Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 27, 2012

You asked, they answered: Ron Mooney, School Board candidate

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Tags: , , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

1. Turnover of principals at Wood, Lincoln, Encinal and other schools have been high, how important do you think stable leadership is for schools?

I believe effective leadership is very important at each school site, and stability is a crucial part of that. As a parent of students that have attended two listed sites and as a Board member, I realize the difficulty in finding leadership that fits each sites with all the expected skills. While turnover can be frustrating in the short term, I believe it is more important to find the best leaders, whom we can support and develop for long-term leadership.

2. Describe your understanding of how Measure A funds have been allocated and what steps will you take to restore confidence in the voters who are angry about the way the funds generated by Measure A have been used?

Measure A funds have been allocated, and spent, exactly the way the ballot measure was stated. (Maintaining Small Class Sizes for grades K-3; Maintaining High Quality Neighborhood Elementary Schools; Secondary School Choice Initiative and AP Courses; Programs to Close the Achievement Gap; High School Athletics Programs; Enrichment Programs; Attract and Retain Excellent Teachers; Counseling and Student Support Services; Alameda Charter Schools; Technology; Adult Education)

It is frustrating to see intentional miss-statements about our spending and we try to correct them as best we can. By issuing regular reports, advising the stakeholders and news outlets of our financial picture including Measure A budgeting and actual spending, I hope we can communicate to all the facts to the community.

3. What criteria would you use to determine if a teacher was effective or ineffective, and based on that criteria, what should be done to ensure that the district only employs effective teachers.

This already is a subject of debate in the State and part of negotiations. We must agree on/find multiple fair measures to use on a consistent basis in order to determine effectiveness. These criteria must take into account the different styles and types of professional education strategies, not just have a single focus. Using agreed upon criteria, all staff will need to be trained, coached and evaluated in order to have the most effective teachers for our children. Using Master Teachers and administration, we should support the few ineffective teachers that we may have so that they may become more effective. I would encourage anyone to request a visit to our schools to see the wonderful teachers we have every day in Alameda!

4. What criteria would you use to determine if AUSD administration staff was effective or ineffective, and based on that criteria, what should be done to ensure that the district only employs effective administrators.

Very similar to teachers, administration evaluations need to involve fair and multiple measures that can be used on a consistent basis to determine effectiveness. These criteria must take into account the different styles and types of professional education strategies, as well as management skills need for the specific jobs. Using agreed upon criteria all staff will need to be trained, coached and evaluated to have the most effective administrators for our staff, children and community. Again, using managers and coaches we should support our staff to make sure we have only effective administrators.

5. If elected, what will you do to be proactive about securing adequate funding for our children? What outside-of-the-box ideas do you have to force the politicians to adequately fund our schools now?

I urge all to vote and actively support Propositions 30 and 38.

Unfortunately it seems that we must rely on the Courts to force Sacramento to change the way our schools are funded. That is what happened decades ago, and what AUSD and other districts are trying to do now with the Robles-Wong lawsuit. The reality is that it will be a long process, much too long, but hopefully in the coming years there will be some action by the Court or legislature to actual have some logic to the system and then adequate funding may follow.
Until the State economic picture dramatically improves, we need to continue to protect our schools with local funding. I have been advocating, working and volunteering for local funding for all of my time in Alameda, From the Alameda Education Foundation to PTA. Since 2000 I have given my best efforts to lead our parcel tax efforts to inform voters and the public about our needs, the funding from the State and the balance we must have to achieve the minimum education our students deserve. I meet with our State representatives, fellow local board members and advocates for education. I will continue those efforts, inside and outside of the system.

6. What single educational program and/or improvement will you push or recommend to better AUSD and describe the program and/or improvement.

Our public education system is complex especially across a K-12 district. Implementation of the Master Plan is what I am pushing for and is discussed in the next question.

7. In 2010, AUSD adopted a Master Plan, explain your understanding of the Master Plan and AUSD’s implementation of the stated goals.

