Town Square

School board elects president for second year, breaking precedent

Original post made on Dec 21, 2019

The Mountain View Whisman School District took the rare step last week of electing its board president for a second term, a break with tradition while the board handles complex deals and cross-agency partnerships.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, December 21, 2019, 11:08 AM


Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Dec 21, 2019 at 1:42 pm

The reason for the tradition of rotating board members into the role of president is that the role is not meant to have more power than their equally elected colleagues. The rotation allows each board member a year to build closer and more effective relationships with the superintendent and to reduce political posturing among trustees.

The community deserves to know that this board prevented two elected trustees from ever rotating into that position during their four years (Coladonato and Nelson). This no doubt, contributed to the lack of trust between these board members and the superintendent. While it may be debatable if a censured trustee should be the face of the board, there is no reason Mr. Coladonato was denied other than the board felt it knew better than the voters.

Board President Wilson is an outstanding board trustee; these questions are about institutional norms and not the merits of her tenure.

Posted by Standing Ovation
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 21, 2019 at 1:47 pm

Chiang is correct, but Wheeler has always exercised way too much influence on the Board. Here now again she is the explainer-in-chief, breaking silence after months of a smug attitude whenever the public dare criticize the district's poor performance her poor decisions and constant backing of charlatan superintendents. She is a clear sign of the Deep State even here on our local school board. Thanks to Wheeler we have had mediocre schools in a city surrounded by stellar ones. Wilson is nothing but a puppet now, particularly after the disastrous tenure of Gutierrez who was appointed by Wheeler to replace Chiang when he resigned. We already know that Blakley has no spine to stand up to Wheeler, and it looks to be the same with Conley. So it's only natural now that Wheeler freeze the Board in place. Time to drain the swamp and either recall them all or vote them out next election.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 2, 2020 at 3:25 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

It is entirely fine and legal for Trustees Wheeler and Blakely to motion and second Wilson to be Board President for a second consecutive term. As Wheeler reported in a previous Minutes of the MVWSD, she and Blakely had a meeting together a few weeks before. Two trustees, deciding together - who they would jointly support? Entirely within the Brown Act!

Ellen Wheeler knows how to multiply her one-vote power! And usually, she does not run afoul the law limiting elected officials.

I depended on Wheeler to be 'the third', that magic legislative majority number, that I depended upon to get a square deal for my constituents in the North East Quadrant of MVWSD. A neighborhood K-5 school, like all other Quadrants. I could not have done that with just Coladonado and then Wilson help. Wheeler was necessary.

Posted by Joel Lachter
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 6, 2020 at 12:00 am

Joel Lachter is a registered user.

@Standing Ovation. I am wondering why you are so disappointed with the MVWSD schools. I was under the impression that test scores pretty much tracked demographics. I took a quick look at the overall CAASPP scores for MVWSD vs Sunnyvale and Palo Alto. Sunnyvale seems to have about the same % economically disadvantaged students as MVWSD, and notably worse overall scores. Palo Alto has a lot fewer economically disadvantaged students, and better scores, but the economically disadvantaged students don’t seem to be doing all that much better than at MVWSD. I don’t have a lot of time right now to do a careful analysis but if you could point out where you are seeing these differences, I would like to take a look.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 6, 2020 at 1:24 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

thank you Joel for being another voice of Reason - but when a poster ends with "recall" or throw ALL the bums out! Out! I am not quite sure calm reasoning will follow.

MVWSD Common Core (Math and English Language) testing [CAASP report or Dashboard report in 'ed speak'] shows that the District is and has been leading comparable districts. We are above state comparable districts in Both White and Hispanic student sub groups.

However: ACADEMIC GAP (White - Hispanic) is worse than almost all such "positive outlier" districts in the state (recent research report*) and in The Nation (Dr. Reardon/Stanford). By 3:1 in a statistically based metric, MVWSD Whites are doing Much Better than Hispanics in relative improvement above the state averages. (fig. 4)*

* from Dr. Linda Darling-Hammon/ now Calif. Bd. of Education President
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