Our Readers Write: School board election

One candidate a positive force

After attending the presentation of school board candidates at La Cañada High School, we decided to have a coffee in our home for Ernest Koeppen, and were more convinced than ever that he would be an excellent school board member. He is a a businessman, a concerned parent, devoted to encouraging our students and giving them opportunities in technical engineering and industrial arts. He is not political— he is open and willing to listen — we need better communication and openness from the board to the community and better accountability. After meeting and talking to him personally, we are totally convinced that he would be a positive force on the La Cañada school board. Vote for Ernest Koeppen.

James Heywood

La Cañada Flintridge#

 

Quit the local politics, do what’s right

When I ran for the LCUSD Board two years ago, it was because, as someone who practices law in the education area, I thought the current board was too complacent and did not address the needs of the students.  Nothing has happened over the last two years to make me change my mind. 

The current board needs a new mindset and new directions and I firmly believe that AJ Blumenfeld is the best candidate to accomplish what needs to be done.  AJ is young, energetic, smart and dedicated.  He has focused in on the shortcomings of the current board and the consequences of its inactions and is prepared to do the work needed to move forward in a positive and constructive way.

The current board has never shown any indication that it is prepared to be proactive in finding funding for the District or in promoting best practices in the classroom.  It takes credit for things like high test scores which it has no control over and shifts the blame for failures it does have control over, such as fundraising and teacher evaluations. 

It is time to quit the local politics involved and do what is right for the students and the District as a whole.  AJ gets my support.

Neal S. Millard

La Cañada Flintridge

 

Candidate has extensive experience

We have been involved in our schools for many years as active parents, holding various PTA positions, as an Educational Foundation director and Endowment trustee.  Like most of you, we care deeply about La Cañada’s schools and are concerned about the challenges that lie ahead.  We have also spent a lot of time focusing on the current candidates for school board.

We believe all of the candidates have some real attributes and strengths.  However, we believe Ellen Multari is the ideal candidate for the school board.  She brings a new perspective to the board, and does so with extensive La Cañada school-related service experience, as well as applicable educational and professional experience.  In addition, she has both the time and independence to properly serve in this position.  Ellen has demonstrated an ability to listen and work with others to effectuate positive changes. 

We have spent a significant amount of time with Ellen over the last few weeks discussing school related matters and have been impressed with her intelligence, knowledge of the issues, and her plans for the school board.

We encourage you to vote for Ellen Multari on Nov. 8!

Brad and Vicki Schwartz

La Cañada Flintridge

 

Tough choices before it’s too late

It is no surprise to anyone that years of recession and a worsening economic picture for California are slowly eroding the financial viability of our schools. Unfortunately, the LCUSD and school board, not to mention La Cañada parents, seem able to only address the issue from lack of funding, and refuse to address the cost issues.

The reality is California is slowly becoming Greece — a dystopian welfare state perched on the economic abyss. The reality is our economic backdrop will get far worse before it gets better, if it ever does.

For now, Band-Aid solutions, tax increases and donations have met the challenge. What if things get worse? More taxes? More donations? From where? From whom? At what point will parents cry “uncle” and vote with their feet? What then for our schools?

It is time to have an uncomfortable, but adult, conversation about our schools. Since no one is willing to, I will.

1. Do we need three elementary schools? Can we afford them?

2. Each school has an army of counselors. What do they do? What level of staffing is necessary?

3. Most families use the public elementary schools but large numbers go to private high school. Why is this? What needs to be done to increase enrollment at the public high school?

4. Pay, and especially pension and benefit costs, needs to be addressed. While the union may balk, which is better — over-generous pension and welfare benefits far above those that most parents in La Cañada receive, or a collapsed school system? Or layoffs of 50% of our quality teachers? Time for the union to be part of the solution.

5. A recent communication on the parcel tax crowed about being able to fund a psychology class at the high school. Psychology? Really? If the budget situation worsens, which frills can go, and what must stay?

6. Many people feel that donating to the LCFEF is akin to giving a dollar to a homeless person. It makes you feel good, but you don't feel you're really solving the problem, or doing any good. Let's change the way the LCUSD handles LCFEF monies by providing accountability, transparency and parent control.

