I am being falsely targeted as anti-gay. I'm a Mexican-American woman from a poor family. Two of my four children were special-needs. My children and I experienced bullying firsthand.
As a result, I believe that all our kids should be taught that any bullying is wrong, period. The issue I faced on the school board was whether to approve curriculum designed to protect only one group. Those who were excluded felt the system was trampling on them once again. Moreover, no business would adopt an anti-harassment policy that protected only one class.
After months of my advocacy for an anti-bullying curriculum for all, staff presented an inclusive anti-bullying curriculum that I supported. Then another motion was made to implement the anti-bullying curriculum for one group only. I voted against that motion because it was backsliding -- we were again being asked to protect one class of kids rather than all of them.
I was right to advocate for explicit anti-bullying policies for all protected classes, not just one. This is what our Legislature demands and our children need. I am proud to advocate for all children.
The Alameda Education Association, (teachers' union), the California School Employees Association (classified staff), the Alameda Central Labor Council and the Alameda County Democratic Party get it. They all endorse me. No other incumbents are endorsed by any of these organizations.
I vote "no" when the actions of the majority don't serve all children and put "kids first." I voted "no" on the superintendent's exorbitant raise (including full health insurance at the level and plan of her choice) and leasing new district offices at $552,000 a year for six years (for $3.2 million). I made motions to share carry-over funds of about $300,000 with other employees as a one-time bonus (like other districts), which no other board members supported.
After many objected that Measure E was unaffordable, I voted against it. As PTA Council president, I had worked hard for Measure H and appreciate how hard it is to reach two-thirds approval. Before the board did its work satisfying objections, I wasn't willing to send loyal volunteers out to hit the pavement. I was happy when I could vote "yes" on Measure A, after working with individuals and businesses to support a less regressive tax, which passed.
Before I vote to close schools or support master plans, I listen to all our families and their needs. I strenuously advocated for keeping Woodstock Child Development Center open and appreciate that board member Tracy Jensen joined me in persuading other board members to keep it open. I voted against the master plan, which under Scenario B would create "mega" schools, close Franklin, Washington and Otis and make Encinal grades 7 through 12.
I'm honored to receive notes such as, "Thank you for representing the interests of minorities in Alameda who contribute so much to our community yet are underrepresented in its governance." We can only move our community forward by working together. Our children don't have time for divisive politics; that's why I'm running for re-election and would appreciate your support. Please visit www.votetrish.com.
Trish Spencer is an Alameda Unified School District Education Board member running for re-election.