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Huzzahs for Higgins

Original post made on Dec 9, 2008

After 230 board meetings during her six years as a trustee of the elementary school district, Gloria Higgins has decided to trade the board room for the classroom.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 5, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (16)

Posted by Joan
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Dec 9, 2008 at 8:32 am

Oh, I see how it works. Higgins is guaranteed job by Totter based on her past ties as a board member. What a ridiculous statement made by Totter, a public employee.

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Dec 9, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Boy, Joan. Perhaps the more important thing to take away from the article is the exceptional public service provided by Gloria over the years.

Thank you, Gloria, for all you and your family have done for our kids!

Posted by Tom S.
a resident of Whisman Station
on Dec 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Based on your line of thought Eric, you'd then say Bush has done a great job as President despite the mess we're in as a nation. The schools are currently over-crowded and under-performing, all on Higgins' watch. From what I can tell, she has only been interested in propping up the PACT program in which her children attended. Self-serving to say the least. And now the district sounds off suggesting they will employ her as a teacher. Way to go girl!

Posted by Marie
a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2008 at 1:14 pm

As for over-crowded schools -- Palo Alto and Los Altos are having the same problems. I just read to day in Palo Alto online that PAUSD needs to open another school. Los Altos just re-opened Bullis and redrew boundaries because of crowding. They didn't expect that, either. Maybe it was Gloria's fault.

Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 16, 2008 at 9:17 am

Speaking somewhat cynically, maybe Higgins just became a board member to exert the necessary influence needed to get her kids into the schools and programs of her choice. Who's going to say no to a board member?

We need people with large corporate business experience (hopefully not the corrupt king) guiding our schools and not mothers of children. Sounds harsh, I realize, but just look at who's leading the boards of neighnboring school districts.

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Joan,Tom and Ned, since you are all cleary spending many hours making postive contributions to our school district, your highly informed comments are quite appreciated. Anonymous complaints are much easier than adding value.

Gloria and her husband have each done more for our district than any 10 people I can think of. To suggest that the thousands of hours Gloria has given for our kids was so she could lock up a job as an underpaid teacher is just bizarre.

Posted by Enough!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 19, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Give us a break, eric. This isn't a popularity contest. Plenty of parents put time into their schools. Fact it, Higgings was an elected public official whose legacy is over-crowded and poor-performing schools. There is also an issue of increased gang activity in the school. And if you want to talk about teachers and their salaries, talk about the dismal if non-existent raises teachers have received under Higgins tenure. I'll save you the effort and provide you the answer: when you factor in inflation they fell 4%, and this does not consider higher rate of the local cost of living. In sum, I'll echo Tom's comment, eric, and say ou might as well become a Republican now and talk about the great state Bush left this country in.

Posted by close reader
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2008 at 4:32 pm

I see "Enough" is making another drive-by spray of comments in Town Square. Interesting that in the message he left in another comment thread a couple minutes ago, illegal immigrants are to blame for our ills, and in this one it's Gloria Higgins' fault. Make up your mind.

Posted by Enough!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 19, 2008 at 4:37 pm

"Close reader"... and your comments related to the issues in the articles are what? I missed them.

Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 19, 2008 at 4:51 pm

A "close reader" with a far off ability to grasp concepts and make use of written words.

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Dec 21, 2008 at 1:25 am

Fine, Enough. What have YOU done for the schools? You whine a good game, but I'd wager good money that you are all talk. If you cant step up and do something, then pipe down. And if you can name 3 families in the district that have done half of what Gloria's has, then I'll withdraw from this discussion. But you cant, and I doubt that you even have any stake in the district. Very, very sad