I am proud that we established the Master Plan. It was a main goal of mine during the 2008 election, and I am proud that we held the many workshops around Alameda to discuss our public school system and what we wanted for our community. We have begun the implementation of the Master Plan in many ways, but still need to keep our focus on doing it well. The means reviewing and reporting progress as well as adjusting implementation, if needed.

The Master Plan called for neighborhood schools with innovative programs, holding high expectations of students and staff, ensuring we operate efficiently as possible and increasing local funding. These items were split into 8 areas where we have created Goals and Strategies for the coming years. This link has them laid out for easy review.

We have already worked on increasing the efficiency of the Central Office. In addition, this year started the innovative programs at elementary schools (including the opening of the Maya Lin School), we have created the 10 Steps to Success goals, a reporting structure and of course passed Measure A thanks to so many community members stepping up to discuss the need and vote for our program.

8. As an elected official what is your specific role in promoting civic engagement as opposed to staff’s role?

My role is to make sure that we communicate as widely as possible the information regarding the school district to all stakeholders. To do this we must make sure policies are in place to give clear direction to staff, tools are available for efficient transmission and availability of information and to make sure staff is explaining the complexities of the numerous issues in as plain (non-technical) language as possible. We must have high expectations that our Superintendent, administrators and principals will help and lead the community engagement at their sites and throughout the District.

9. Who is funding your campaign and which groups and individuals have endorsed your candidacy?

I am funding my own campaign at this point, have not asked for groups to support me financially. My endorsements will be up on my website:

Bonus Question: There are multiple seats available in the races for City Council, the School Board and the Hospital Board. Besides yourself, who will you be voting for in your race and why?

I will be voting for Niel Tam for School Board as over the past four years I have come to admire his quiet thoughtful and deep questioning of what our vision and goals are, need to be and where we are heading. His knowledge of the District, coming from over 40 years as a teacher and administrator provides such valuable information and at times contrast. I highly value his point of view and collaboration.

I will be voting for Mike Robles-Wong for School Board. I have seen Mike’s leadership to look at issues, ask deep questions, look for other views and then build consensus. His many years of experience, both work and civic, makes me confident he would be a fine member of the board.


  1. My overall impression is of a business as usual kind of guy. When he doesn’t have an answer, he either refuses to answer (single improvement? Not going there. See Master Plan), or cites the obvious (train good people well), and when asked to think out of the box comes up with a parcel tax reference (Wow! Keep those edgy ideas coming!). When asked about the use of Measure A funds, he gaslights, outright denying there’s a seriious issue, or, if there is, it’s because voters just don’t understand how complex these things are and we get confused. Now that I think about it…NEXT!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 27, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  2. In #3 “… we should support the few ineffective teachers that we may have so that they may become more effective.”
    “And when that doesn’t work, we’ll just transfer them to another school and start over.”

    And again in #4 ” Again, using managers and coaches we should support our staff to make sure we have only effective administrators.”

    Too bad we can’t do it the old-fashioned way.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 27, 2012 @ 8:49 am

  3. What evidence do you have, Denise, that the Measure A money HASN’T been spent as stated in ballot measure? Quotes from Barbara Kahn or your pissy indignation that Vital makes more money than you don’t count. What EVIDENCE, as in PROOF, do you have?

    Comment by Jack Schultz — September 27, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  4. 3. The ballot measure language was vague enough that almost any expenditure can be justified, so nobody’s saying they should be recalled or go to jail or any such thing. Don’t try to personalize it. I’m not the only voter who cried foul when the very first thing that was done was to enhance Vital’s salary and benefits package. It was a boneheaded, insensitive political move at the height of the recession, even if it was not outside of the parameters of the ballot measure. In spite of times being tough, voters supported the measure for the good of the children and this did not meet most folks’ idea of something that would do them any good, same with moving the AUSD offices in such a costly way. These two things, along now with the fence, are highly visible actions. Maybe most of the money was used how the voters intended but that is not something that’s easy to perceive without looking at a balance sheet, and few voters will. The question put to the candidates was what would they do to restore confidence in the voters who are angry about the way the money was used. Perception is not always reality but the reality for officials is that the voters’ perception can make or break efforts to get their support in the future.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 27, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  5. 4. Right on, Denise! Where’s that ‘Like’ button?

