Interview with School Board Candidate Susan Lovenburg

Share:
Each day this week, the Vanguard will have an interview with one of the candidates for school board. The election is November 6, 2007. Today’s interview is with Susan Lovenburg. The other three interviews were done in person, verbally, recorded and transcribed. However, this interview was done via email for logistical reasons. Please bear that in my when you compare the responses from Ms. Lovenburg to other candidates.

1. Why are you running for the Davis School Board?

I believe that public education offers us the best opportunity to educate all children well, is a great societal equalizer, and that educators, parents, students, and the rest of our community share a responsibility for helping our children achieve their fullest potential. During my ten years of volunteer experience in Davis schools, I have gradually broadened my focus from my children’s classrooms, to their schools, to their several schools, and then to the district as a whole. This level of understanding – of our schools, teachers and students, and the issues they face – is critical knowledge for effective board members. I believe that I am ready to join the Board in providing responsible oversight of our District.

2. Tell us about your background and experience in education.

My father was in the Air Force as I was growing up, so we were often on the move. My family settled in upstate New York when I was in my teens. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Education from Cornell University, and a Master of Library Science from Syracuse University. In my professional life, I have worked in public, academic, and special libraries, and developed and delivered adult education programs.

My husband, Peter Robinson, is Canadian and we have lived in both the US and Canada. We moved to Davis in 1997 when Peter was hired as a research scientist in the UC Davis Department of Animal Science. We have three daughters: two attend Willett Elementary and one attended Emerson Junior High and is now a senior at Davis High School.

3. You have an extensive record as a parent-volunteer in the district, can you elaborate on that.

I have been active as a school volunteer for the ten years that I have lived in Davis. I began as editor of the Willett Elementary school newsletter in 1998 and continued that responsibility until spring of this year. I have been a classroom garden parent for five years and most recently the Willett Garden Coordinator. I administered school listserves at Willett and Emerson, and served as 2nd Vice President responsible for parent education at Davis High School last year, organizing sessions on topics such as standardized assessment, teen driving, and Answering the Questions of Substance Use. I served for two years as the PTA representative on the DHS Site Council and I attended the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee on behalf of Willett. I also attend Board of Education meetings on a frequent basis.

I chose these volunteer positions because they interested and challenged me, and provided opportunities to keep the parent community informed and connected to our schools.

4. What are your top educational priorities?

· Offering all students a high quality education
· Narrowing the achievement gap
· Maintaining our current educational programs despite decreased funding due to declining enrollment

5. What educational programs would like to add, modify, or enhance?

I am concerned that the District is currently deficit spending, using one time monies to pay ongoing expenses. For the health of our educational system, that cannot continue. All new spending must be carefully evaluated. That said, I am pleased that Measure Q, the instructional parcel tax that voters will be asked to renew this fall, includes funding for elementary math specialists, and an improved nutritional program using local farm fresh fruits and vegetables in the lunches served to our students in addition to the many other programs this parcel tax has always funded on an ongoing basis. I encourage all those who support Davis schools to vote yes on Measure Q.

I would also like to see us develop a stable funding source for school libraries. State funding has dropped precipitously over the last several years, leaving school libraries virtually unfunded and scrambling for site funds every year or dependent upon PTA and PTO support to meet basic educational program needs.

6. What are your feelings about GATE?

My view of GATE is similar to that of our other special magnet programs like Montessori, Spanish Immersion, Davis School for Independent Study, Martin Luther King High School, and Da Vinci High School. These programs offer various learning modalities to our many students, helping us to better serve their individual needs. They make our District unique and attract new families to our town. It is important that we not only preserve these programs, but ensure that they serve students in the best way possible.

7. As you know Davis schools are usually among the top schools in the state, however, last spring the Superintendent presented statistics that showed when compared to similar schools, Davis is in the middle pack as opposed at the top, so how do you respond to that and how do we improve the Davis schools?

Similar School Scores, like the Academic Performance Index, are based on student performance on STAR tests for a given school or district. There are varied opinions about the validity of this measure of achievement, but it does provide one means of evaluating how well our students are learning the content standards set forth by the state.

To improve the performance of Davis students on STAR tests, the focus needs to be on making sure that all students successfully learn the foundational skills outlined in the content standards. There are formative assessment tools available that can make this process more effective. Targeting intervention where it is particularly needed, as in the case of grade 4-6 math specialists, will also help address this need.

8. One the biggest concerns in the district has been lack of minority hires, how do we go about recruiting and hiring more minorities?

Historically the Davis school district has had difficulty attracting and keeping minority teachers and staff. Across the state and nation, the pool of minority teachers and administrators is small. Davis needs to recruit and retain a staff that reflects the cultural and racial diversity of our student body. I believe that with the recent hiring of Superintendent James Hammond, who is a person of color, we have made our District a more welcoming place to work. We must continue recruitment efforts to attract quality staff of all backgrounds and ethnic groups to our district, and also to provide encouragements for those already here to improve their qualifications and move up the ranks.

9. How do we close the achievement gap between on the one hand Whites and Asians and on the other hand blacks and Hispanics?

Low income, Hispanic, African American, and English Language Learners significantly under-perform white and Asian students in our District. This is not a problem unique to Davis, and is not one easily solved, but I do believe we have the means and the ability to change this dynamic in our schools. A thoughtful, concerted, planned approach is necessary. The Achievement Gap Task Force began this work and it should be continued by our administrators, teachers, and paraeducators who work on a daily basis with these children. Again, making sure that all students learn foundational skills seems to be key to closing the gap, and passage of Measure Q will provide funding to assist in this effort.

10. What types of programs do you advocate for at-risk children?

Research shows that early intervention offers the best chance of improving the educational success of at-risk children. The Achievement Gap Task Force recommended that the District support submitting a grant proposal to Yolo County First Five Commission that would offer at-risk children entering kindergarten an opportunity for intensive preparation before the start of school.

