Four people, including one incumbent, have signaled their intent to run for the three seats on the Los Altos School District board this November. The candidate filing period began this week, but some of the prospective candidates staked their campaigns as early as April.
Board members Doug Smith, Mark Goines and Tammy Logan all have terms that expire this year. Logan is the first of the three to announce her run for re-election, but none of the incumbents has announced plans to retire yet.
Hot-button issues in this year's election include the tentative five-year agreement between the district and Bullis Charter School, growing enrollment, and the ongoing effort by the district to draft a facilities bond measure for the November ballot. Potential candidates for the seats include charter school and LASD parents, and many of them have a background in finance.
Announcing her run for a spot on the school board in April, Martha McClatchie was the first person to start campaigning. She has been a resident of Los Altos for seven years, and has three daughters who attend Bullis Charter School. Her eldest daughter, a sixth-grader, attended Oak Avenue Elementary before moving to Bullis.
The only BCS parent expressing interest in a board seat so far, McClatchie said she has a well-rounded perspective that can bring both charter school and district officials together to work out their differences. She said she communicates with parents across Los Altos to learn their priorities and concerns, and believes she is a "community candidate."
Since her eldest daughter started kindergarten seven years ago, McClatchie said, she has been going to LASD board meetings. As a public speaker at the meetings, she has emphasized the importance of communication between BCS and the district, she said.
McClatchie she said the recently drafted five-year tentative agreement has been just that -- an agreement where both sides finally sat down and worked out a compromise based on what they felt was important.
With 25 years of experience as a financial executive, McClatchie said she feels well-qualified for budget oversight and is comfortable handling a potential bond measure for school facilities. She has worked with PTAs, and is a board member and treasurer of Educacy, a nonprofit advocacy group that focuses on public education.
Tammy Logan is the current school district board president, and announced her intent to run for re-election earlier this month. She said that in her four and a half years of serving on the board, the district made progress in revolutionizing learning for all its students, and she wants to remain on the board to make sure that it keeps up the pace.
Logan said the district has been recognized on a national and international level during her time as a board member. Oak Avenue Elementary School won the National Blue Ribbon award in 2012 for students' high performance in reading and mathematics. The two middle schools, Blach and Egan, were also nominated this year for the award.
Along with Doug Smith, Logan was one of the two board members involved in drafting the five-year tentative agreement between the district and BCS, which is up for approval later this month. The agreement includes ending all litigation between the two parties and a concerted effort to pass a bond measure.
Logan was previously a member of the district's Citizens' Advisory Committee for Finance, which oversees school district expenditures and long-term financial issues. She said her experience on the committee and her time as a board member give her the experience and understanding that the district needs to keep moving forward.
A relatively new face in the district, Sangeeth Peruri got involved with Los Altos School District in 2012 when he signed up to be chair of the annual auction at Covington Elementary School, prior to his son's starting school there.
To make things run smoothly, Peruri found and implemented a software system that streamlined the auction process, which helped to break previous fundraising records. He said other LASD schools, including Springer Elementary School, have picked up the software for their own auctions.
Peruri said he wants to focus on "curriculum advancement," and supports courses that have more adaptability based on student performance. He said that as someone who has dealt with learning disabilities, he believes overcoming academic hurdles is an important part of curriculum development. He was behind the pilot program at Covington called "Brainology," a blended learning program that teaches kids how their brains function, learn and remember.
Peruri said he also supports a small-school model that keeps enrollment at any given school below 500. He said as schools exceed that threshold, they start to lose their "community feel." Peruri said the school district must focus on the bond measure, and that there is a definite need for a new campus.
Peruri said he wanted to wait for a board member to retire before running rather than challenge an incumbent. With three seats up for grabs this year, he said, a current board member is likely to not run for re-election.
Peruri is a board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula and the Citizens' Advisory Committee for Finance.
Gardner Bullis parent Vladimir Ivanovic recently announced his intent to run for a board seat, but said in the back of his mind he's had a desire to run for a long time. Ivanovic has attended school board meetings for the last three and a half years, and said he's aware of the issues facing the school district and what the challenges are.
Ivanovic said LASD is a great district that others seek to emulate, and that it's important to continue on that path. To do that, he said, the district needs to focus on a stable, long-term financial plan. As current chairman of the Citizens' Advisory Committee for Finance, Ivanovic said his role is to do just that; the committee reviews district finances, growing enrollment and demographic projections for the next five years.
Ivanovic said the five-year tentative agreement between Bullis Charter School and LASD is a "cease-fire," and said both sides dropping all litigation will free up millions of dollars to go back into education. He said the district still needs to deal with the charter school's encroachment on the Blach and Egan campuses, and there isn't a long-term solution to that yet.
Ivanovic said there's a hole in the district's facilities plan because there is no neighborhood school in the San Antonio Area. He said part of solving that problem is to build a relationship with the city of Mountain View, including the City Council.