Oct 30 2018

OPINION: Meagan Pillsbury Gains Support of School Board Member

Election Day is upon us and I am endorsing Megan Pillsbury to take my open seat on the Piedmont School Board. She has the skills and perspective to add real value to the board and its work.

First, she has an abiding love for teaching and nurturing of the joy of learning. She demonstrated that love in her career teaching in our schools and contributing to other institutions of learning in the bay area.

Having taught in our schools, Megan understands the culture we hope to maintain, appreciates the expectations of students and parents, knows the desires and values of our teachers and can speak with authority to the administration about the issues facing the district. In this time of increasing challenges of teacher recruitment, retention and compensation, Megan’s background is valuable.

As a parent of three children who successfully completed our K-12 program, she will bring a unique perspective balancing program needs, parental wishes and budget constraints. Sometimes parents with students still in district haven’t developed the ability to look through the long lens required of good school stewards.

Megan is a kind and dedicated citizen prepared for and willing to do the hard work required in this position. I support her candidacy and hope you will too with a vote for her in our upcoming election.

Doug Ireland, Member of Piedmont School Board

2 Responses to “OPINION: Meagan Pillsbury Gains Support of School Board Member”

  1. Megan, is definitely a kind and dedicated citizen, and a well admired teacher.

    What concerns me most about the prospect of Megan as a board member, is how aggressively Mr. Doug Ireland is campaigning for her. I don’t want a new board member that is beholden to any outgoing or current board members.

    The aggressive campaigning for her by board member Doug Ireland suggests a possible impairment of Megan’s independence on the board. (This is precisely why the PUSD previously had a policy preventing campaigning for PUSD candidates.)

    The notion of an outgoing board members anointing their successors has never sat well with me. In this case, Mr. Ireland has done far more than just anointing. Mr. Ireland has been campaigning for certain school board candidates, including during a Havens Parents Club meeting earlier this month.

    If Mr. Ireland had responded to a public inquiry about whether he held investments in PUSD’s CABs I’d be less anxious. But he did not respond to the inquiry. Board member Corey Smegal was the only one who responded to that inquiry (She is not invested in PUSD’s CABS.)

    Though it apparently is not illegal for School Board members to invest in bonds of the school district they represent. Doing so is still a de-facto conflict of interest and I believe all board members should proactively declare whether or not they have investments in PUSD school bonds.

    To some, the $18 million wasted on excessive interest expense from the CABs is insignificant. I think the amount is material. But what’s even more concerning is that the decision to use CABs was unanimous.

    The five stewards of our schools all voted for CABs which our California Legislature, Governor Brown, and Treasurer Lockyer worked to eventually outlaw.

    Personally, I think a little dissent on the board is what makes a board health. Mr. Ireland’s aggressive campaigning makes one wonder if he is threatened by dissent…or discovery.

    There are two vacancies on the School Board. I know three of the four candidates will clearly bring some helpful change to the board.

    I believe our community would be BEST served if Dr. Titan filled one of those vacancies.

  2. The Piedmont School District is unique in the state because our School Support tax is literally double to one hundred times other School taxes. In addition Piedmont households are paying a significant bond debt off. Beyond curriculum, directing staff and the many issues of providing a quality education, Piedmont Board Members must also have good management skills, the determination of hard-nosed analysis and financial expertise. We need Board members who are unafraid to step out of the pack. We face an ever increasing cost burden and Board member’s need expertise beyond proficiency in classrooms.

    Hari Titan has my vote.

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