Another recommendation of the Task Force is to explore the possibility of implementing a pilot extended day kindergarten for these students. Development of reading skills at this age is fundamental to later academic success. If the pilot shows student improvement, to the extent funding is available I would like to see a permanent extended day kindergarten in our District for at-risk students.

For older students, safety net programs such as the one offered by the Davis Bridge Educational Foundation have proven successful.

11. What is your view on Valley Oak?

I closely followed the work of the Best Uses of Schools Task Force and publicly supported their recommendation to close Valley Oak as a K-6 campus. Though I initially sought to maintain nine campuses, I came to believe that the decision to close best serves the students of Valley Oak and the District as a whole, not just financially but educationally. It was a heart-wrenching and difficult decision for me as an individual, for the Task Force, and for the Board – and I understand that it is one the families of Valley Oak find difficult to accept – but it has been made and it is time to look forward. My concern now is that the school closure be carefully planned and carried out so that Valley Oak students are given every opportunity to succeed and thrive in their new schools. This process would receive my special attention should I be elected to the Board.

With regard to the proposed charter school, legislation requires that a well-written charter with a good educational plan, sound finances, and commitment from sufficient teachers and families with students to participate, must be approved by the Board. It is my hope that the planners of the charter school are looking carefully at new approaches and new strategies for addressing the needs of low socioeconomic income and English Language Learners, rather than simply trying to preserve the existing Valley Oak program.

12. Given projections of falling enrollment, how can the district find new sources for revenue and also better utilize existing revenue?

I do believe that we are adjusting to the new reality of declining enrollment. That circumstance alone puts our fiscal health at risk since loss of ADA due to declining enrollment requires cuts that reach beyond the classroom. When budget trimming is required, we should look first at operational efficiencies and making sure that we do not fund more facilities and staff than necessary.

Additional ongoing funding sources are not easily found, but we should continually investigate outside and special program funding sources for specific projects, such as the full-day kindergarten pilot program. The sale of the Grande property will bring in additional funds for facilities projects. We need to review our other District assets as well.

13. I am interested in your opinion on the previous Superintendent David Murphy. What were the strengths of David Murphy and what do you think his weaknesses were?

Personnel issues are sensitive, and I know that the Board spent a great deal of time in closed session evaluating Superintendent Murphy’s job performance prior to accepting his resignation. I am not privy to those discussions and can only speak to what I personally observed. While I believe David Murphy served the District admirably for many years, particularly in the area of curriculum development, it was apparent that he delegated a great deal of responsibility for District finances to others on staff. The superintendent is ultimately responsible, however, for supervising and managing those underneath him and knowledge of finances is essential to creating and maintaining good educational programs. Toward the end of David Murphy’s tenure, it was clear that communication and confidence between the Board and the Superintendent were broken, and the Board could no longer effectively conduct its role of responsible oversight on behalf of the community.

14. You were at the Superintendent announcement the other night, what is your reaction to the hiring of the new Superintendent?

I look forward to working with Superintendent James Hammond in whatever capacity my future holds. He appears to have the qualifications, experience, and enthusiasm to lead our District to new levels of success.

15. How do you foresee working with the new superintendent if elected? What role would you like to see the new superintendent play in the district and what role do you see the board performing?

The Board of Education establishes educational goals for the District and provides fiscal oversight. The Superintendent manages the day-to-day operation of our schools. The Board is ultimately responsible to the community for the success of this effort, and if elected, I would take that responsibility seriously, never forgetting that our educational system is here to serve students and their families. But respectful communication between the Board, the Superintendent, and all District staff is critical to moving the district forward in a positive direction.

16. What book are you reading right now?

As a librarian, I’ve waited years for someone to ask me about MY reading preferences! I just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows while on vacation. I’m reading The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White to my younger girls. I’m in the middle of Why Lincoln Matters by Mario Cuomo, Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge, and The Journals of Lewis and Clark, though I’m embarrassed to tell you how long that one has been in progress. Favorite authors are Jane Austen and E.B. White (especially One Man’s Meat), and I love Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney and Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.

17. What political figure either of the past or contemporary do you most admire?

I have a special fondness for both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt for the good they were able to accomplish for our society at a time when we were particularly vulnerable to negative influences.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

76 thoughts on “Interview with School Board Candidate Susan Lovenburg”

  1. Anonymous

    “I served for two years as the PTA representative on the DHS Site Council and I attended the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee on behalf of Willett.”

    I have read this language numerous times in articles. Is Susan claiming she was a member of the DHS Site Council and the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee? Or did she just “attend” the meetings, the same way she attended and listened at all the meetings of the Best Uses of Schools Task Force (but was not on the Task Force) and some times attends (sits and listens) School BOard meetings?

  2. Anonymous

    “I served for two years as the PTA representative on the DHS Site Council and I attended the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee on behalf of Willett.”

    I have read this language numerous times in articles. Is Susan claiming she was a member of the DHS Site Council and the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee? Or did she just “attend” the meetings, the same way she attended and listened at all the meetings of the Best Uses of Schools Task Force (but was not on the Task Force) and some times attends (sits and listens) School BOard meetings?

  3. Anonymous

    “I served for two years as the PTA representative on the DHS Site Council and I attended the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee on behalf of Willett.”

    I have read this language numerous times in articles. Is Susan claiming she was a member of the DHS Site Council and the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee? Or did she just “attend” the meetings, the same way she attended and listened at all the meetings of the Best Uses of Schools Task Force (but was not on the Task Force) and some times attends (sits and listens) School BOard meetings?

  4. Anonymous

    “I served for two years as the PTA representative on the DHS Site Council and I attended the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee on behalf of Willett.”

    I have read this language numerous times in articles. Is Susan claiming she was a member of the DHS Site Council and the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Committee? Or did she just “attend” the meetings, the same way she attended and listened at all the meetings of the Best Uses of Schools Task Force (but was not on the Task Force) and some times attends (sits and listens) School BOard meetings?

