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Statement of DANA TOM, Candidate for
Governing Board Member, Palo Alto Unified School District

Occupation:  Incumbent                                                          Age:  48

Education and Qualifications:
Stanford University, B.S., M.S., Electrical Engineering

I am seeking re-election to the School Board and am grateful for the trust you bestowed on me four years ago.  As the 53rd trustee in PAUSD’s 73 years, I’ve experienced the unwavering strength of our community’s commitment to education.  I am proud of what we accomplished together.

Our district is a nationwide benchmark for excellence in public education with a rich heritage of high student achievement.  As the keeper of this legacy, the school board must be a wise steward for our community, making sound choices that adapt to changing circumstances.  Based on my board service, I am even more convinced that our schools’ success depends not on our community wealth or high test scores but on the reach of educational opportunity to every willing student.

We have entered a new era of economic uncertainty.  As past President of the School Board, I can assure you that we are well-prepared to live within our means.  I will meet future challenges as I always have: I’ll roll up my sleeves, look at the facts, get stakeholder input, research what other educators have done, and work to build a consensus.  My first term, I focused on fiscal stewardship, first-rate teaching/learning, and teamwork/communication.  Some highlights:

  1. Created a strategic plan for academic excellence, staff recruitment/development, budget trends, and governance.
  2. Passed a bond to renovate aging facilities, upgrade technology.
  3. Increased our basic aid reserve from $7.6 to $9.6 million.
  4. Protected finances by sunsetting PAUSD retiree medical benefits.
  5. Introduced new programs enhancing instruction in reading and writing and adopted new science and math materials to improve conceptual understanding by more students.
  6. Hired Superintendent Dr. Kevin Skelly, improving collaboration and communication between stakeholders. 
  7. As Board President, championed transparency, board self-evaluation, and better community dialogue.

If you re-elect me, I will manage public dollars wisely in our bond renovation program, plan for parcel tax renewal and enrollment changes and continue to focus on progress by all students.  I’ll explore innovative approaches for parent/school cooperation, closing the achievement gap, and improving students’ social/emotional health. 

The future of Palo Alto belongs to today’s students.  I’m in this race to continue the work they need to help them on their way.  Re-elect Dana Tom on November 3rd!