Trish Herrera Spencer is the one School Board member who deserves to be reelected. She stands up and votes for her beliefs in public education, for her commitment to each individual student's success, for respecting and valuing the work and dignity of every school district employee, and for prioritizing fiscal expenditures that directly support classroom education rather than administrative bureaucracy.
Much time, effort and money is being expended to defeat Trish in her school board race. Negative Robocalls and letters to the editor distort the facts about her voting record: rehashing a four year old principled vote on LGBT curriculum, and blaming her for the district's Measure E defeat as well as for low teacher salaries. Even Bill Schaff, wealthy businessman, former School Board member and $5,000 (reported so far) contributor to the other two incumbents' campaigns, wrote: "Measure E was perceived to be unfair. . . we have a new parcel tax (Measure A) that is more transparent and considerate of all parties. . . it takes into consideration most of the issues that held the last parcel tax back." Trish worked for Measure A and it won! Alameda Teachers Association strongly supports Trish Spencer, and yet one teacher (who is known to dislike the teachers' union) engages in the toxicity of negative robocalling filled with deceptions against Trish.
Trish is not homophobic. As a supporter of the LGBT community, I attended many meetings to ensure that AUSD's curriculum was inclusive for these students and their families. Trish objected to the policies being developed because they were not comprehensive in addressing our commitment to all six protected classes under California Law. From her perspective as a minority person who had been bullied, as a mother whose special needs child had been bullied, and as a trained lawyer who cannot omit the fine details, Trish was compelled to fight for her issue. We discussed and argued. Although we still disagreed in the end, I could not help but have respect for her integrity. For Trish, it was a district curriculum policy issue and did not affect her support and commitment to the LGBT community.
Trish is a threat to those School Board Members who rubber stamp policy brought to the board. She is well prepared and articulates her positions. Unlike other board members who say nothing, turn their back on the public, and/or are disrespectful to speakers, Trish encourages dialogue with students, parents, employees, and the community. She is the one Board member who voted against both leasing new office space for $3.3 million and raising the superintendent's salary. She is supported by the teachers and other employee groups.
I encourage Alamedans not to be single-issue voters. Consider what is in our total community's best long term interest. Our School Board needs to be more reliable in fiscal decisions, accountable in community discourse, and responsive in employee relationships. We have a four year history of our three incumbent candidates, and only one deserves to stay: Trish Spencer.
Janet C. Gibson,
Retired Alameda teacher Two term AUSD School Board Member