7. People support local tax increases if they believe the money is well spent. The fact that La Cañada could only approve $150 for a parcel tax is a strong vote that people believe their monies will not be spent well.

It is time for unorthodox approaches. Ten years from now when or if the economy recovers, it would be nice to still have a quality public school system in La Cañada. Let's make the tough choices now, before it's too late.

Asult Jain

La Cañada Flintridge

Another view of Leko

Some members of our community have spoken out in this forum to defend Gabrielle Leko against the charges that Cindy Wilcox has made public. I would like to take the opposite view.

I know nothing about Leko's alleged racial or gender slurs, but I do know something about her teaching the academic subject to which she is assigned. One of the beauties of mathematics is that problems can be solved many different ways, all of them equally valid. But for Leko, there is only one way: hers. Students who do it her way are academically rewarded. Those who don't are punished. This has led families to find ways around her or to choose not to take her courses. Since she is the only LCHS AP calculus teacher, that path has denied many students the head start in advanced math that could accelerate their progress in college science and technology.

Further, Leko is the chair of the LCHS math department. Those of us who have been watching standardized test scores over the years know that high school math is the singular area where LCHS does poorly, compared to other high-performing schools. If the department chair is not accountable for this poor performance, who is?

I don't necessarily advocate that Leko be removed. For some students, she apparently connects. But LCHS must address the issue of poor grades on standardized tests, and it must start at the top.

Robin Fehlau

Formerly La Cañada Flintridge

   

Wise, warm and respected

As I watch with interest our current school board election season and the candidate I support, Jeanne Broberg, I see it centering on four key issues: parcel tax, out-of-district students, collaboration/professional development days, and teacher evaluations. Look again and you'll see that these are actually one essential concern. In these times, when the national birth rate is in a decline and so is the economy, how does a small public school district stay afloat fiscally while still providing quality education for all students?

We've all read about districts that have had to cut out their fine arts programs or cut back on their sports or even AP offerings. Others — including San Marino — proposed parcel taxes that far exceed what many La Cañada residents could comfortably afford. Many — including Glendale with its (La Cañada) Sagebrush residents — have been reluctant to give release permission to their students because that home district is struggling with enrollment issues.

Collaboration days and teacher evaluations, of course, go to that goal of providing quality education for all students as well. California sets state standards, districts and staffs design pacing guides, writing rubrics, quarterly assessments and more, all so that there is clarity and focus about what is being taught and when. How it is taught, and how well it is consistently taught, are what collaboration and teacher evaluations are all about.

In the past, La Cañada has been quite skimpy about professional development; virtually all other surrounding districts have banked minutes and provided regular release time for collaboration for more than a decade. The rotation for teacher evaluations in our district meant that some teachers were formally evaluated once every four years; now everyone is formally evaluated every two years.

In other times I can recall board meetings overflowing because two or more dynamic new teachers were at risk of not being rehired. In the news I see other school boards who are furloughing teachers. Our La Cañada election issues stem from national trends, rather than misuse of funds or poor judgment. We have made a smooth transition from Jim Stratton, a superintendent who was a dedicated La Cañada educator, to Wendy Sinnette, who is fresh to the position but who is known for her warmth and respected for her wisdom. Why wouldn't we want to create a team for the future that includes the equally wise, warm and respected Jeanne Broberg?

Judi Healey

La Cañada Flintridge

 

The community’s beating heart

I consider our public schools to be the beating heart of our community. Our schools don't just educate our children; they provide the basis for our property values, and they are the reason La Cañada is such a desirable place to live.

That is why this school board election is so important. Our board members have a responsibility and impact that reaches far beyond the classroom.

For this reason, I am strongly supporting the election of Ellen Multari. Her children are still in our public schools, making her a true constituent. She's both passionate and practical. Most of all, she's not just talk. Ellen loves our schools. She's given of herself for years in various PTAs, the PTA Site Council, the Educational Foundation and the LCUSD Fundraising Task Force.

Ellen understands how and why our schools need to improve, both in the classrooms and at the district level. What sets her apart is that she has the maturity, wisdom and temperament to get it done, and get it done well.

