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Candidates seek to turn over a new leaf for Mountain View Whisman

Original post made on Oct 7, 2016

The Mountain View Whisman School District is at a critical juncture heading into the November election. Ambitious plans to build a new school, fix attendance boundaries and ease overcrowding all hang in the balance, and myriad plans are in place to bridge the achievement gap in the city's most under-performing and high-needs schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 7, 2016, 1:53 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by Wilson in the money?
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 7, 2016 at 3:25 pm

There is a related article on campaign money. It is in the paper mailed today. It says Wilson has ended up with more money and more supporters than she initially realized. I wonder if the Voice endorsement will help that further? I guess you can refile the campaign forms if you get more than $2,000.

It seems Guiterrez expected more than $2,000. And 'old school' politician MA-K (former council) along with former Board member Olson have given him total of $400. The council and board - campaign money articles are both interesting. Particularly if someone can decode the interactions! Too complex for me. Who endorsed who and how did money slush around?

Did Blakely really tell the Voice that she can have an influence on instruction with "one or two minutes" of comment? Maybe she writes persuasive legal stuff real well.

Posted by reader
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm

I could be mistaken, but the above post by "Wilson in the money?" bears a strong resemblance to the writing style of an outgoing, outspoken board member who does not live in the Gemello neighborhood. Just a hunch.

All four are excellent candidates and I sincerely hope that the 4th vote-getter will, in the next election cycle, run again and be elected to the MVWSD board.

Posted by Wilson in the money?
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 7, 2016 at 7:18 pm

I endorse everyone. The city council too. They are all civic minded people. I just will not vote for everyone.

Posted by Wilson in the money?
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm

@ reader; as some have said Nelson may be permanently “dysfunctional” by December

money race; Gutierrez, Wilson then Blakely & Darrah

endorsement race; from the web pages mentioned in the article

Gutierrez; MVWSD trustee Juan Aranda (former), Steve Olson (former), Fiona Walter (former), William Lambert, Ellen Wheeler
Darrah; MVWSD trustee Juan Aranda (former), Steve Olson (former), Fiona Walter (former)
Blakey; MVWSD trustee Steve Olson (former), Fiona Walter (former), Jose Gutierrez
Wilson; MVWSD trustee Juan Aranda (former), Rodger Noel (former)

Posted by BD
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 11, 2016 at 10:19 am

I am going to ask a question that could come across as negative but is truly not intended that way because all of these candidates seem qualified.

Is it a conflict of interest for a board member to be married to a teacher, given the board's role in setting teacher salaries? It seems like Mr. Darrah be voting on his own household income unless he recuses himself from those discussions, and I'm not sure it's wise to have only two remaining board members to decide those substantive issues.

Posted by reader
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm


There are 5 board members altogether. Two current board members (Nelson, Lambert) are not running for re-election, Mr. Gutierrez is running for re-election, so 3 open slots.

That's a good question and there are probably others who are wondering the same thing. Mr. Darrah could recuse himself from any votes that constitute a conflict of interest. I'm not sure if or when recusal is mandatory or recommended. School board trustees have typically been parents of current MVWSD students and therefore directly impacted by board decisions that impact the entire district or their child's school.

Posted by BD
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 12, 2016 at 11:51 am

Thank you, @reader. Of course many board members have a personal connection to the district, but it seems like being married to a teacher would be a different kind of "stake" than having a student enrolled. Anyway, just something for me to mull over between now and election day.

Posted by I_Got_mine
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 12, 2016 at 10:37 pm

How about building a High School in that " empty lot " near city hall? You could even name the building " Mountain View High School ". That has a nice ring to it...

Graduate MVHS, Class of 1973

Posted by Wilson in the Money?
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 22, 2016 at 8:40 am

@BD It does not seem that Mr. Darrah has any particularly large conflicts. This comes up at many government boards and councils. If the economic conflict is beyond what is tolerated - the legal counsel will request a recusal. That has happened at the City, for two council member who have El Camino Real economic ties. (it is voluntary - but minor criminal prosecution can result if the DA decides a 'legal' conflict seems to exist and was ignored)

Gutierrez has a $650 contributor, by the same last name(?), that is a substitute teacher in the MVWSD. If this is the same type of minor economic conflict, it could easily be solved by the same minor remedies.
FPPC Public Access Portal link
Web Link

Posted by strategery
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 3, 2016 at 9:02 pm

The teachers' contract is negotiated between the union and the school district administration. The school district administration presents the negotiated deal to the board for approval. Darrah's conflict of interest is fairly narrow unless he is attaching specific conditions to his vote while the negotiations are going on or otherwise adopting a position that is not fiscally responsible.

20% turnover is excessively disruptive to the quality of instruction and higher salaries are called for. Unless you disagree with that position, I see no reason not to vote for Darrah on this basis.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Whisman Station

on Sep 26, 2017 at 2:50 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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