News

Woodside school board candidates share common ground and goals

By Barbara Wood

Special to the Almanac

The four candidates for three open seats on the board of Woodside Elementary School's one-school district proved at a candidates forum on Oct. 1 that, at least on the local level, some elected officials can "all get along."

The League of Women Voters' Oct. 1 forum featured questions from an audience of about 30 in the school's Sellman Auditorium, which elicited no real differences of opinion among the candidates.

Two incumbents, current board president Wendy Warren Roth (who was recently married and changed her last name from Crandall) and Marc Tarpenning, are running, along with two newcomers, Claire Pollioni and Robert Hooper. All four have children at the school.

The audience questions did highlight some of the issues that will be facing the board in the near future. One is a bond measure, which all four candidates say they favor.

"We do need to put a bond forward," said Ms. Warren Roth, even though a survey has found that the community has "a little tax fatigue." She said that the bond measure will be done in conjunction with a capital campaign that will seek to raise money for some projects through donations.

Mr. Hooper said, for now, "I am very much inclined to support the bond." He wants to see the fiscal details and make sure it is effectively communicated to the community," he said.

Ms. Pollioni, who has served on the school's facilities committee for the past year, said the bond is "the right thing to do." She added: "We're trying to be a model public school. We're looking to the future."

Mr. Tarpenning said the school has had to defer a lot of maintenance in recent years, including roofs and sewers and "all kinds of exciting stuff." Those types of capital projects are currently financed in the state with bonds, he said.

Candidates were also asked what their top priorities as board members would be.

Mr. Tarpenning said one of his two top priorities is completing the curriculum changes needed to bring the school in line with the nationwide Common Core standards. "It affects every aspect of teaching," he said. "You have to revisit everything that you have done." His other priority is dealing with the facilities issues that face the school.

Ms. Warren Roth said her priority has always been "academically providing the very best program that we can," and ensuring that students are happy, safe and physically active. "We are faced with juggling that right now with these facilities issues," she said.

Mr. Hooper said his top priority is communication, with teachers and within the school "to increase participation," and in assuring financial transparency for the bond.

Ms. Pollioni said that in addition to issues raised by the other candidates, she would like to work toward "attracting and retaining all eligible students within the district to our school, and having them stay through middle school." She too is interested in making changes to facilities, "possibly adding in some 21st century learning opportunities in science and technology."

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