I can't imagine a more qualified representative for those of us who care about our schools, especially during these very difficult times. The best endorsement I can offer is this: When Ellen Multari is elected to the school board, I'm going to sleep a little better at night.

Please join me in voting for Ellen Multari on Nov. 8.

Craig Mazin

La Cañada Flintridge

Co-Chair, Committee To Elect Ellen Multari

 

Experienced, tested, proven

The voters of La Cañada are facing a big decision next Tuesday in the school board election, a decision that will have far-reaching effects in the continued strength and progress of our award-winning schools. We are experiencing challenging times that present serious problems to be solved and critical decisions to be made for our schools. To me, the choice is crystal clear — we need someone with the most real-life experience possible, with tested and proven skills in understanding and solving the challenges of our schools. If I were seriously ill and in need of surgery, would I choose a surgeon who had never had any real-life experience in an operating room, in spite of how brilliant he might be as a medical student, how many new theories he had studied, how many innovative, untested ideas he might have, or how young and energetic he might be? Of course not. I would choose the most experienced, tested and proven surgeon I could find — one who had practiced and mastered the skills that would save my life – one who had the wisdom that comes only from many years of real-life practice in diagnosing and treating real-life people.

Jeanne Broberg is the candidate with the real-life experience and wisdom, with skills that have been tested and proven, the very things we need to bring our schools through the challenges we are facing. Do we need to improve our schools? Of course there is always room for improvement. But I do not want our award-winning schools to serve as a guinea pig for educational theories designed by someone who has not yet finished college. Our children deserve better. Our children deserve experience and wisdom. I urge you all to vote for Jeanne Broberg on Nov. 8. And please do not stay home for this critical election. There is too much at stake not to have your voice be heard.

Christie Frandsen

La Cañada Flintridge

   

Where she stands, why she’s running

In her letter to the editor of Oct. 27 (“Money won’t solve the problems”), Lauren Oakes grossly misrepresents my point of view on our school district's financial hardships and the potential solutions. In my campaign, I have consistently reiterated the need for the board to provide both communication and leadership so that we, as a community, can best protect the tremendous asset we have in our schools. I am not predisposed to any particular course of action.

Money may not always solve problems, but losing money usually creates them. Oakes seemingly ignores the fact that we face significant financial challenges due to the continuous reduction in per-pupil funding from the state as well as declining enrollment. We have lost more than $800 per pupil since 2007 and are facing further reductions this year of $260 - $330 per student. At meetings like the one Oakes attended, it has been made abundantly clear to me that the community expects the school board to be exhaustive in its search for all possible cost-cutting options and funding solutions. In light of the difficult financial challenges, these meetings have included some very frank discussions regarding the alternatives, including what they are, how they would work, and the costs and benefits associated with each of them. In some of my conversations, I have used hypothetical examples to illustrate the impact of these options, including a hypothetical parcel tax and hypothetical transfer tax, alongside what is likely to happen if we do nothing. I have made it clear that, ultimately, the board would need to analyze various options and provide the community with a thoughtful presentation of the many different scenarios and options for consideration.

Whatever solution we decide on, it is “we” who will decide, as a community, not the board alone. Neither I nor anyone else has either the power or intention to force anything through. That is the precise opposite of what I stand for and why I am running for school board. To find out more about what I am truly “for,” please visit my website, www.ellenmultari.com.

Ellen Multari

La Cañada Flintridge

 

A somewhat unusual candidate

As we approach the end of this exciting election for LCUSD School Board, I thought now would be a good time to size-up the four campaigns we have watched vie for these two open spots. Since none of us yet knows how each will fare in the eyes of the ultimate arbiter of their success, I wanted to take this last moment of speculation to consider these campaigns along other metrics.

Which campaign have we seen the most of? From my vantage point, Andrew Blumenfeld’s campaign is largely responsible for the visibility of this school board election — and, surprisingly, it has not just been because he is a somewhat unusual candidate. His website shows him having over 30 events since the end of August, his campaign has received continuous support in the papers since launching, I’ve received at least four mailers from his campaign, and his campaign has done more with online media than any local campaign I’ve seen.

But far more than just mere visibility, it has been Blumenfeld’s campaign that has driven the terms of the conversation. Having joined the election only after it looked like the two seats would go uncontested, he has kept true to his original intentions of making this a meaningful discussion for the community. Many of the major issues have been ones he first began talking about last summer.

