School board safeguards educational system

Charmaine Banther, Jo Loss, and John Barbieri were sworn into office as CVUSD school board members on Thursday, Dec. 6.

Barbieri and Loss won re-election to the board, while Banther won a seat for the first time.

“The Castro Valley Board of Education needed a strong advocate for students and teachers. I am that advocate,” said Banther.

The CVUSD school board has five members that each serve four-year terms. George Granger and Janice Friesen are the other two.

In order to ensure the success of Castro Valley students, the school board employs the superintendent, balances the district’s budget, hires teachers and faculty, and sets the requirements for high school graduation among other issues that need to be addressed each year.

“Our goal is to make sure that a student is successful,” said Barbieri.

According to Banther, the most pressing issues are inadequate funding for schools (which cause program cuts), teacher layoffs and federal mandates (i.e. ESEA and RTTT), and the loss of professional respect for teachers. She promises to “do everything [she] can to increase revenue and reduce expenses without laying off teachers or hurting the education of the students of CVUSD.”

Another pressing issue for the board is increasing public awareness of board actions and its reasoning.

“We have to be more informative to the public, especially with the budget,” said Barbieri.

A controversial issue involving the school board was the setting aside of $3.8 million in 2011. People were upset that the money was not used in 2011, but many did not know that it was saved to prevent cuts this year in programs, as the outcome of Prop. 30 was uncertain.

Had Prop. 30 failed, the district would have had mid-year cuts and would have cut 15 school days. However, union negotiations prevented such cuts from happening.

The district will receive funds from the passed Prop. 30, but it will have to wait until 2013 for the payout.

All things change with time, and Castro Valley schools are no exception. School board members are the safeguards to the education system. They are tasked with ensuring that above all, students receive an education compatible with the standards of the work place and of higher education.

“I want to make education the number one priority because a well-rounded education means a better future for our students and for our communities,” said Banther.

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