The highest schooling place in Alameda County is being contested on the poll for the primary time in eight years, as two-term incumbent Superintendent of Faculties L.Ok. Monroe faces off in opposition to Alysse Castro, an Alameda resident who works in a management place with the San Francisco Unified Faculty District.
Not like native college districts the place superintendents are employed by elected board members, the county superintendent is chosen straight by the voters.
The position has been forged into the highlight for residents maybe greater than ever on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, as selections and steerage from the Alameda County Workplace of Training has typically impacted actions in native districts.
One set of choices made by Monroe and her administration in the course of the pandemic has been thrust into the marketing campaign discourse in current weeks.
Critics have referred to as into query the distribution of stipends for COVID-19 response duties to sure county schooling staff, together with managers who’ve obtained between $15,000 and $22,500 within the pandemic by way of April. Monroe didn’t take residence a stipend, however some have alleged favoritism and politics had been motivations at play.
The Alameda County Board of Training mentioned the matter in an informational report finally week’s public assembly, the place Monroe addressed the method head-on.
“Managers had been tasked, together with our affiliate superintendents, with figuring out those who had carried out work that was deemed above and past, and put forth these names for receiving stipend funds that wanted to be spent in very brief order. In order that’s how that occurred,” Monroe stated in the course of the Could 10 board assembly.
“People stored a report of the duties that they did, however there was not an hourly time accounting or any of that,” she added. “However we all know what the duties that had been carried out, and we additionally know what the standards had been, in very broad strokes.”
Castro, who boasts union endorsements together with the California Lecturers Affiliation, native academics unions together with Pleasanton and Dublin, and the California Faculty Staff Affiliation, launched a press release late final month denouncing the stipend payout course of.
“It’s unacceptable that categorised staff had been an afterthought when distributing the COVID mitigation funds. CSEA members constantly present up for our college students and for a lot too lengthy, staff have felt left behind and unseen by present management,” Castro stated, whereas vowing to “at all times work transparently and pretty with employees and workers.”
As for total marketing campaign objectives, Castro cites six prime themes on her web site: “break the school-to-prison pipeline; embed techniques of care in faculties; our children deserve ensures, not selections; academics from our neighborhood for our neighborhood; security comes from assist; and personalize studying for fairness and company.”
“I’m the very best candidate due to I’ve an extended historical past of doing extra with much less, getting higher than common outcomes for teenagers and academics, and I’m supported by educators as a result of I assist educators — together with financially,” Castro stated briefly feedback to the Weekly.
She additionally described how her experiences as a highschool principal and a resident of Alameda, a neighborhood she stated “has an amazing deal in widespread with the cities of the Tri-Valley,” have ready her for the superintendent position.
“I perceive what it’s like to steer faculties the place all the pieces is completed on a shoestring price range and we now have to ensure our faculties actually can serve the extremely various wants of each child throughout an unbelievable vary of presents and challenges,” Castro stated.
“Typically our small and mid-sized districts get little in the best way of county providers as a result of their wants are overshadowed by the large city districts, however there are nonetheless ways in which the County Workplace of Ed can lighten the load for smaller districts by offering economies of scale that assist our native districts focus their assets in their very own lecture rooms,” she added.
For Monroe, who has led the county workplace since successful a runoff election in 2014 after which an uncontested poll in 2018, her marketing campaign theme is “management and advocacy in service of all college students.”
“As a second era instructor and principal, and now Superintendent of Faculties, pupil studying is core to my coverage selections,” she informed the Weekly. “College students should have the tutorial alternatives and assist providers wanted to thrive in school and in life — not simply academically, however socially and emotionally.”
Monroe has earned endorsements from schooling leaders comparable to State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and 5 of the seven county board members, in addition to different fellow elected leaders.
“From our youngest learners to our younger adults, my focus is on growing top quality early studying experiences for our preschoolers; offering work-based studying, together with internships in STEAM and schooling, along with difficult curriculum to make sure college students have what they should be profession and school prepared; growing the pipeline of various academics and giving them the coaching and mentorship they should be profitable educators; and offering peer management and social emotional studying,” she stated.
“For me, pupil studying and well-being are paramount to maintain on the forefront of all the pieces we do on the Alameda County Workplace of Training,” Monroe added. “I’ll by no means again down with regards to combating for all that’s potential for each pupil in Alameda County and past.”