Ironically, those most skeptical about Blumenfeld’s candidacy are those who wonder how effective he can be if he is at Princeton for the first year or so of this four-year term. Blumenfeld has done more than tell us how effective he can be, he has shown us. He has run an extensive, thought-provoking, and effective campaign, and we can expect the same should he be elected.

I hope you will join me in giving him that chance by voting for Blumenfeld this coming Tuesday.

Sherrie Evans

La Cañada Flintridge

 

On de-certifying Hillside

I was stunned to learn that the current La Cañada school board had the audacity to put a single topic on one of its meeting agendas to both authorize a new Foundation summer school with profits donated back to the district, and to de-certify Hillside, which is the main summer school that LCF families have used as an alternative. The conflict-of-interest is glaring.

A minority of the board delayed action to de-certify Hillside. District staff was directed to collect data about summer schools. Staff recently reported, “there are too many variables which prevented us from conclusive findings.”

This data, with no student names/numbers, shows interesting trends. For example, there were 205 students who took some form of history at LCHS. The slope of the regression fit of this data in mapping their final score (A=4) to their next STAR test in history (top score =5) is 80.6%. This quantifies what everyone knows, which is that the LCHS history department is very good, so it is no surprise that a letter grade is well-correlated with the STAR score. However, the regression slope for the 82 students who took history at Hillside is even higher, 124.4%, an almost perfect mapping of letter grade to the STAR score.

The regression slope for 56 students who took math at Hillside is 84.5%. The regression slope for 141 students who took math at LCHS is only 54.2%. A grade from LCHS summer school in math is a terrible predictor of future performance on the standards test. Hillside grades are a much better predictor of future performance on the test.

While a number of students take Spanish at Hillside, there is no standardized test data and so we cannot assess how well letter grades predict future outcomes.

The data shows there is no justification for de-certifying Hillside as a provider of credits and grades toward high school graduation. There is one candidate in the Nov. 8 election that clearly understands these issues — Andrew “AJ” Blumenfeld. This critical issue will be one of the first votes of the new school board. Please vote for Blumenfeld.

Brian Wilcox

La Cañada

The writer is married to current school board member Cindy Wilcox.

 

Better management is needed

It's amazing that Ellen Multari and Jeanne Broberg, two of the school board candidates, want to ignore the desperate need for better management of our school district, and explore reaching into the wallets of La Cañadans to throw more money at the district. Multari has presented a hypothetical that every seller of real estate in La Cañada to pay a 2.5% real estate transfer tax to the schools.

It's sadly typical that government officials (or aspiring officials) see throwing somebody else's money at a problem as a solution, instead of rolling up their sleeves, improving the product, keeping the in-district students enrolled and eliminating waste.

Multari and Broberg seem open to boosting the current $150 per year parcel tax to a San Marino-inspired $1,000 per year tax. La Cañadans should not be hit with yet another bill to help pay for the operation of our school district and Multari and Broberg should not have an opportunity to promote the new taxes. I'm committing my vote to Andrew “AJ” Blumenfeld, the reform candidate who recognizes the significance of a great classroom education and a well-managed budget.

Royal Oakes

La Cañada Flintridge

 

Integrity, first and foremost

What this community needs in a school board candidate is someone who has, first and foremost, integrity. Then I look for positive thinking, dedicated, knowledgeable, proven leadership, and a vested interest in our schools. I support and have already cast my vote for Jeanne Broberg and Ellen Multari because I believe they exemplify these qualities. Your vote is important. Please vote on Nov. 8.

Faye Therrien

La Cañada Flintridge

 

A political stepping stone

At the forum meeting week before last, the four candidates all put themselves up there in a different way.

However of all four, only one was clearly not rehearsed and reading off cue cards to what were obviously seeded questions. Ernest Koeppen responded to each question from the heart and off the top of his head. To me, that showed a heartfelt commitment and a deeper understanding and an ability to think on the fly.

I also know of Koeppen’s hands-on commitment to students. He has shown a unique involvement. I like that he is not status quo and that he is very tech savvy — no one else up there was.