Posted by Enough!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 21, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Myself and plenty of other families are engaged in this district to degrees you will never know, eric, so stop supposing you do. Just maybe you are not standing in the center of the world. Just maybe people just want the best for their children in schools and aren't getting it. (BTW, you should be mindful of your past appeals to logical analysis.) But this article was about Higgins' tenure as a board member, a position she's now resigned from. Her commitment would have been better proven if she finished out her term and repaired the mess the schools are in. What's with that anyway? Just walk away? This board has so many resignations it's alarming. If my work schedule and travelling allowed for it, I would even consider running but I can't. Besides which I keep at least some Mountain View families employed by showing up to work and foresaking a greater involvement in the schools. Either way, Higgins leaves the schools in a mess, overcrowded and with flat achievement after having plummeted to ridiculous lows. She was a PACT parent who saw that PACT got everything they wanted. Sounds like special interests at work. If I recall correctly, she also was one who approved those plumped-up and lucrative retirement benefits for those retired administrators a few years ago... legal maybe, but unethical... and now we find the state's economy in such a mess. They'll cut spending on education and raise class sizes in the future, but those administrators will continue to get their plumped-up retirement checks after walking away from a train wreck of a district. Is it any wonder? We settle for average and expect nothing and get less, that is the legacy of Higgins whether she likes it or not or meant it or not. School board members need to be held accountable (that word in education that no one likes to hear). And then she quits to become a public school teacher? Alarming. Our problem in Mountain View is that the talent from families that could really help us has already packed up their kids and put them in private schools.

Posted by close reader
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2008 at 10:45 am

Ned and Enough:

My brief comment was not about "the issues in the articles," they were about you and the viability of your opinions, which is dubious. Did you not get that? Trouble with grasping concepts, Ned?

As for the issues in the articles, per Enough:
"Her commitment would have been better proven if she finished out her term and repaired the mess the schools are in. What's with that anyway? Just walk away?"

This is so great ... yeah, what's WITH that anyway? Where does she get off working for the schools and then leaving? Better she was like me: don't lift a finger for the schools but do lots of armchair quarterbacking about it. I'm sure I could have "fixed the mess the schools are in," had I tried, because ... well, because I can do anything. I just choose not to.

Anybody with eyes, ears and young children, as I have, knows that the state's public school mess is a long time coming, has been slowing building for decades, is currently being exacerbated by the horrible economy and budget impasse in Sacramento, is tied into global forces such as immigration and the housing market, and is well beyond the reach of one measly trustee in some elementary school district somewhere. To scapegoat Higgins is pathetic and just lame.

Ned: I can write, speak and think circles around you any day.

Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 22, 2008 at 1:23 pm

So, close reader, some one who runs for school board and then resigns without finishing their term is just given a pass? The school board is not held accountable to performance? What about the democratic process that was hijacked by her leaving mid term? She was elected to serve and is now just walking away. Maybe she should have never run for re-election. Beyond that it does seems pretty suspicious that Higgings resigns from her board chair the minute her children clear the grade levels of the PACT program. But you refuse to address these issues. It's all very convenient.

More ironic and as a counter to your argument, when the economy was thriving in California, the MV school district was perhaps producing its worst results, so your correlation of the schools and the economy just doesn't fly. There are many, many school districts in this state that are doing much better that MV despite all the excuses you have piled on here.

It is true there are a lot of reasons schools are doing poorly in this state. But in this district, the unstable and constantly shifting board is certainly of no help.

Posted by Don Frances
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Dec 22, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

A few statements in the last post are incorrect, and at least one is due to a poor choice of words in our story. A correction is in order.

Gloria Higgins didn't "resign her position," as our story states. She did not leave mid-term. In fact she chose not to run again; Nov. 20 was the last day of her second and final term. Her space on the board of trustees was filled by Steve Olson, who ran unopposed.

It's a stretch to call the Mountain View Whisman board "unstable and constantly shifting." Except for Olson and Ed Baily, the Google executive who joined last year, the members of this board have been there for many years.

Posted by parent
a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Ned, your suggestion that Gloria Higgins only ran for the board to get her kids into PACT and "quit" as soon as they outgrew the PACT program are flat-out wrong. Her kids were enrolled in PACT before she became a board member, and her youngest has been in middle school for a year and a half. And, as Don Frances pointed out, she did not quit but finished her term.

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