  5. davisite

    Susan Lovenburg’s interview replies are standard political rhetoric and unrevealing with the exception of her position on Valley Oak Elementary Charter School Plan. She is telling the charter school proponents to abandon their efforts as she does not support them, even if they get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. I strongly recommend that Susan Lovenburg NOT get your vote for Davis School Board.

  6. davisite

    Susan Lovenburg’s interview replies are standard political rhetoric and unrevealing with the exception of her position on Valley Oak Elementary Charter School Plan. She is telling the charter school proponents to abandon their efforts as she does not support them, even if they get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. I strongly recommend that Susan Lovenburg NOT get your vote for Davis School Board.

  7. davisite

    Susan Lovenburg’s interview replies are standard political rhetoric and unrevealing with the exception of her position on Valley Oak Elementary Charter School Plan. She is telling the charter school proponents to abandon their efforts as she does not support them, even if they get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. I strongly recommend that Susan Lovenburg NOT get your vote for Davis School Board.

  8. davisite

    Susan Lovenburg’s interview replies are standard political rhetoric and unrevealing with the exception of her position on Valley Oak Elementary Charter School Plan. She is telling the charter school proponents to abandon their efforts as she does not support them, even if they get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. I strongly recommend that Susan Lovenburg NOT get your vote for Davis School Board.

  9. Vincente

    Davisite:

    “With regard to the proposed charter school, legislation requires that a well-written charter with a good educational plan, sound finances, and commitment from sufficient teachers and families with students to participate, must be approved by the Board. It is my hope that the planners of the charter school are looking carefully at new approaches and new strategies for addressing the needs of low socioeconomic income and English Language Learners, rather than simply trying to preserve the existing Valley Oak program.”

    I don’t read the last line to mean that she opposes the charter school only that she would like them to consider new approaches. That said, I think a lot of the parents at Valley Oak believe that the current approaches are one of the reasons for preserving the school. So we will have to see where this all goes.

  10. Vincente

    Davisite:

    “With regard to the proposed charter school, legislation requires that a well-written charter with a good educational plan, sound finances, and commitment from sufficient teachers and families with students to participate, must be approved by the Board. It is my hope that the planners of the charter school are looking carefully at new approaches and new strategies for addressing the needs of low socioeconomic income and English Language Learners, rather than simply trying to preserve the existing Valley Oak program.”

    I don’t read the last line to mean that she opposes the charter school only that she would like them to consider new approaches. That said, I think a lot of the parents at Valley Oak believe that the current approaches are one of the reasons for preserving the school. So we will have to see where this all goes.

  11. Vincente

    Davisite:

    “With regard to the proposed charter school, legislation requires that a well-written charter with a good educational plan, sound finances, and commitment from sufficient teachers and families with students to participate, must be approved by the Board. It is my hope that the planners of the charter school are looking carefully at new approaches and new strategies for addressing the needs of low socioeconomic income and English Language Learners, rather than simply trying to preserve the existing Valley Oak program.”

    I don’t read the last line to mean that she opposes the charter school only that she would like them to consider new approaches. That said, I think a lot of the parents at Valley Oak believe that the current approaches are one of the reasons for preserving the school. So we will have to see where this all goes.

  12. Vincente

    Davisite:

    “With regard to the proposed charter school, legislation requires that a well-written charter with a good educational plan, sound finances, and commitment from sufficient teachers and families with students to participate, must be approved by the Board. It is my hope that the planners of the charter school are looking carefully at new approaches and new strategies for addressing the needs of low socioeconomic income and English Language Learners, rather than simply trying to preserve the existing Valley Oak program.”

    I don’t read the last line to mean that she opposes the charter school only that she would like them to consider new approaches. That said, I think a lot of the parents at Valley Oak believe that the current approaches are one of the reasons for preserving the school. So we will have to see where this all goes.

  13. davisite

    Susan Lovenburg said:
    “It is my hope that the planners of the charter school are LOOKING CAREFULLY at new approaches and new strategies for addressing the needs of low socioeconomic income and English Language Learners, rather than simply TRYING TO PRESERVE THE EXISTING VALLEY OAK PROGRAM.”(my caps for emphasis)

    Vincente: ..”looking carefully”…”trying to preserve the exisitng Valley Oak program”

    Lovenburg’s statements, along with her parroting of the PC distress felt by the Best Uses.. Committee and and Board majorities on their decision,appears to set the tone on this issue. If I am mistaken, I hope that she quickly clarifies her remarks. The Davis voters deserve to know whether our Board candidates will assist and support the VO Charter School plan if it meets the requirements.

  14. davisite

    Susan Lovenburg said:
    “It is my hope that the planners of the charter school are LOOKING CAREFULLY at new approaches and new strategies for addressing the needs of low socioeconomic income and English Language Learners, rather than simply TRYING TO PRESERVE THE EXISTING VALLEY OAK PROGRAM.”(my caps for emphasis)

    Vincente: ..”looking carefully”…”trying to preserve the exisitng Valley Oak program”

    Lovenburg’s statements, along with her parroting of the PC distress felt by the Best Uses.. Committee and and Board majorities on their decision,appears to set the tone on this issue. If I am mistaken, I hope that she quickly clarifies her remarks. The Davis voters deserve to know whether our Board candidates will assist and support the VO Charter School plan if it meets the requirements.

  15. davisite

    Susan Lovenburg said:
    “It is my hope that the planners of the charter school are LOOKING CAREFULLY at new approaches and new strategies for addressing the needs of low socioeconomic income and English Language Learners, rather than simply TRYING TO PRESERVE THE EXISTING VALLEY OAK PROGRAM.”(my caps for emphasis)

    Vincente: ..”looking carefully”…”trying to preserve the exisitng Valley Oak program”

    Lovenburg’s statements, along with her parroting of the PC distress felt by the Best Uses.. Committee and and Board majorities on their decision,appears to set the tone on this issue. If I am mistaken, I hope that she quickly clarifies her remarks. The Davis voters deserve to know whether our Board candidates will assist and support the VO Charter School plan if it meets the requirements.

