadline

by Glenn Wohltmann

All three incumbent Pleasanton school board members have confirmed they will seek reelection this fall as their terms expire, although only Valerie Arkin and Chris Grant had filed paperwork with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters by press time Wednesday afternoon.

The filing deadline is Aug. 10 for the Nov. 6 election, although if no other candidates emerge, the election would be cancelled. The district authorized an election at one of its final meetings of the year.

The school board faces continued tough budget decisions in the coming year as the state grapples with deficits that have severely affected California school districts, including Pleasanton's.

Arkin was elected to her first term on the School Board in November 2008. Her priorities are to improve and maintain the excellent academic programs, ensuring that all students are given the opportunity to reach their maximum potential and fiscal responsibility.

"I consider the best interest of kids in every decision I make. During these challenging economic times, we have to work even harder to maintain our excellent schools with reduced funding from the state," Arkin said, adding that she worked with employees, parents and the community to find ways to keep important educational programs for the children.

"We could not have maintained our excellent educational programs without the support of our employees, parents and community. I appreciate the sacrifices and hard work of teachers, classified staff, administration, parents, businesses and others in the community," she said. "Being fiscally responsible and accountable to the public is vitally important in the role of a governing board member."

Arkin has been a member of the community for nearly 20 years, and was board president in 2011. She has advocated for maintaining and enhancing reading interventions, additional AP and advanced courses, music and the arts, having a student board member, and providing more outreach and communication to the public.

She was involved in the hiring of Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi, serving as liaison between the search firm and the rest of the board, and has been on the Strategic Plan Committee, the Budget Advisory committee, the Board Policies Committee, the Audit Committee, the city of Pleasanton/School Board liaison committee and the Hacienda Task Force.

Arkin is a delegate with the California School Boards Association and recently completed her Master's in Governance Training through the California School Board Association.

In making his reelection announcement, Grant said his desire to continue on the School Board is "rooted in his passion for public education and his numerous years of service to Pleasanton schools." Grant has served more than five years and twice as school board president and is the longest-serving member currently on the board.

Grant said he has extensive governance experience and a long record of Pleasanton community involvement. He is parent of three children in Pleasanton schools and senior vice president of corporate development and investments for Kaiser Permanente.

During his time on the school board, the district increased academic test scores, added new science specialists at each elementary school, increased academic intervention programs in reading, science and math, and maintained important art, music and athletic programs, he pointed out.

"Over the past six years, our School District increased API test scores by 25 points to 906, ranking Pleasanton schools among the best in the state," Grant said. "The addition of full-time science specialists to every elementary school has resulted in California standards scores increasing to 90% proficiency or advanced in science, up from 76% in 2007.

"I firmly believe that Pleasanton schools can continue to excel and perform at the top in state despite a challenging California budgetary situation."

Like Arkin, Grant credited partnerships with teachers, staff and the community.

He also noted that "97% of Pleasanton students pass the California High School Exit Exam on their first attempt in 10th grade, making Pleasanton the envy of many surrounding schools.

"Pleasanton has excelled in math, with a 99% proficiency rate in seventh-grade algebra 1 and 157 students taking geometry in eighth grade, one year ahead of schedule with 100% proficiency scores on the CST," Grant said.

In her announcement seeking reelection, Hintzke, who served as clerk of the school board in 2010-11, said that she has pushed for greater district transparency, tight financial control and accountability, greater public involvement in district decisions, advocating for reading intervention programs and improved methods to better serve the needs of all students.

In addition, during her current term, she had a major role in hiring the new school superintendent.

Hintzke said her priorities are "to ensure that students reach their full potential, strengthen communication and school/parent partnerships, continue to ask the hard questions about fiscal accountability, and push for answers and transparency, and to ensure that PUSD employees work in a supportive and collaborative environment."

"The parents and students of Pleasanton deserve trustees who have a deep understanding of our schools and the challenges facing them," she added. "I believe this is my greatest strength as a candidate."

A Pleasanton resident for nearly 40 years, Hintzke attended Pleasanton public schools and has two children in the district. From 2009-12 she served on the Alameda County School Boards Association as the vice president of education.

For the last two years, she also has been a trustee on the Tri Valley ROP Board and is currently that board's president. In 2012, she also completed the Masters in Governance training program.

Prior to taking office in 2008, Hintzke was active in the Parent Teachers Association at Alisal Elementary and Harvest Park Middle schools as well as the Pleasanton PTA Council. She served on several PUSD Committees as well as the California State PTA Board of Managers.

Hintzke is employed by Alameda County as a Community Relations Coordinator, working on a youth center project due to open January 2013.

"I look forward to the privilege of serving again to continue to do what the public has elected me to do: focus on our student's learning, policies and keeping an eagle eye on the budget," she said.


Posted by Julia, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

Three incumbent candidates -- if there are no challengers then the election is cancelled? OK, it saves money that can go to the schools, but is it good to have no challengers?

Posted by Not good, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jul 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm

It is not good to run without a challenger. Unfortunately, the wimps who post unanimously (or use made up names) will complain after the elections about the school board on Pleasanton Weekly. Too bad they don't have enough courage to stand for what they believe in and actually declare their candidacy.

Posted by registered user, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

It's difficult to run against an incumbent and for a pretty thankless job that requires many hours of work (if it's being done correctly) and for a stipend of $400 a month. If anyone knows a candidate that would have higher expectations of staff, I hope they are being encouraged to run. I'd like to believe there are many people looking for change and would want to help that candidate(s).

Posted by Nurse Shark, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm

How about Stacey? I believe that her time has come!

Posted by Not Fooled, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Jul 30, 2012 at 7:06 am

That's all these posts are full of. Cowardly sorts who don't use their own names and complain about everything. I'm sick of it!

Posted by Unanimously here, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Hey, "Not good" (is that your real name?) . and since I'm "unanimously" here, maybe you are 'anonymous'. One's under 'u' the other 'a' in the dictionary.
Sorry, just couldn't resist, your 'unanimous' was just too irresistable.

Posted by new blood, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jul 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm

the school board desperately needs new blood. hopefully someone rises up to the challenge and holds these board members accountable. we have the ultimate say-so. our votes. we just need someone to step up.

Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 30, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Hm, I checked and the law requires you to use your full legal name when running for public office. Which excludes the anonymous legion who post here...except for Ms. Ruegsegger, who is wise enough not to seek a job in which her real lack of executive and management experience would be exposed for all to see. Far better to pontificate in the fantasy world of P-Weekly comments than actually roll up your sleeves and do something constructive for your community.

Posted by registered user, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2012 at 12:07 am

Uh, Daniel--I already served on the PUSD board. I also learned a lot working for the superintendents and boards in Pleasanton and Palo Alto. But, I am a firm believer in current parents serving.

Posted by Not Fooled, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Jul 31, 2012 at 6:50 am

Kathleen is very right. Why do we even need a Board? Parents are smart enough to educate there children on there own. We've homeschooled all seven of are kids and happy we did. School Boards are just another layer of Big Brother imposition on the freedom of parents to educate there children the way they want them.

Posted by registered user, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2012 at 7:57 am

Of course there should be a board--preferably an effective one.

Posted by Nurse Shark, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 31, 2012 at 8:37 am

Why should there be a board? Just because there's been one for a long time? Very Pavlovian.

Posted by Not Fooled, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Jul 31, 2012 at 8:48 am

Well, if there MUST be a Board, I recommend members who haven't served in slavish kiss-up positions and who are capable of thinking beyond the enslaving confines of a rigid ideology. We've got at least one example of how THAT works. Bow Wow.

Posted by registered user, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2012 at 8:52 am

What is the problem you think you are solving for here?

Posted by Not Fooled, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Jul 31, 2012 at 9:05 am

What's the grammatical form you think you are using here? Got meaning anyone? Is Staceleen also SteveP and Lib is D? The mystery deepens!

Posted by registered user, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 31, 2012 at 9:40 am

Meaning: I've already served as a board member. I believe current parents are closest to the schools and children. Boards, when effective, perform an amazing balancing act of holding staff accountable while working to ensure the best education for the community's children. And you don't know me very well. Perhaps you wish to serve in that role.

Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 31, 2012 at 10:07 am

Talk about pontificating... For one so interested in accountability, Mr. Bradford should register for an account on this website. There is an option to provide your full legal name when you register. It is a favor to readers to let them know that your words were in fact written by you and not by an impersonator, which is so easy to do here.

Posted by Serious Mildred, a resident of Charter Oaks
on Jul 31, 2012 at 11:50 am

I'll tell you what we're attempting to solving for here! And what a job she did, too! Whew! As to impersonators, as Staceleen mentions, I refer everyone to the registered Casanova Frankenstein whose posts are indeed written by a real person who has legal status and has done everyone here a great service.