I also liked Multari as she appeared professional in an administrative way.

I prefer proven commitment and action, along with proven involvement and concern, not the status quo of what doesn’t work. Broberg is sadly out of touch with the needs of our community.

Blumenfeld speaks well and was impassioned, but has no history of teamwork or ability, and to me is just looking for a political stepping stone.

My votes are for a balanced combination of Koeppen and Multari as they both bring complementary assets to the table and both are proven team leaders. That is worth more to this board than anything else.

John Hight

La Canada Flintridge

 

Student and parent shortchanged

I was stunned to learn that our school board decided to approve 4.5 additional pupil free days for “teacher collaboration.” I support collaborative efforts, but not at families’ expense. My PCY third grader loves school and craves being there. She feels shortchanged by a system that denies her precious school days, and so do I.

Students recognize that the fullness and fluidity of the school year is a critical aspect of a solid education. So many weeks shortened by no-school days breaks the consistency and compromises students’ school experience. Students need continuity of school days, which cannot be substituted by a few minutes tacked on to fewer school days. An overwhelming amount of research supports this. Any skeptics in the community can simply conduct a short Internet search and discover this research for themselves.

Additionally, we need to improve how we measure teaching excellence. We cannot rely on select teachers to assure a high quality education for our students. Instead, the school system as a whole must be a healthy organism. We owe it to our students to implement an effective system of annual teacher evaluations, weed out underperforming teachers and apply a high bar across the board.

I enthusiastically support Andrew Blumenfeld’s school board candidacy because he fully recognizes the importance of returning the lost 4.5 days to our students, and of putting long overdue measures in place for ensuring high teacher standards throughout our district. I respect and appreciate his clear and informed vision, his passion for reform, his remarkable intelligence, and his deep commitment to bettering La Cañada’s schools.

Tatiana Doubko

La Cañada Flintridge

 

The magnitude of the problem

I was conflicted and a little confused after reading Lauren Oakes’ letter to the editor (“Money won’t solve the problems,” Oct. 27) last week. I wholeheartedly agree that our district faces long-standing problems related to under-performing teachers and it is time for change. However, we also face unprecedented funding cuts — if maximum anticipated mid-year cuts come, our district will stand at a $1300 per pupil cumulative decrease in funding from what the district had been receiving per student in 2007.

Is this not a problem as well? Would creating better review, supervision and accountability among some of our poorest performing teachers close this funding gap and restore funding to pre-2007 levels? Would it make classes smaller? Would it buy new textbooks? Would it restore kindergarten aides? While she is spot-on in demanding quality instruction for our children, I’m afraid Oakes is underestimating the true magnitude of the financial problems the district faces. We as parents would be remiss to not demand that all funding options be explored by our governing board. Money doesn’t always solve problems, but losing money certainly creates more of them.

I am a supporter of Ellen Multari for school board because she believes that no stone should be left unturned when it comes to the education of our children and is well-aware of the chronic gaps that exist — instructionally and financially. She has been an active participant on boards and committees that are actively aware of, and fighting the downward moving trend of, public funding for education. She has not sat idly by and complained, she has rolled up her sleeves and gotten to work. And while she believes that all funding options should be thoroughly explored, she has absolutely not advocated for any one particular course of action. Multari believes that we as a community will need to weigh the costs, then decide what is best and what is right for our kids and will work tirelessly for us as parents and concerned members of the community to fill these atrocious gaps.

Deborah Weirick

La Cañada Flintridge

 

Where do they stand on Hillside?

What summer school course credit will be accepted by La Cañada High School for graduation? The board will be making a decision soon on this issue, but it has received little attention in the school board election campaigns. A candidate’s stance on the issue may affect the options students will have for future summer school courses.

Whether or not summer school credit meets district requirements is important for students who take courses in schools/institutions other than the Educational Foundation’s summer offerings. More specifically, the board’s decision will affect the many La Cañada students who enroll in the Hillside summer school program. The Hillside summer school option is a popular choice for students and parents. Hillside core classes are accepted by the UC system for high school credit, and, according to available data, students do well after taking courses at Hillside.