  16. davisite

    Susan Lovenburg said:
    “It is my hope that the planners of the charter school are LOOKING CAREFULLY at new approaches and new strategies for addressing the needs of low socioeconomic income and English Language Learners, rather than simply TRYING TO PRESERVE THE EXISTING VALLEY OAK PROGRAM.”(my caps for emphasis)

    Vincente: ..”looking carefully”…”trying to preserve the exisitng Valley Oak program”

    Lovenburg’s statements, along with her parroting of the PC distress felt by the Best Uses.. Committee and and Board majorities on their decision,appears to set the tone on this issue. If I am mistaken, I hope that she quickly clarifies her remarks. The Davis voters deserve to know whether our Board candidates will assist and support the VO Charter School plan if it meets the requirements.

  17. Carl Jorgensen

    I strongly recommend that Doug and the rest of us develop more detailed and Davis-specific questions about possible racial bias in the public schools for the school board candidates. Whereas the issues of hiring and achievement level are important, there are many other questions that need to be addressed.
    Ms. Lovenburg’s responses to the questions asked of her do not even hint at the possibility of structural or attitudinal racial bias in the Davis public schools; at least none that a racially sensitive school superintendent would not fix
    I do not want to provide a “prep” list for the candidates here, but I pretty quickly thought of five recent public controversies within a couple of minutes. I will only vote for a candidate who is knowledgeable about racial bias issues.
    Here is a question I am thinking of asking candidates. I suggest readers develop their own question.
    “There have been charges of racial bias in the Davis schools that go beyond the issues of failure to hire people of color and lower achievement of students of color. Name some of these controversies that you are aware of. Give your judgment on two of them.”
    Perhaps we should ask candidates whether they are aware of the recent student report on racial issues in the Davis schools, what important issues it raises, and what actions the candidate would take on a couple of these issues.
    I withhold final judgment on Ms. Lovenburg’s suitability for the school board until I know more about what she knows and what she doesn’t know.

  18. Carl Jorgensen

    I strongly recommend that Doug and the rest of us develop more detailed and Davis-specific questions about possible racial bias in the public schools for the school board candidates. Whereas the issues of hiring and achievement level are important, there are many other questions that need to be addressed.
    Ms. Lovenburg’s responses to the questions asked of her do not even hint at the possibility of structural or attitudinal racial bias in the Davis public schools; at least none that a racially sensitive school superintendent would not fix
    I do not want to provide a “prep” list for the candidates here, but I pretty quickly thought of five recent public controversies within a couple of minutes. I will only vote for a candidate who is knowledgeable about racial bias issues.
    Here is a question I am thinking of asking candidates. I suggest readers develop their own question.
    “There have been charges of racial bias in the Davis schools that go beyond the issues of failure to hire people of color and lower achievement of students of color. Name some of these controversies that you are aware of. Give your judgment on two of them.”
    Perhaps we should ask candidates whether they are aware of the recent student report on racial issues in the Davis schools, what important issues it raises, and what actions the candidate would take on a couple of these issues.
    I withhold final judgment on Ms. Lovenburg’s suitability for the school board until I know more about what she knows and what she doesn’t know.

  19. Carl Jorgensen

    I strongly recommend that Doug and the rest of us develop more detailed and Davis-specific questions about possible racial bias in the public schools for the school board candidates. Whereas the issues of hiring and achievement level are important, there are many other questions that need to be addressed.
    Ms. Lovenburg’s responses to the questions asked of her do not even hint at the possibility of structural or attitudinal racial bias in the Davis public schools; at least none that a racially sensitive school superintendent would not fix
    I do not want to provide a “prep” list for the candidates here, but I pretty quickly thought of five recent public controversies within a couple of minutes. I will only vote for a candidate who is knowledgeable about racial bias issues.
    Here is a question I am thinking of asking candidates. I suggest readers develop their own question.
    “There have been charges of racial bias in the Davis schools that go beyond the issues of failure to hire people of color and lower achievement of students of color. Name some of these controversies that you are aware of. Give your judgment on two of them.”
    Perhaps we should ask candidates whether they are aware of the recent student report on racial issues in the Davis schools, what important issues it raises, and what actions the candidate would take on a couple of these issues.
    I withhold final judgment on Ms. Lovenburg’s suitability for the school board until I know more about what she knows and what she doesn’t know.

  20. Carl Jorgensen

    I strongly recommend that Doug and the rest of us develop more detailed and Davis-specific questions about possible racial bias in the public schools for the school board candidates. Whereas the issues of hiring and achievement level are important, there are many other questions that need to be addressed.
    Ms. Lovenburg’s responses to the questions asked of her do not even hint at the possibility of structural or attitudinal racial bias in the Davis public schools; at least none that a racially sensitive school superintendent would not fix
    I do not want to provide a “prep” list for the candidates here, but I pretty quickly thought of five recent public controversies within a couple of minutes. I will only vote for a candidate who is knowledgeable about racial bias issues.
    Here is a question I am thinking of asking candidates. I suggest readers develop their own question.
    “There have been charges of racial bias in the Davis schools that go beyond the issues of failure to hire people of color and lower achievement of students of color. Name some of these controversies that you are aware of. Give your judgment on two of them.”
    Perhaps we should ask candidates whether they are aware of the recent student report on racial issues in the Davis schools, what important issues it raises, and what actions the candidate would take on a couple of these issues.
    I withhold final judgment on Ms. Lovenburg’s suitability for the school board until I know more about what she knows and what she doesn’t know.

  21. Don Shor

    It would be useful if someone could summarize the exact role of the school board regarding charter school proposals. I’ve been following the stories from Oakland, where a charter school was functioning with a nearly complete lack of oversight. I know there is an agreement between the board and the charter school, but beyond that what is the role? It may be that Susan’s reply to the open-ended question about VO was appropriately vague.

  22. Don Shor

    It would be useful if someone could summarize the exact role of the school board regarding charter school proposals. I’ve been following the stories from Oakland, where a charter school was functioning with a nearly complete lack of oversight. I know there is an agreement between the board and the charter school, but beyond that what is the role? It may be that Susan’s reply to the open-ended question about VO was appropriately vague.

