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Campaign Platform

"Students First” is my mantra.  As a Trustee, everything that I do starts and ends with one question:  "What is in the best interest of our students?"

As a current Trustee, I am well versed in the numerous challenges facing our District, but there are three that I view as critical to our future:

Employee Retention and Attraction

Over the last couple of years, the District has seen principals, teachers and staff leave the district for various reasons, including cost of living, higher salaries, housing costs and instability at the school sites. While some level of attrition is normal and expected, significant and constant change in relatively short periods of time at some of our school sites has had a negative impact on our student's achievement and social emotional learning.  

I firmly believe in improving teacher salaries and benefits - two of my four sisters are teachers, and I have seen how difficult it can be to raise a family on a teacher's salary. I worked hard to get out the vote in favor for Measure V last year, by canvassing the neighborhoods, meeting with community groups and managing the 20+ school and District voter outreach teams.  With the success of Measure V, the District was able to settle two teacher labor negotiations, resulting in teacher pay raises.  The attrition rate at our schools has since improved, but it still isn't enough.

Additionally, I am a strong proponent of teacher housing and sit on a regional committee investigating and partnering with other school districts to construct housing that teachers will be able to afford.  Later this year, I have asked that the District survey the teachers and staff to determine their interest in affordable teacher housing.  Based on their feedback, I plan to push the District forward in planning for and developing teacher housing.


Maintaining Fiscal Solvency

When I joined the School Board, the District was in a budget deficit spending cycle, and the annual budget was $7,000,000 per year in the negative.  This deficit was projected to grow to around $12,000,000 within the next couple of years.  In an absolute worst case scenario following repeated cycles of significant budget deficits, the State of California has the ability to take over districts due to mismanagement of funds.  To solve this issue, I worked hard to help pass Measure V, which resulted in the stabilization of the District's budget.  Measure V, however, does not solve all of our budgetary problems - it is only a 9-year parcel tax, and with the increasing cost of employee benefits and pensions, any imprudent spending could put us into another deficit spending cycle in 5-7 years.

I am constantly reviewing our expenditures and looking for ways for increase funding.  I am currently the Enrollment and Growth liaison for the District, and I monitor development activity in San Mateo and Foster City.  The District receives impact fees from developers, but the fees often don't cover the true cost of the development impacts to our schools and students.  I am in favor of developers partnering with school districts, and I plan on working with our cities to explore additional ways that developers can contribute in order to mitigate impacts on the District and to partner with us to improve the quality of our students' educational experiences.  Additionally, I am exploring ways to reduce our general fund energy costs by bringing more solar installations to our District.


Upgrading our Facilities

Our schools are old, and many need to be upgraded. Due to our recent deficit spending, maintaining and upgrading our school facilities have not been prioritized.  As Trustees, we receive numerous emails about our facilities, including sewer problems, gas leaks, roof leaks, and heating/cooling problems.  If we want our students to perform at their best, then we need to take care of the environment in which they are learning.  

Measure L, passed by voters in 2008, generally focused on safety and resulted in new upgrades to a majority of our school sites and the installation of security fencing throughout the District.  In 2015, voters passed Measure X, which focused on addressing capacity issues at a number of our schools (a result of increased residential development).  

In 2020, my plan is to push for a bond measure to focus on sustainability, school modernization and possibly teacher housing.  We teach our students to care for the environment.  Let's show them that we care too, by implementing solar energy systems, which will reduce our ongoing district-wide energy costs.  We need to modernize our schools and add air conditioning to every classroom, so our students and teachers aren't suffering during the hot months.  We also need to build affordable teacher housing to attract and retain high quality teachers to our District.  As a former City Planner and Public Works Project Manager, I have the requisite background and knowledge to make changes that help our current students and benefit future students as well.

In addition to the three issues outlined above, I believe in equity for all students, improving school to family communications, and improving transparency at the District.  

If you'd like to discuss any of these issues or are interested in discussing other concerns, please contact me or come to one of my meet and greets.  I welcome the discussion and feedback and am eager to meet you.

Paid for by Ken Chin for School Board 2019, FPPC ID #1419430
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