Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 2, 2012

You asked, they answered: Jon Murphy, School Board candidate

Filed under: Alameda, School — Tags: , , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:02 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?

Greater longevity of leadership would be a positive condition to maintain stability if in fact the school is  being well managed. However, the reasons for leaving needs to be investigated more with follow-up interviews and surveys of the managers who move on. Then offering perks and incentives which address those deterrents to staying would likely reduce the turnover.

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?

This new parcel tax will generate approximately $12 million per year for seven years. It has replaced the former Measure A (passed in 2005) and Measure H (passed in 2008).

From the following website here is the breakdown of how Measure A funds must legally be spent/allocated :

$3,120,000, (26% of $12,000,000)—-
“Attract and Retain Excellent Teachers – Maintenance of Current AEA Salary Schedule”; AEA stands for the Alameda Education Association, the labor bargaining unit for AUSD teachers.

$ 1,920,000 (16% of 12M)
would be dedicated to “Programs to Close the Achievement Gap,” and

$1,560,000 (13% of 12M) would be allocated to “maintaining manageable elementary class sizes with student to teacher ratios no greater than 25 to 1 in K-3 classrooms,”

$4,680,000 (39%) will pay for 18 the “full time equivalent” positions, to AUSD teachers’ salaries and pensions.

Just 3%, or $355,200, will be allocated to charter schools.

I would focus on analyzing how much I can afford to boost teachers’ salaries to being commensurate with other similar size districts with similar demographics because the teachers need a morale boost in light the recent overspending on attorney fees and posh administrative offices.

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.

There is current policy in place for teacher evaluative processes. To add another level of bureaucratic supervision of the process is not necessary, but there should be appointed personnel at each campus level already in place. This should be out of the hands of the district office.

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.

The hiring teams need to check on the references of all prospective new-hires and visit the location where they come from by conducting interviews on key personnel to determine the effectiveness of their leadership styles before the hiring committees decide to hire anyone.

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 would visit the schools and meet the teachers and the children and observe areas needing improvements and listen to their needs.

After further investigation I would likely push for two movements:
To determine if the lease agreement for the administrative office space can be modified or shortened due to poor use of public dollars.

I would look into spearheading a move to vote no confidence in our current Superintendent.

I would analyze the money spent from Measure A Funds and consult with the Budget Analyst to reinstate programs which were thriving. I would channel maximally allowed funding for the intended purpose of Programs to Close the Achievement Gap for the schools with highest needs—those with the lowest API and STAR scores.

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

I would channel maximally allowed funding for the intended purpose of Programs to Close the Achievement Gap for the schools with highest needs—those with the lowest API and STAR scores.

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

I believe it was the “Plan B” which projected for cost containment and cost cuts where the district could sustain itself if Measure A did not win approval of voters. It was nullified since the passing of Measure A.

In February 2010, the AUSD Master Plan was adopted by the Board of Education, calling for the establishment of “attractive school options to provide desirable choices and deepen student, family and community engagement in the youths’ lives and education.” AUSD staff worked with AEA to develop a process that would promote the development of Alternative Programs and Magnet Schools. Through a collaborative process, a proposal format was agreed upon.

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

Civic engagement is crucial as there are many stakeholders interested in sustaining our school district because they see our future leadership evolves from this system. Civic engagement is crucial for campaigning and forming positive liaisons between school board members and external stakeholders.

As an elected official I must listen to the key needs of the all the constituents and stakeholders which include: Students, parents, school staff, school and district staff, fellow school board members, taxpayers, the business community, police and fire departments, city planners, historic society, and many other community members. Our decisions impact our entire community.

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

AEA, CTA and out of pocket and small contributions from friends and family members are the sources of my funding. I do need additional support. I encourage anyone to contribute to Jon Murphy for School Board Member.
United Food Workers Union UFCW
St. Barnabas, my Church members and various Community Members support me as well
Mary Rudge Our former Poet Laureate is also promoting my cause.
Possibly CA Nurses Association and AFT and PFT

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?

For School Board I will be voting for Trish Spencer, Barbara Kahn and Myself so I can upset the balance to change the power structure of Graft and frivolous spending..

Obama Yes
Most other Dems as well
Yes on Prop 30
No on Prop 31
No on Prop 32
No on Prop 33
No on 34
Yes on 35
No on 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40


  1. These answers are really compelling — in a rubber-necking-at-scene-of-an-accident way.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — October 2, 2012 @ 8:39 am

  2. This guy doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance…and rightly so.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 2, 2012 @ 8:41 am

  3. Dear AEA Leadership,

    I have to give you props. Your recruitment and endorsement of this guy is one of the best public pranks I’ve come across in a while. His citation to the authority of David Howard in these responses is HILARIOUS! (But totally gave it away as a complete joke.) And if people want a really good laugh, they need go no further than the tape of his appearance at the City Democratic club forum. My favorite was his response the question about AB 5 which would have strengthened teacher evaluation standards by allowing limited use of test results. His discussion about how it was an insult to teachers to strengthen evaluation standards was beaucoup entertaining!!! (If you missed it, see it for yourself at 59 seconds in here: ) Next, I expect to be hearing that he’s the spouse of one of your members. Wouldn’t that be a gut-buster?