  23. Don Shor

    It would be useful if someone could summarize the exact role of the school board regarding charter school proposals. I’ve been following the stories from Oakland, where a charter school was functioning with a nearly complete lack of oversight. I know there is an agreement between the board and the charter school, but beyond that what is the role? It may be that Susan’s reply to the open-ended question about VO was appropriately vague.

  24. Don Shor

    It would be useful if someone could summarize the exact role of the school board regarding charter school proposals. I’ve been following the stories from Oakland, where a charter school was functioning with a nearly complete lack of oversight. I know there is an agreement between the board and the charter school, but beyond that what is the role? It may be that Susan’s reply to the open-ended question about VO was appropriately vague.

  25. Anonymous

    I wish she had made herself available for a verbal interview. These responses seem carefully crafted and edited. I could have just read her campaign brochure to get this information.

    I volunteered at all my children’s schools in much the same manner that Susan did. I do not consider myself qualified to run the School district as a result. She is going to have to open herself up more for public examination of her opinions and ideas if she wants my vote.

  26. Anonymous

    I wish she had made herself available for a verbal interview. These responses seem carefully crafted and edited. I could have just read her campaign brochure to get this information.

    I volunteered at all my children’s schools in much the same manner that Susan did. I do not consider myself qualified to run the School district as a result. She is going to have to open herself up more for public examination of her opinions and ideas if she wants my vote.

  27. Anonymous

    I wish she had made herself available for a verbal interview. These responses seem carefully crafted and edited. I could have just read her campaign brochure to get this information.

    I volunteered at all my children’s schools in much the same manner that Susan did. I do not consider myself qualified to run the School district as a result. She is going to have to open herself up more for public examination of her opinions and ideas if she wants my vote.

  28. Anonymous

    I wish she had made herself available for a verbal interview. These responses seem carefully crafted and edited. I could have just read her campaign brochure to get this information.

    I volunteered at all my children’s schools in much the same manner that Susan did. I do not consider myself qualified to run the School district as a result. She is going to have to open herself up more for public examination of her opinions and ideas if she wants my vote.

  29. Doug Paul Davis

    I have interviewed all four of the school board candidates, each of those interviews will be posted this week. The second interview will be posted tomorrow, either at 6 am or at noon depending on whether I finish another story that I am currently working on.

    As for Don’s question.

    Here is the Vanguard article with some of the info you seek:

    Charter School Article

    Here is the Valley Oak Charter School Site which has key info as well:

    Valley Oak Charter

  30. Doug Paul Davis

    I have interviewed all four of the school board candidates, each of those interviews will be posted this week. The second interview will be posted tomorrow, either at 6 am or at noon depending on whether I finish another story that I am currently working on.

    As for Don’s question.

    Here is the Vanguard article with some of the info you seek:

    Charter School Article

    Here is the Valley Oak Charter School Site which has key info as well:

    Valley Oak Charter

  31. Doug Paul Davis

    I have interviewed all four of the school board candidates, each of those interviews will be posted this week. The second interview will be posted tomorrow, either at 6 am or at noon depending on whether I finish another story that I am currently working on.

    As for Don’s question.

    Here is the Vanguard article with some of the info you seek:

    Charter School Article

    Here is the Valley Oak Charter School Site which has key info as well:

    Valley Oak Charter

  32. Doug Paul Davis

    I have interviewed all four of the school board candidates, each of those interviews will be posted this week. The second interview will be posted tomorrow, either at 6 am or at noon depending on whether I finish another story that I am currently working on.

    As for Don’s question.

    Here is the Vanguard article with some of the info you seek:

    Charter School Article

    Here is the Valley Oak Charter School Site which has key info as well:

    Valley Oak Charter

  33. Anonymous

    Why did you fail to ask about special education issues and the need to address the significant problems that exist in the district today relating to this issue? Interesting that she did not bring up either.

  34. Anonymous

    Why did you fail to ask about special education issues and the need to address the significant problems that exist in the district today relating to this issue? Interesting that she did not bring up either.

  35. Anonymous

    Why did you fail to ask about special education issues and the need to address the significant problems that exist in the district today relating to this issue? Interesting that she did not bring up either.

  36. Anonymous

    Why did you fail to ask about special education issues and the need to address the significant problems that exist in the district today relating to this issue? Interesting that she did not bring up either.

  37. Anonymous

    I know there is an agreement between the board and the charter school, but beyond that what is the role?
    The charter advocate working with the VO Charter group was also quite vague at the school board meeting about the charter plan and the Board’s role, but as Susan indicated in her comments, the Board has very little leverage over charters by state statute. Charters can apparently make memoranda of understanding between the district and the charter that would allow the district to provide services as needed and desired by both (for example, special education services). The Board cannot vote down a charter if the charter plan is adequate, they have adequate numbers of teachers and students (families) on their petition, and they have dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s. Board members thus cannot really “take a position on” whether to open a charter school, as their decision making ability is extremely limited statutorily.

  38. Anonymous

    I know there is an agreement between the board and the charter school, but beyond that what is the role?
    The charter advocate working with the VO Charter group was also quite vague at the school board meeting about the charter plan and the Board’s role, but as Susan indicated in her comments, the Board has very little leverage over charters by state statute. Charters can apparently make memoranda of understanding between the district and the charter that would allow the district to provide services as needed and desired by both (for example, special education services). The Board cannot vote down a charter if the charter plan is adequate, they have adequate numbers of teachers and students (families) on their petition, and they have dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s. Board members thus cannot really “take a position on” whether to open a charter school, as their decision making ability is extremely limited statutorily.

  39. Anonymous

    I know there is an agreement between the board and the charter school, but beyond that what is the role?
    The charter advocate working with the VO Charter group was also quite vague at the school board meeting about the charter plan and the Board’s role, but as Susan indicated in her comments, the Board has very little leverage over charters by state statute. Charters can apparently make memoranda of understanding between the district and the charter that would allow the district to provide services as needed and desired by both (for example, special education services). The Board cannot vote down a charter if the charter plan is adequate, they have adequate numbers of teachers and students (families) on their petition, and they have dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s. Board members thus cannot really “take a position on” whether to open a charter school, as their decision making ability is extremely limited statutorily.

