Monroe for another term as superintendent of ACOE | Editorials

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Voters must rehire Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) Superintendent LK Monroe for another four-year term.

Alysse Castro, a school administrator in San Francisco, is also a strong candidate supported by teacher associations and many Alameda County politicians. But there doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason to remove Monroe from his post.

First elected in 2014, Monroe successfully led ACOE through the COVID-19 pandemic and recently demonstrated strong leadership in her budget oversight role within the Oakland Unified School District ( OUSD).

As Superintendent of County Schools, Monroe has no role in determining curriculum or policy decisions for the three Tri-Valley school districts – Dublin Unified, Pleasanton Unified and Livermore Joint Valley Unified. These questions are left to the administrators whom the voters elect in their districts.

The ACOE Superintendent serves as the liaison between the California Department of Education and the 18 public school districts in Alameda County. The superintendent provides oversight of each of the districts’ district budgets, ensures that they meet basic educational standards, and directly manages the schools that serve Alameda County students detained at the Juvenile Justice Center, in foster homes and in drug treatment programs.

Last year, as part of its work to ensure financial stability for districts, Monroe warned OUSD that the state could reverse bailout money if the council did not get its house in order.

“The need for OUSD to balance the budget has been consistently communicated since 2016-17,” Monroe wrote in a November letter to the district. “During this time, the Board has been unable to ensure that solutions are in place to adequately meet the district’s financial needs.”

Monroe continued that if OUSD does not implement timely solutions to cut its $90 million budget, the county will step in.

“We remain seriously concerned that OUSD’s current budget approach nearly bankrupted the district in 2017,” Monroe said.

With declining enrollment being the main cause, the district closed and merged a number of schools, sparking teacher union protests and student walkouts.

Fourteen angry teacher associations now support his challenger.

But we contend Monroe was doing her job, just as she was in 2016 when she asked the state to audit the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation (TVLC) to look into allegations of “fraud, embezzlement of funds or other illegal taxation”. practices.”

The audit found that TVLC, which operated two charter schools in Livermore, was $3 million in debt and its management failed to disclose numerous conflict of interest relationships, embezzling and co-mingling funds with various private entities, including three created by its CEO Bill Batchelor. The Livermore Valley Unified School District revoked school charters and campuses closed.

Although no teacher organization is listed among his recommendations, Monroe supporters include Tri-Valley Congressman Eric Swalwell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, two Alameda County Supervisors and the current five members of ACOE’s Board of Directors.

Castro, executive director of Court, County, and Continuation High Schools in the San Francisco Unified School District, said she was running for superintendent “because teaching, learning, and educating are difficult and almost impossible right now.”

Castro said ACOE was strong on budget and accountability, but there was room for improvement in getting grants for things like special education programs.

She touted her experience in alternative education to break “the school-to-prison pipeline” and change students’ lives. She called herself an expert on finances and school systems and notes that she has been recognized for her work as president of Alameda Family Services, a community agency that provides $7 million in early childhood support, school and family well-being to students or schools. .

His skills and his voice in the field of education are certainly important and needed in the years to come.

Monroe is our choice to continue as superintendent. She deserved it.

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