    OK, now that we’ve wiped the tears of laughter from our eyes and we’ve all had our jollies, isn’t it time to let everyone in on the joke? Some people might take you seriously. Kind of like the Iranian news agency that ran the story from The Onion last week about how rural Pennsylvanians prefer Ahmadinejad over Obama.

    Because if this guy actually got elected, it wouldn’t be funny. At all.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — October 2, 2012 @ 11:46 am

  4. Hee, hee, read this gem from Murph, “I believe teachers and AEA representatives should meet whenever labor issues arise but also regularly, perhaps once per month throughout the year to discuss collated teachers’ concerns and periodic updates about efficacy of pedagogy as a whole system”.

    Ahmadinejad over Obama, hmmm, and I’m not even from Pennsylvania.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 2, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  5. “If elected, what would be your top three priorities?
    Budget and Spending Accountability with real transparency
    Push to Resume Negotiations for Contract between AUSD and AEA
    Fight to increase teachers’ salaries equitable to other CA School Districts”

    Even though California Students are ranked at bottom nationally on Performance but Taeachers rank top in Pay.

    Reads Like another Future Board Member Fighting for Money for the Kids…Here kids you can have a nickel for your needs but we will take the other 95 cents …He is a Lock….

    Comment by John — October 2, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  6. Were # 1……

    State Budget Solutions’ third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion

    State Budget Solutions | by Cory Eucalitto, 8/28/12

    For the third consecutive year, State Budget Solutions examined state debt and calculated the total amount of debt that each state faces. This year’s report shows that aggregate debt across the 50 states amounted to $4.19 trillion. State debt calculations include a state’s regular debt, the fiscal year 2013 budget gap, outstanding unemployment trust fund loans, unfunded other post employment benefit liabilities, and the state’s unfunded pension liabilities. View the data spreadsheet here, and scroll down for data on all 50 states.

    The best and the worst

    California again trumped other states with a $617 billion debt. California’s debt is more than twice the size of New York‘s state debt, and New York has the second largest total debt burden in the nation. Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois rounded out the top five states with the most debt. Although New York and Texas moved up one and two spots, respectively, the states with the five largest debts remained unchanged from last year’s report.

    Comment by John — October 2, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  7. The cherry on your laughter sundae is the guys wife is a teacher in AUSD!

    Comment by vote of no confidence in Jon Murphy — October 2, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  8. Along with the chopped nuts, he’s a teacher at Merritt College.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 2, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  9. is it safe to say teachers are his “base”.

    Comment by John P.(L) — October 2, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

  10. Gee, what a fair discussion of the issues John and Jack. Who do you recommend we vote for and why?

    Comment by Commonsense — October 2, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  11. 7 — Stop! You’re killing me! Next, we’ll find out that he secretly sends his kids to parochial school where there aren’t unions and stuff. Because that would be a real laugh riot!

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — October 2, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

  12. #11 well if that is true, it needs to be brought out for the voters to know. There is nothing worse to me that a teacher who won’t send their children to the public school system they teach in.

    I also know how bad poor Trish Spencer would feel. Knowing her name would be associated with something this terrible. Remember how she stood up meeting after meeting reminding everyone how Bill Schaff’s daughter went to private school.

    Comment by vote of no confidence in Jon Murphy — October 2, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  13. 12 — Personally, I don’t care where a school board member or teacher’s kid goes to school. Different kids and different families have different needs, and parents need to figure out how to serve their kids’ and their family’s best interests. Sometimes it’s in their best interest to go to public school. Sometimes it’s in their best interest to have a kid go to private or parochial school or be homeschooled.

    What I do care about is hypocrisy. When Schaff was on the board, he never hid the fact that one of his kids was in private school and the others were in public school. If a candidate is going to run on a platform touting “real transparency,” s/he needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Let the public know what skin they have in the game. Or in the case of a candidate who is married to a member of the Union he may be bargaining with, let the voters know about all potential conflicts of interest.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — October 2, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

  14. All joking aside, although I appreciate anyone who’s willing to serve on a public board, I have several serious reservations about Jon Murphy as a school board candidate:

    1. He appears to have little experience in K-12 education, either as a volunteer or a professional.

    2. He appears to have little experience leading (or participating in) local community organizations.

    3. In his interviews and questionnaires, he shows very little understanding of AUSD’s policies, practices, or funding mechanisms. Nor does he appear to have much general knowledge about what’s happening with K-12 education at either the state or national level. This is worrisome. Our school district – like every school district in California – is facing some very serious and complex issues. I don’t expect new board members to know as much as incumbents, but they need to have at least a basic understanding of the issues with which they’ll be dealing during their term.

    4. Is it true that he’s married to an AUSD teacher? If it is, I think he should disclose it, especially considering the fact that he claims, in his candidate statement, to be both “non-partisan” and an advocate of “transparency.” If the rumor isn’t true, he might want to nip it in the bud — perhaps by posting something here. Although I don’t support Murphy as a school board candidate, I’ll gladly help him put that rumor to rest.

    Comment by Susan Davis — October 3, 2012 @ 9:01 am

  15. LMFAO! Until I read the comments, I thought Jon Murphy was an alias for Rob Bonta. Or a Spambot. He’s a real Alamedan, eh? He could start by going back to school & taking remedial grammar & English composition. Guess I’ll see him at church.

    Comment by vigi — October 4, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

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