Del Norte Unified School District Board Candidates Forum

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In 2014, True North leaders in Del Norte participated in a strong integrated voter engagement program. Leaders from different LOCs collaborated and organized a forum for candidates running for the Del Norte Unified School District (DNUSD)'s Board of Trustees.

Leaders asked these questions of the candidates:

  1. Students need to feel safe and valued in order to learn. Youth identified bullying and harassment, especially of certain racial groups, sexual orientations, and those with disabilities as a problem in the school system. Students also reported that it is common for discipline policies to not be applied uniformly—if youth are caught doing the same thing, the punishments are not necessarily the same and students of color tend to receive harsher discipline measures. If elected, how would you hold the district accountable for reducing bullying and ensuring the discipline policies are applied uniformly?
  2. In May, 2014, the Del Norte County Unified School District began a three year extension of its agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to improve educational outcomes for students of color. The extension continues agreements relating to “professional development for teachers, staff and administrators that is race-conscious and focuses on cultural competence, diversity and implicit bias.” It also calls for the implementation of “curricula focused on local Native American cultures and language in 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 11th and 12th grades.” What are your ideas on how to ensure these agreements are met over the next three years?
  3. Under California's Local Control Funding Formula, school districts have more flexibility to spend money to improve schools and receive additional revenue on top of their baseline funding for low-income students, foster youth, and students who are English language learners. What specific policy changes will you advocate in the upcoming year to address the needs of these populations to improve their educational outcomes?
  4. We believe successful education policy must include students, parents, and our community in the decision-making process. The Local Control Funding Formula requires school districts to involve parents and the public in planning and decision making, including the development of Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs). These plans are to be updated annually. What are your plans to involve parents, students, and community members in decision making around budget priorities, especially in outlying communities?
  5. According to the US Census Bureau, 1 in 4 people in Del Norte County are living at or below the poverty line. Locally, the completion of a two or four year college degree significantly increases one’s earning potential. The percentage of high school graduates around California who have the necessary courses to enter a California State University (CSU) has increased consecutively for the last five years. In that same period, the percentage of graduates from Del Norte schools who have the necessary courses to enter a CSU school has been declining. What are your specific plans for ensuring that more graduates are adequately prepared to enter the workforce and/or further their education?