Kronenberg for WCCUSD Board
October 5, 2006
There are eight candidates for three seats on the West Contra Costa Unified School District. You can get a lot of information about them from two websites, Smart Voter at http://www.smartvoter.org/2006/11/07/ca/cc/race/1791/ and Bayside PTA at http://www.baysidepta.org/pages/campaign2006.php.
At this time, I am strongly recommending two of the candidates I am most familiar with, Charles Ramsey and Madeline Kronenberg. I am also recommending Antonio Madrano.
I think of Ramsey as the persevering and enduring force behind a series of bond issues that have raised nearly $1 billion to reconstruct the District’s deteriorated schools. I understand that this is, on a per capita basis, the largest District-supported construction bond program in California and the second largest overall, behind only the giant Los Angeles Unified School District.
The physical infrastructure for education is only a part of what it takes to create successful schools, but as an architect, I know the subtle but critical role that the built environment plays in our everyday lives, and without the massive physical renewal of the District’s schools, every other challenge would be much more difficult its resolution far less successful.
Ramsey works as hard as anybody to make this district the best it can be, and he is passionate about his work. I believe his passion has made a difference, with steady progress in balanced budgets, improved student performance, better technology, and cleaner, safer schools. Test scores have improved at all elementary schools, and the District is now focused on improving student performance at our Middle and High Schools.
The District has maintained its class size reduction program with no program cuts and no teacher layoffs. School safety has been improved with a complete restructuring of the safety programs, putting more officers on campus.
Ramsey initiated the "Ivy League Connection" program that allows high school students to experienced life on campus at some of the country's top universities.
There is no question that WCCUSD is far better off today than when Ramsey was first elected to the board.
Kronenberg is a mother of five (four of whom attended WCCUSD Schools), a teacher (vocational education for 26 years), and long-time parent volunteer, currently serving as the PTSA co-president at El Cerrito High School.
She serves on the WCCUSD Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee and co-chaired the successful campaign to raise Measure J $400 Million to continue upgrading WCCUSD schools. She also manages the Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth and the Ivy League Connection programs, sending district children to some of the country’s top colleges over the summer.
Kronenberg has the history, the involvement, the technical qualifications, and the experience to be an outstanding school board member. But what she also shares with Ramsey is a real passion to make the WCCUSD a top notch school district, which goes a long way with me.
Kronenberg’s priorities include are safer classrooms, attracting and retaining the best teachers, providing equal opportunities for all students, closing the “digital divide” and stronger academic and elective programs at our middle schools.
I don’t know Medrano as well personally as I know Ramsey and Kronenberg, but I think he would also make a good school board member. He is a retired bilingual educator and will bring a useful dimension to a school district with a rapidly growing Latino population and the challenges of bringing English learners quickly up to prevailing standards.
With experience from 40 years in the classroom, Medrano has also served on many District committees, including the Accountability Task Force, Strategic Planning Core Team, Service Learning Advisory Committee, Local Capacity Building Committee and chair of the Civilian Bond Oversight Committee. He also serves as the co-chair of the Concilio Latino and chair of the Education committee, president of the Pinole chapter of the AARP, Montalvin Manor Advisory Committee, School Site Council of Montalvin Manor Elementary School, secretary of the Ed Fund of West County and as a former member of the Contra Costa Grand Jury (2003-2004), including serving as foreperson (2004-2005).
Medrano is a graduate of the University of San Francisco and received his teaching credential from UCLA.