The issue first emerged during the 2010-11 school year as the school board considered the question of what requirements would be established for summer school course credit. The board’s consideration of summer school credits coincided with the Educational Foundation’s planning for its first summer school. The board delayed a decision on the matter until the 2011-12 school year pending additional data collection and analysis by the district.

The board will reconsider the requirements for summer school credits at the Nov. 15 board meeting. The process usually requires several readings (additional board meetings) for approval. The first meeting of the new board following the election will be in December, involving recently-elected members in the deliberations.

It is important for voters to know where school board candidates stand on this important issue for students.

David Morton

La Cañada

The writer is a member of the Board of Directors of the Hillside Learning Center, a non-profit, private school.

 

Experience makes a difference

I want to express my high regard for La Cañada school board incumbent Jeanne Broberg.

I am the current board president for Glendale Unified School District, on our board since 2005, and a colleague of Jeanne’s on the Five Star Coalition, a group made up of school trustees and superintendents from Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada, Pasadena and South Pasadena. Jeanne is our Five Star president this year and served as secretary last year. She has consistently demonstrated her dedication both to your district and to our coalition. Jeanne is informed, experienced, persuasive, effective and reliable. And my impression is that she is doing the work of school trustee because she believes deeply in the cause of public education and is committed to increasing excellence in your district for the benefit of your students.

I do know the challengers as I know Jeanne, but I have seen that experience — and committed school board experience in particular — generally makes a positive difference in a school district’s ability to address the issues that confront public education and to effect change to benefit students. Jeanne Broberg understands the issues and does not shy away from addressing them.

If I were a voter in La Cañada, I would vote for Jeanne Broberg.

Joylene Wagner

Glendale

 

First-hand knowledge of needs

After much consideration, I have decided to support Andrew Blumenfeld for LCUSD School Board.

I first met Blumenfeld in 2009 while working on Measure LC. I was impressed with his technological acumen, his commitment and his passion for education. Still, I raised an eyebrow when I learned he was running for school board at age 20 and in college. Over time, though, my concerns have been completely assuaged and believe Blumenfeld deserves our support.

Blumenfeld thinks big. While we all want to be No. 1, he does not obsess over our API ranking. At the candidates’ forum, he said (paraphrasing), “let’s get to where we can say ‘forget the rankings’ and focus on making our kids’ education truly great.” This means ensuring through meaningful teacher evaluation and review that every classroom has an outstanding teacher. This should be a guarantee for LCF students. While many politicians’ platforms are a mile wide and an inch deep, you can drill down into any educational topic with Blumenfeld and he has thoroughly researched it and carefully considered how it impacts education here.

Blumenfeld understands students’ needs because he was one. While I love having parents on the school board and support fellow-parent Ellen Multari, Blumenfeld represents a unique opportunity for our children to have on the school board one who knows what it’s like to be the recipient of the excellent education we must provide our children. Blumenfeld recalls having some outstanding, and some not-so-outstanding, teachers and he wants the current generation of students to have all outstanding teachers.

Blumenfeld is passionate, committed, and accessible. Though he’ll be at Princeton for the first 18 months of his four-year term, he has vowed to be in La Cañada for all school board meetings, will return during all school breaks, and can be reached at all times by phone and other modern forms of communication. It is a fallacy to suggest the school board will suffer if he completes his education. Current board members do not all attend every meeting and are not required to attend events locally between meetings.

I would love to have a recent LCHS graduate take a leadership role in bringing to the school board big thinking, first-hand knowledge of student needs, and passion. If you would like to meet Blumenfeld, you are invited to our house for coffee with Blumenfeld on Friday, Nov. 4 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., 3983 Robin Hill Road. RSVP to jack.schaedel@gmail.com.

Jack Schaedel

La Cañada Flintridge

 

Taking time to visit schools

When we're looking for a strong leader, we look for someone who has experience, knowledge and dedication. That leader is Jeanne Broberg. During my PTA years, I met Broberg. She led LCE PTA during a difficult time after PCR closed. She brought the two schools together with her leadership qualities. She has brought those same qualities with her while serving on our school board.

For the past 30 years, I have been employed by LCUSD as a classified employee working with special-ed and ELD students. At our recent CSEA meeting, all four candidates were invited to attend. Only two candidates appeared, those being Ellen Multari and Broberg. Both took the time to come and talk with our classified employees. Broberg also takes the time to visit our schools and school events. She definitely has a great interest and love for our schools.