  40. Anonymous

    I know there is an agreement between the board and the charter school, but beyond that what is the role?
    The charter advocate working with the VO Charter group was also quite vague at the school board meeting about the charter plan and the Board’s role, but as Susan indicated in her comments, the Board has very little leverage over charters by state statute. Charters can apparently make memoranda of understanding between the district and the charter that would allow the district to provide services as needed and desired by both (for example, special education services). The Board cannot vote down a charter if the charter plan is adequate, they have adequate numbers of teachers and students (families) on their petition, and they have dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s. Board members thus cannot really “take a position on” whether to open a charter school, as their decision making ability is extremely limited statutorily.

  41. Anonymous

    The School Board gives the final say on expulsions for the kids in our District. I’m looking for a School Board candidate who will do the right thing for our students and not just “regretfully” go along with whatever recommendation that comes out of the Student Services Office, someone who have the backbone to question and not just rubber stamp disciplinary actions of our school administrators.

    Since Susan has worked closely with and under the current Student Services Administrator (former Principal of DaVinci)in her volunteer activities, I wonder about her ability to move to position of relative authority regarding these sensitive and life changing issues affecting our students.

  42. Anonymous

    The School Board gives the final say on expulsions for the kids in our District. I’m looking for a School Board candidate who will do the right thing for our students and not just “regretfully” go along with whatever recommendation that comes out of the Student Services Office, someone who have the backbone to question and not just rubber stamp disciplinary actions of our school administrators.

    Since Susan has worked closely with and under the current Student Services Administrator (former Principal of DaVinci)in her volunteer activities, I wonder about her ability to move to position of relative authority regarding these sensitive and life changing issues affecting our students.

  43. Anonymous

    The School Board gives the final say on expulsions for the kids in our District. I’m looking for a School Board candidate who will do the right thing for our students and not just “regretfully” go along with whatever recommendation that comes out of the Student Services Office, someone who have the backbone to question and not just rubber stamp disciplinary actions of our school administrators.

    Since Susan has worked closely with and under the current Student Services Administrator (former Principal of DaVinci)in her volunteer activities, I wonder about her ability to move to position of relative authority regarding these sensitive and life changing issues affecting our students.

  44. Anonymous

    The School Board gives the final say on expulsions for the kids in our District. I’m looking for a School Board candidate who will do the right thing for our students and not just “regretfully” go along with whatever recommendation that comes out of the Student Services Office, someone who have the backbone to question and not just rubber stamp disciplinary actions of our school administrators.

    Since Susan has worked closely with and under the current Student Services Administrator (former Principal of DaVinci)in her volunteer activities, I wonder about her ability to move to position of relative authority regarding these sensitive and life changing issues affecting our students.

  45. davisite

    As noted in DPD’s link above to Valley Oak Charter info, there is significant subjective Board member discretion when it comes to evaluating certain aspects of the Charter School plan for approval. Candidate Lovenburg’s interview statements all point to her being unresponsive to the desires of those Valley Oak parents who believe that continuing to attend their neighborhood school, in whatever context, is in their children’s best interest.

  46. davisite

    As noted in DPD’s link above to Valley Oak Charter info, there is significant subjective Board member discretion when it comes to evaluating certain aspects of the Charter School plan for approval. Candidate Lovenburg’s interview statements all point to her being unresponsive to the desires of those Valley Oak parents who believe that continuing to attend their neighborhood school, in whatever context, is in their children’s best interest.

  47. davisite

    As noted in DPD’s link above to Valley Oak Charter info, there is significant subjective Board member discretion when it comes to evaluating certain aspects of the Charter School plan for approval. Candidate Lovenburg’s interview statements all point to her being unresponsive to the desires of those Valley Oak parents who believe that continuing to attend their neighborhood school, in whatever context, is in their children’s best interest.

  48. davisite

    As noted in DPD’s link above to Valley Oak Charter info, there is significant subjective Board member discretion when it comes to evaluating certain aspects of the Charter School plan for approval. Candidate Lovenburg’s interview statements all point to her being unresponsive to the desires of those Valley Oak parents who believe that continuing to attend their neighborhood school, in whatever context, is in their children’s best interest.

  49. sharla

    I spoke with a current school board member today who spoke highly of Susan’s ability to quietly listen and gather information before forming an opinion. This was viewed as an asset for a School Board member, but may not serve well as a politician during a campaign.

    However, the school board member discounted the value of individualism as an asset. Ability to work as a team member was more important and we should not be looking for or expect someone to come in and “clean house”. Things like expulsions go through a process and come to the Board from a panel of principals for final approval by the Board. That the School Board is responsible for only managing the Superintendent who manages the operations of the school district.

    This conversation was enlightening. It showed me how limited the role of the school board is when it comes to school climate, school operations, and the quality of our kids education. The school board can work to provide the assets needed, but the heart of the school district is our superintendent.

    It makes me care less about who is elected and more about who is hired.

  50. sharla

    I spoke with a current school board member today who spoke highly of Susan’s ability to quietly listen and gather information before forming an opinion. This was viewed as an asset for a School Board member, but may not serve well as a politician during a campaign.

    However, the school board member discounted the value of individualism as an asset. Ability to work as a team member was more important and we should not be looking for or expect someone to come in and “clean house”. Things like expulsions go through a process and come to the Board from a panel of principals for final approval by the Board. That the School Board is responsible for only managing the Superintendent who manages the operations of the school district.

    This conversation was enlightening. It showed me how limited the role of the school board is when it comes to school climate, school operations, and the quality of our kids education. The school board can work to provide the assets needed, but the heart of the school district is our superintendent.

    It makes me care less about who is elected and more about who is hired.

  51. sharla

    I spoke with a current school board member today who spoke highly of Susan’s ability to quietly listen and gather information before forming an opinion. This was viewed as an asset for a School Board member, but may not serve well as a politician during a campaign.

    However, the school board member discounted the value of individualism as an asset. Ability to work as a team member was more important and we should not be looking for or expect someone to come in and “clean house”. Things like expulsions go through a process and come to the Board from a panel of principals for final approval by the Board. That the School Board is responsible for only managing the Superintendent who manages the operations of the school district.

    This conversation was enlightening. It showed me how limited the role of the school board is when it comes to school climate, school operations, and the quality of our kids education. The school board can work to provide the assets needed, but the heart of the school district is our superintendent.

    It makes me care less about who is elected and more about who is hired.

  52. sharla

    I spoke with a current school board member today who spoke highly of Susan’s ability to quietly listen and gather information before forming an opinion. This was viewed as an asset for a School Board member, but may not serve well as a politician during a campaign.

    However, the school board member discounted the value of individualism as an asset. Ability to work as a team member was more important and we should not be looking for or expect someone to come in and “clean house”. Things like expulsions go through a process and come to the Board from a panel of principals for final approval by the Board. That the School Board is responsible for only managing the Superintendent who manages the operations of the school district.

    This conversation was enlightening. It showed me how limited the role of the school board is when it comes to school climate, school operations, and the quality of our kids education. The school board can work to provide the assets needed, but the heart of the school district is our superintendent.

    It makes me care less about who is elected and more about who is hired.

  53. Anonymous

    Ms. Lovenburg opined in a letter to the editor in the Enterprise that those who did not attend the Best Uses…Task Force had no right to criticize their decisions. Is there any doubt that she will only represent the affluent few who have the leisure of late night meetings without early morning job commitments the next day?
    Whether or not Ms. Lovenburg is elected, and whether or not Ms. Lovenberg supports the Valley Oak Charter School, the Charter will be approved either by the Davis school board or the county school board. It is not up to an affluent white woman, or an affluent white school board, or (Heaven forbid!) an affluent white 7/11 task force to approve or vote down a charter. The charter must meet the state mandated criteria set forth in the charter law. Period.
    The residents of East Davis will have a Valley Oak Charter School, with its successful Title I and EL Programs intact, in their own neighborhood. The only question for the school board is where they’d like to figure into the plan.

  54. Anonymous

    Ms. Lovenburg opined in a letter to the editor in the Enterprise that those who did not attend the Best Uses…Task Force had no right to criticize their decisions. Is there any doubt that she will only represent the affluent few who have the leisure of late night meetings without early morning job commitments the next day?
    Whether or not Ms. Lovenburg is elected, and whether or not Ms. Lovenberg supports the Valley Oak Charter School, the Charter will be approved either by the Davis school board or the county school board. It is not up to an affluent white woman, or an affluent white school board, or (Heaven forbid!) an affluent white 7/11 task force to approve or vote down a charter. The charter must meet the state mandated criteria set forth in the charter law. Period.
    The residents of East Davis will have a Valley Oak Charter School, with its successful Title I and EL Programs intact, in their own neighborhood. The only question for the school board is where they’d like to figure into the plan.

  55. Anonymous

    Ms. Lovenburg opined in a letter to the editor in the Enterprise that those who did not attend the Best Uses…Task Force had no right to criticize their decisions. Is there any doubt that she will only represent the affluent few who have the leisure of late night meetings without early morning job commitments the next day?
    Whether or not Ms. Lovenburg is elected, and whether or not Ms. Lovenberg supports the Valley Oak Charter School, the Charter will be approved either by the Davis school board or the county school board. It is not up to an affluent white woman, or an affluent white school board, or (Heaven forbid!) an affluent white 7/11 task force to approve or vote down a charter. The charter must meet the state mandated criteria set forth in the charter law. Period.
    The residents of East Davis will have a Valley Oak Charter School, with its successful Title I and EL Programs intact, in their own neighborhood. The only question for the school board is where they’d like to figure into the plan.

  56. Anonymous

    Ms. Lovenburg opined in a letter to the editor in the Enterprise that those who did not attend the Best Uses…Task Force had no right to criticize their decisions. Is there any doubt that she will only represent the affluent few who have the leisure of late night meetings without early morning job commitments the next day?
    Whether or not Ms. Lovenburg is elected, and whether or not Ms. Lovenberg supports the Valley Oak Charter School, the Charter will be approved either by the Davis school board or the county school board. It is not up to an affluent white woman, or an affluent white school board, or (Heaven forbid!) an affluent white 7/11 task force to approve or vote down a charter. The charter must meet the state mandated criteria set forth in the charter law. Period.
    The residents of East Davis will have a Valley Oak Charter School, with its successful Title I and EL Programs intact, in their own neighborhood. The only question for the school board is where they’d like to figure into the plan.

  57. Doug Paul Davis

    The closest I could find to that letter was a letter in January, but Ms. Lovenburg never said they had no right to express an opinion, she merely recommended people attend a meeting for they do so. I don’t agree with her on this issue, but I don’t think there is anything in here that is as indicting as the comment implies, unless there is another letter that I missed in my quick search.

    Here’s the full text of the letter:

    Give the task force respect

    I have attended a number of the Davis Joint Unified School District’s Best Uses of Schools Advisory Task Force public meetings and have watched their process unfold. I urge others who are concerned about possible school closures to do the same and not depend solely upon written accounts of the proceedings.

    I have found the task force members to be well-qualified, thoughtful people who have volunteered considerable time and effort in assisting the district in evaluating a complex facilities picture. Though their report is not yet final — and it may not be to everyone’s liking when it is — I believe their recommendations will be those they truly feel will benefit all students in Davis public schools.

    Susan Lovenburg

  58. Doug Paul Davis

    The closest I could find to that letter was a letter in January, but Ms. Lovenburg never said they had no right to express an opinion, she merely recommended people attend a meeting for they do so. I don’t agree with her on this issue, but I don’t think there is anything in here that is as indicting as the comment implies, unless there is another letter that I missed in my quick search.