Whose realer? The so-called Stacey (aka Staceleen Rugsinbugger) or Casanova Frankenstein? Ha! That's for only the big pontificator in the sky to decide!

Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm

So what you're saying is that if I were to ask the PW if they could verify that Casanova is who they say they are and not a pseudonym, the answer would be yes? Just like sending a letter to the editor for print, right? I mean, for those so obsessed over the identities of supposedly anonymous contributors who are registered on this website, the level of research skills needed is pretty elementary. You DID provide your full real name when you registered, didn't you?

Posted by Not Fooled, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Aug 1, 2012 at 7:25 am

Wow. Contacting PW editors to learn whether another poster is real or not. Wonder how much time out of the day Staceleen spends doing THAT! Nice life, I guess. Probably beats being a secretary.

Posted by registered user, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 1, 2012 at 8:16 am

First you have to accept that we are two different people. I know a few other posters--met them for coffee even. Beyond that, I don't care what name anyone uses, although my personal view is, to have any integrity, a poster should pick one name and stick to it. In the past I have asked the editors to check if one person is posting under multiple names on one topic when it was obvious, but I've given that up because PW really doesn't have the staff, and I think those posters are pretty obvious to everyone anyway. I had a fairly nice career as a secretary in both the private and public arenas, thanks.

Posted by Not Fooled, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Aug 1, 2012 at 8:52 am

I've found that posters who use their own names (when not posting under other names) tend to have identity problems. So many conversations end up being about an individual poster. It's about me, me, and me (take your pick). Which ends up being pretty boring. A secretary? Yawn. How many times do we have to hear this? And that she contacts editors to 'to ask' about other posters? Well, how nice! An authoritarian, who's afraid of Big Brother mandating that children be strapped into car safety seats, making inquiries into other posters' identities. Like I say, identity problems.

Posted by registered user, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 1, 2012 at 10:33 am

Here's the rule: "You agree not to post comments under multiple names. Postings within a single topic from the same IP address made under different names will be deleted." To clarify, when asked, there is no response about who a person is--posts simply got removed with a note that there were multiple posts by one person. Seems some feel they can pick which rules to follow (multiple postings, not so much).

Posted by registered user, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

Anyway, school board members have a difficult job, but I hope others will take on this challenge.

Posted by Hate Big Brother, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 1, 2012 at 11:37 am

Mandated child safety seats in automobiles. Baaaaaad.

Rules to limit people's names. Gooooooood.

Thanks Staceleen for clearing matters up!

Posted by registered user, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 1, 2012 at 11:45 am

Actually, it's just a matter of following all the rules, not just the ones you personally feel are pertinent.

Looking forward to seeing whether we have additional candidate(s) to consider for school board.

Posted by Marie, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm

And there is a 4th potential candidate. I see that the registrar of voters has added Sean Kullman to the list.

Posted by Tony, a resident of The Knolls
on Aug 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

If Chris Grant would vacate his seat many would come forward. Chris has no value to the board other than agreeing with staff.

Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm

The CTA has too much influence over elections and the composition of the school board. The school board and the CTA have too much control over contract approval, the number of school days, the hours teachers can work, and the programs that are cut.

A CTA endorsement of a school board candidate should be a red flag. The CTA endorsement is really just the teachers union funding & electing the people that vote on their contracts.

If that isn't a conflict I don't know what is.

Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2012 at 11:24 am

... and to continue. Any US citizen whose earnings and taxes may be influenced by the President of the United States has no business endorsing either candidate. Or to put it slightly differently, no President of the United States, or candidate for the position, deserves to have any endorsement from any citizen whose earnings or taxes may be affected.

I've done the math, and it all adds up. Honest. Anyone voting for Obama in the next election cycle? Red Flag! Red Flag! Conflict of interest because, hey, your earnings or taxes might be affected.

Down with teachers unions. Down with US citizens. Conflict of interest!

Posted by Julia, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm

So, it's happened -- no challengers. No election this fall! All three incumbents move into their next term unopposed.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Aug 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

if you follow the rules and trust your'll simply end up in the right place...

i'm always trying to share bits of wisdom with plutonians...

you're welcome...

Posted by Mark, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Is it ok for teachers to come to school under the influence? I think NOT... Yet we have this problem in our schools. Our Board of Directors and teachers are aware of this and do NOTHING... Since when is it ok to teach children while on POT!!! Medical card or not?

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