Six candidates are running for two open seats on the Ravenswood City School District Board of Trustees.
The terms of trustees Sharifa Wilson and Marielena Gaona Mendoza are ending in November. Wilson is not running for reelection after 12 years on the board, while Gaona Mendoza is seeking a second term. The newcomers include a Ravenswood parent, two former district employees, a labor negotiator and a labor manager.
This year's election comes at a time of transition and rebuilding for the K-8 school district, which serves about 1,700 students in East Palo Alto and east Menlo Park. The district has a new superintendent, Gina Sudaria, in place after years of leadership and financial upheaval, and a comprehensive middle school to better prepare Ravenswood students for success in high school. The district is navigating the challenges of making sure students who lack sufficient support and internet access at home during distance learning don't fall behind. (Ravenswood school campuses are remaining closed until at least late November.)
Whoever is elected to the board will also have to meet the challenge of the pandemic as well as Ravenswood's declining enrollment, which led to the closure of two elementary schools this year. At least one of the candidates opposes the Voluntary Transfer Program, which allows Ravenswood students to attend neighboring school districts, and another is a staunch opponent of charter schools, which have been criticized for taking students and funding away from the local neighborhood schools.
To get to know the candidates better and find out where they stand on top issues facing the district, watch video interviews the Weekly conducted with Bronwyn Alexander, Jenny Varghese Bloom, Zeb Feldman, Gaona Mendoza and Joel Rivera. (Candidate Julian Garcia did not respond to multiple interview requests, and candidate Mele Latu has halted her campaign for personal reasons.)