    Here’s the full text of the letter:

    Give the task force respect

    I have attended a number of the Davis Joint Unified School District’s Best Uses of Schools Advisory Task Force public meetings and have watched their process unfold. I urge others who are concerned about possible school closures to do the same and not depend solely upon written accounts of the proceedings.

    I have found the task force members to be well-qualified, thoughtful people who have volunteered considerable time and effort in assisting the district in evaluating a complex facilities picture. Though their report is not yet final — and it may not be to everyone’s liking when it is — I believe their recommendations will be those they truly feel will benefit all students in Davis public schools.

    Susan Lovenburg

  59. Doug Paul Davis

    The closest I could find to that letter was a letter in January, but Ms. Lovenburg never said they had no right to express an opinion, she merely recommended people attend a meeting for they do so. I don’t agree with her on this issue, but I don’t think there is anything in here that is as indicting as the comment implies, unless there is another letter that I missed in my quick search.

    Here’s the full text of the letter:

    Give the task force respect

    I have attended a number of the Davis Joint Unified School District’s Best Uses of Schools Advisory Task Force public meetings and have watched their process unfold. I urge others who are concerned about possible school closures to do the same and not depend solely upon written accounts of the proceedings.

    I have found the task force members to be well-qualified, thoughtful people who have volunteered considerable time and effort in assisting the district in evaluating a complex facilities picture. Though their report is not yet final — and it may not be to everyone’s liking when it is — I believe their recommendations will be those they truly feel will benefit all students in Davis public schools.

    Susan Lovenburg

  60. Doug Paul Davis

    The closest I could find to that letter was a letter in January, but Ms. Lovenburg never said they had no right to express an opinion, she merely recommended people attend a meeting for they do so. I don’t agree with her on this issue, but I don’t think there is anything in here that is as indicting as the comment implies, unless there is another letter that I missed in my quick search.

    Here’s the full text of the letter:

    Give the task force respect

    I have attended a number of the Davis Joint Unified School District’s Best Uses of Schools Advisory Task Force public meetings and have watched their process unfold. I urge others who are concerned about possible school closures to do the same and not depend solely upon written accounts of the proceedings.

    I have found the task force members to be well-qualified, thoughtful people who have volunteered considerable time and effort in assisting the district in evaluating a complex facilities picture. Though their report is not yet final — and it may not be to everyone’s liking when it is — I believe their recommendations will be those they truly feel will benefit all students in Davis public schools.

    Susan Lovenburg

  61. Niels Pedersen

    I am personally embarrassed and deeply appalled at the way in which Susan deals with her concerns. in a way colorized largely from and objective stance rather than getting the facts and taking a more subjective stance, really the place any board member should be. she claims to support “higher education” but at the same constantly abrogates all requests for the aforementioned.it seems more as if she would like DJUSD to be one homogenized school district were everyone despite potential consequences and adverse affects should get the same treatment. sure “the same treatment”, that sounds great except for the fact not everything is the same. not everything is affected equally nor does everything reap the same benefit. I hope she makes more intelligible decisions in the future and makes sure to do a relatively in depth analysis and research on her subjects rather than relying on subsistenceless speculation and emotional appeal.

    I can’t describe in words how much this women has jeopardized my education and future. I write this from the position of an extremely disallutioned and concerned 16 year old.
    lets hope I don’t become fatalistic about the whole thing.

  62. Niels Pedersen

    I am personally embarrassed and deeply appalled at the way in which Susan deals with her concerns. in a way colorized largely from and objective stance rather than getting the facts and taking a more subjective stance, really the place any board member should be. she claims to support “higher education” but at the same constantly abrogates all requests for the aforementioned.it seems more as if she would like DJUSD to be one homogenized school district were everyone despite potential consequences and adverse affects should get the same treatment. sure “the same treatment”, that sounds great except for the fact not everything is the same. not everything is affected equally nor does everything reap the same benefit. I hope she makes more intelligible decisions in the future and makes sure to do a relatively in depth analysis and research on her subjects rather than relying on subsistenceless speculation and emotional appeal.

    I can’t describe in words how much this women has jeopardized my education and future. I write this from the position of an extremely disallutioned and concerned 16 year old.
    lets hope I don’t become fatalistic about the whole thing.

  63. Niels Pedersen

    I am personally embarrassed and deeply appalled at the way in which Susan deals with her concerns. in a way colorized largely from and objective stance rather than getting the facts and taking a more subjective stance, really the place any board member should be. she claims to support “higher education” but at the same constantly abrogates all requests for the aforementioned.it seems more as if she would like DJUSD to be one homogenized school district were everyone despite potential consequences and adverse affects should get the same treatment. sure “the same treatment”, that sounds great except for the fact not everything is the same. not everything is affected equally nor does everything reap the same benefit. I hope she makes more intelligible decisions in the future and makes sure to do a relatively in depth analysis and research on her subjects rather than relying on subsistenceless speculation and emotional appeal.

    I can’t describe in words how much this women has jeopardized my education and future. I write this from the position of an extremely disallutioned and concerned 16 year old.
    lets hope I don’t become fatalistic about the whole thing.

  64. Niels Pedersen

    I am personally embarrassed and deeply appalled at the way in which Susan deals with her concerns. in a way colorized largely from and objective stance rather than getting the facts and taking a more subjective stance, really the place any board member should be. she claims to support “higher education” but at the same constantly abrogates all requests for the aforementioned.it seems more as if she would like DJUSD to be one homogenized school district were everyone despite potential consequences and adverse affects should get the same treatment. sure “the same treatment”, that sounds great except for the fact not everything is the same. not everything is affected equally nor does everything reap the same benefit. I hope she makes more intelligible decisions in the future and makes sure to do a relatively in depth analysis and research on her subjects rather than relying on subsistenceless speculation and emotional appeal.

    I can’t describe in words how much this women has jeopardized my education and future. I write this from the position of an extremely disallutioned and concerned 16 year old.
    lets hope I don’t become fatalistic about the whole thing.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for