One of the races appearing on the Nov. 6 election ballot is Area 7 Santa Clara County Board of Education. Area 7 includes Morgan Hill Unified, Gilroy Unified, Evergreen, and a portion of Oak Grove and corresponding portion of East Side Union High school districts. Vying for the seat are incumbent Claudia Rossi and challenger Gino Borgioli. Both are Morgan Hill residents and former Morgan Hill Unified School District trustees.
The Santa Clara County Office of Education is governed by a seven-member elected board.
The Times sent Borgioli and Rossi the same list of three questions. Their answers, limited to 50 words, are printed below.
Santa Clara County
Board of Education
The hiring and retaining of highly qualified teachers has become more and more challenging. How would you help the local school district address this issue?
Enhancing the mentoring program coupled with specific achievement bonuses. Many teachers come to MHUSD for the professional development training then leave; therefore, finding incentives for them to stay is the answer.
What are some of your ideas for improving school safety and eliminating bullying in schools?
School safety is central to students feeling secure on campus. A central point of entry for all schools is the only answer. When I read for Project Cornerstone, it was a three-year program. I saw firsthand how students grew and were better prepared from bullying on campus. I would like to have a middle and high school version of PC.
If the school district discovered additional funds that needed to be allocated immediately, what areas would you like to see those funds go toward, and why?
I voted for NGSS because the student achievement scores improved a great deal in the pilot program at Sobrato. Working with the math department and students was the key. I would allocate extra funding to go directly to programs that enhance and improve student achievement, coupled with extra duty bonuses for teachers that improve student and classroom successes.
Hiring and retaining of highly qualified teachers
Every effort must be made to support a budget that aligns with our values as supporters of public education. In order to attract and retain highly qualified teachers, I would support budgetary adjustments which provide competitive salaries for teachers and class-size reductions. I would also support professional development opportunities for teachers who seek to advance to administrative positions.
School safety and bullying
I support partnerships with counseling centers in order to offer mental health counseling for students who display distress, recognizing we need to educate the whole child. I also support partnerships with nonprofits such as Silicon Valley FACES that have programs that create nurturing school climate and provide tools students can use to resolve conflict and engage with peers with respect, compassion and empathy.
Immediate allocation of additional funds
I would use these funds to reduce class size, which would allow students to receive more individualized attention. I would also invest in school-site tutoring/homework assistance centers staffed with newly graduated teachers in order to support students who have fallen behind academically or who have language barriers at home.