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What the Heck?

Original post made by OhlonePar, Duveneck/St. Francis, on Apr 13, 2007

Okay, it's getting to the point that even a school news junkie like myself can't keep track of everything going on with the district.

So is Scotty Lawrence being prepped for super? Is there a search for super going on? When do we hear anything about it?

So now there's a petition re: Grace Mah's appointment. I haven't seen the petition, but it looks like there was a split in PAEE camp, so we have:

On the pro-MI side

Those who want a charter and control
Those who want a small choice program

Meanwhile over on the anti-MI side:

FLES, yes, MI elsewhere or later down the line.
Elementary languages are not a priority.

And a split over Grace Mah. I admit my own feelings on the petition are split. I think Grace Mah is pretty straightforward and she clearly has a lot of energy. And I honestly think she's someone who could grow as an advocate with the wider perspective she'd gain in the county position. In some ways, she'd be an asset within the system.

At the same time, though, I dislike the scent of backdoor deals and cronyism that surrounds the appointment--the other candidates were arguably more qualified and better represented the area as a whole. Because of Grace's stance in the MI debate, her appointment comes off as an attempt by the county board as an attempt to limit the PAUSD's control of its own district.

Again, I think Grace Mah has been aboveboard and I don't question her integrity. I don't think she's been cutting deals. But the lack of transparency within the school bureaucracy lately is really getting to me.

Comments (5)

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Posted by Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2007 at 5:38 pm

If you want to sign the petition to overturn that appointment and request an election for the vacated seat on county board of education, you can contact

Some people think the cost of the election is an issue. But others think the cost of an election is a small price to pay for a democratically elected government that is representative of its constituency.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2007 at 9:15 pm

You failed to mention the latest headlines - that PAUSD is considering dropping its food service because its too expensive. I find this troubling. What will be their committment to providing lunch/food to kids who may not be getting enough to eat at home.

Again, PAUSD priorities are pathetically confused. We are going to cut food out of the district for the kids, but we are always on the lookout for fabulous enrichment for the top performing 5%..

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Posted by Palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2007 at 6:20 pm

Although the food service is off topic - I think the reason they are losing money on it is the food is terrible with minimal variety at the elementary level (expect for the days that pizza is delivered, not the district made pizza) and the lines are too long - don't want to waste my lunch period at Jordan middle School. Our resourceful district will find a way to feed to 5% of kids that need the food service.

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Posted by PV & JLS Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 15, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Speaking from the point of view of my kids at both middle and elementary levels, they have not enjoyed lunches since Chartwells took over. These are supposed to be more healthy lunches, but if the kids won't eat them then that is irrelevant. I don't like my kids eating junk food, but I do like them to eat school lunches occasionally for a variety of reasons. There is too much opportunity at the middle schools to eat snacks instead of lunch (cookies at brunch, etc.) and with the exception of brought in pizza or "breakfast for lunch" my elementary student would rather not eat at all.

If the district is going to continue providing a lunch program, then they need to address the above problems. I am speaking not just from my own kids' point of view, but I have heard similar from other parents.

Maybe we should start by looking at the type of foods that the kids are bringing from home as a starting point. I know that many kids bring sandwiches and others bring flasks with hot rice dishes, or soup. We have many different ethnic groups in our community and it is not possible for a lunch program to cater to all tastes. However, there are a lot of kids who bring in junk, six packs of cookie or cake snacks, lunchables, etc. and very little in the way of fruit or veggies, fresh or otherwise. I have seen very healthy food tossed into trashcans completely untouched and parents bringing in McDonalds which are then shared out at the tables. The whole lunch process is contributing to the obesity problem here and the lunches the district provide seems to make the problem worse rather than helping. Something much more fundamental must be done to address this problem and it probably means educating parents and kids alike. It is a symptom of the overall problem and it is not getting any better.

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Posted by Just an idea...
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2007 at 8:46 pm

At some middle schools in the Bay Area, the PTA takes care of the food service. They offer different meals for each day, sells at pretty low prices, and has parent volunteers sell the food each day.

The food is pretty cheap, but the PTA still makes a significant profit. From my experience, kids gladly wait in line for subways, pizza, tacos, salads, and chicken selects. It's only about a 10 minute process for the kids at the end of the line, although it really depends on how many parent volunteers you have each day.

The PTA I know literally cleans up on serving lunch, making tens of thousands of dollars. It all goes back to the teachers and thus the students.


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