Broberg knows the community and the history of the school district. She has proven herself above and beyond. She has the experience that we need for our schools to excel and our schools will continue to flourish under her leadership. She will receive my vote, and I hope she receives yours.

Gretel Ujfalusy

La Cañada Flintridge

 

An approach that will serve well

As a parent with three kids in the La Cañada school system and someone who cares deeply about the future of our schools, I enthusiastically support Ernest Koeppen for school board. I have known Koeppen for years and can attest to his dedication to our kids and his competence as a businessman. There are several very fine candidates running this year, but I believe Koeppen deserves your vote for the following reasons:

Koeppen is a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He has run a successful IT business for many years. His experience in information technology will be invaluable as our district uses limited financial resources to get the best technology for our kids and teachers. Koeppen has a business and accounting degree and spent more than 23 years in the entertainment industry, most notably with ESPN, Paramount and Disney, where he managed major production and marketing budgets as well as divisional system conversions. Koeppen can be trusted to analyze and understand the fiscal issues facing our schools.

Koeppen has a proven track record of service in connection with the Engineering Club at LCHS. I know of no other parent who has given more of his/her self, in terms of time and personal resources, to help kids succeed than Koeppen. He has used his out-of-the-box thinking to recruit corporate sponsors to fund the engineering projects. He has brought in top engineers from JPL/Caltech to share their expertise and experience with our kids. And he has opened his personal shop to our students so they can gain valuable experience on computerized mills, lathes and 3D modeling equipment.

Koeppen understands the issues and he is not political, as evidenced by his endorsements by both Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and Mayor Dave Spence. I, too, am confident that Koeppen’s “Kids First” approach will serve us well, now and into the future.

Brent Whitfield

La Cañada Flintridge

 

The students’ choice

I am only 17 years old and the campaign manager to elect Ernest Koeppen for school board. I, along with other 16- and 17-year-olds, was entrusted by Koeppen to run his campaign.

Throughout the course of this campaign, Koeppen has earned the endorsement of Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, Mayor Dave Spence, PCC Board of Trustees Vice President Geoffrey Baum, Noon La Cañada Kiwanis Club President Mary Gant and former LCF Educational Foundation President Phyllis Kochavi. These fellow La Cañada residents have put their trust in a man whose campaign is run by many hard-working students. There might be younger candidates running for school board, but Koeppen has even younger students helping him run his campaign.

Since I am too young to vote, I call on all of the citizens of La Cañada Flintridge to go to their local polls on Tuesday, Nov. 8 and vote for Ernest Koeppen. He is the students’ choice.

Alexander S. Keledjian

La Cañada Flintridge

 

Intelligent, mature leadership

As the parent of two children in elementary school, I have a strong vested interest in the leadership of our school board. And in light of the many challenges facing our local schools, I am firmly convinced that the upcoming school board election is crucial to ensure that the best leadership is selected to guide our schools in the future in order to maintain and improve the academic development of all of our children.

I believe that the key qualities a school board member should have are a dedication to the district and its students; strong communication skills and a commitment to accessibility; first-hand knowledge of what’s happening in our schools; a focus on teacher quality and accountability; and insight into funding alternatives for the district. I attended the candidates forum last month and have reviewed the campaign materials as well as the public statements and policy positions of all four candidates in order to assess how each measures up in these areas.

Ellen Multari clearly stands out among the four candidates as the best suited to serve on our school board. Multari’s dedication is demonstrated by her involvement in PTA at the elementary and 7/8 levels and at site councils at Palm Crest. Multari knows the challenges at all levels of our school system based on her involvement and the educational experiences of her three children. When it comes to teacher quality, Multari is acutely aware of the impact a weaker performing instructor can have. And although there are a limited number of underperformers, she is committed to clearly defined performance standards to which teachers, administration, the district and the board are held accountable. She will provide greater focus on performance improvement plans and progress and will improve board responsiveness to community concerns.

Our community needs experienced, intelligent and mature leadership. On Nov. 8, please join me in support of Ellen Multari for school board.

John Ricci

La Cañada Flintridge

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