School Board Election Q & A with the Candidates

October 26, 2011|By Megan O'Neil,
  • La Canada School Board candidates, from left: Andrew Blumenfeld, Jeanne Broberg, Ernest Koeppen and Ellen Multari. Voters will pick a candidate Nov. 8. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
La Canada School Board candidates, from left: Andrew…

A diverse field of four candidates — including a 20-year-old Princeton University student and a La Cañada Unified matriarch — has made the 2011 school board election the most exciting in recent memory.

The campaign has been fueled by hot-button items including the integration of four non-student professional development days into the 2011-12 school year, the use of teacher evaluations and the analysis of standardized testing data. A candidates’ forum on Oct. 17 drew 250 community members, more than twice the crowd at a similar event two years earlier.

With election day less than two weeks away — voters head to the polls Nov. 8 — incumbent Jeanne Broberg and challengers Ernest Koeppen, Ellen Multari and Andrew “AJ” Blumenfeld have shared with the La Cañada Valley Sun their positions on several major issues.


Andrew Blumenfeld

Valley Sun: What is your stance on the four additional non-student professional development days that were worked into the academic calendar this year?


Blumenfeld: My entire campaign can be summed up quite simply — student achievement has got to be our first and most important goal. This makes our students and parents our most important stakeholders.  

In this context, the four-day issue is particularly egregious. All the research and common sense in the world tells us we could hardly do more to adversely affect student achievement than to take students out of the classroom, and to reduce instructional days. So losing these days was a classic example of special interests winning the day.  

Concessions were made to adult interests (teachers' union), at the direct expense of students and families. It could not be more textbook “status quo,” and simply could not represent an easier call for me: bring back those days, and continue to extend instructional days/time.

We would hope that the community’s frustration might alert the school board to the need for a more open and accessible process, if nothing else. And yet most elementary parents in the community still do not know that two additional half-days were removed from the schedule. Our students and families lost five instructional days and this has yet to be communicated adequately to the community. We need to get back all of these days, and work to increase instructional time, not reduce it.

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