    Mr. Mooney says, “. . we need to continue to protect our schools with local funding. I have been advocating, working and volunteering for local funding for all of my time in Alameda.” So, can we expect that every time the state whacks our funds, we will pass another parcel tax to make up the difference? At what point will Alameda voters say “NO, enough is enough”? I don’t quite understand this concept; don’t we already pay state income taxes, isn’t the state supposed to fund our schools from the income taxes (and other taxes) we already pay? But we are so privileged to live in this Great. State. that we will gladly pay twice to fund our schools, through income (and those other) taxes, and again through another (and yet another) parcel tax?

    Folks. it’s time to hold our elected state legislator’s feet to the fire. They need to be told in no uncertain terms that we will not vote for them in November, unless and until they promise to backfund all the money stolen from our schools over the last several years, and, going forward, to fund our schools at a level that insures that our kids get the good education they deserve. We need a Day Of Rage in Sacramento. We need each of the one thousand school districts in the state (get it? we’re all in this together; we are all hurting) to send one yellow school bus loaded with voters to Sacramento to ‘lobby’ for our kids. We need to whack the politicians over the head with a big club to get their attention. Consider all the public school children there are in the state- how many voting parents, grandparents, teachers and administrators, and spouses of teachers and administrators are concerned about school funding? If we all stood together and told the pols that we will not vote for you unless and until. . (see above), do you think we might get their attention? Remember Prop 13? The taxpayers’ revolt? We can do it again.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — September 27, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  6. Denis, you clearly have never read the ballot measure. Ditto for district finances. Whose fault is it that your perceptions are inaccurate?

    As for personalizing, YOU have personalized the debate by constant bitching about valuable employee getting a fair raise hat wasn’t funded by the measure, which passed after recession ended.

    Comment by Jack Schultz — September 27, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  7. The recession has ended?

    Comment by Kristen — September 27, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  8. 6. Actually, I did read it. That’s how I know that the language provides plenty of wiggle room. Did you actually read my comments? You keep ignoring the fact that it doesn’t matter to voters that the school board adheres to the letter of the law. If voters think they are not getting what they voted for, they won’t re-elect the board members and they won’t support any more tax-based ballot measures. Since it looks like AUSD may need some tax-based measures in the future, it’s short sighted not to address this. As for Vital being a “valuable” employee getting a fair raise, I’m afraid her value has been questioned by a number of people more intimately familiar with her performance than I am and even the School Board members have been hard pressed to defend her fitness. Mike McMahon, at one point, implied that the adjustment was just a transition from training period compensation. BTW, you might want to alert the media about the end of the recession. Mr. Obama will be especially relieved to hear it, and Mr. Romney can throw in the towel and go back to minting money instead of spending it on TV ads.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 27, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  9. Google the following: recession ended in 2009

    We are on it. Alertly.

    Comment by The Media — September 27, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  10. #9: Thanks for the update. I will have to relay this wonderful news to all my still-unemployed neighbors, friends, and relatives! I’m sure they’ll be thrilled.

    Comment by Kristen — September 27, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  11. Recovery’s just around the corner:

    The United States has just announced an open-ended QE3; printing billions of dollars every month as they see fit. This reckless money creation, a weapon by the US to balance trade deficits, is causing havoc worldwide.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 27, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  12. Jack…It’s the power of printing paper….If people can’t afford to pay more taxes to run our Government you just print more and people that are holding the money is being devalued. You just keep spreading it out. It is how you redistribute wealth.There are reasons we went off Gold Standard. The Dollar is backed by faith. These are very interesting times.

    Comment by John — September 28, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  13. Ron Mooney will win, more power to you! Yes We Can! Young people are going to vote in numbers for him just watch

    Comment by peace — October 1, 2012 @ 12:28 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: