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Friday, October 23, 2009

Libertarian Trustee Hickey Interviewed In Redwood City School Board Race

Excerpts below from an article today by Heather Murtagh in the San Mateo County Journal.  Former county Libertarian Chair Jack Hickey, an elected trustee of the Sequoia Health Care District, is running for county supervisor as well as Redwood City Elementary School Board (SmartVoter site here).  Hickey's site exposes a "hit piece" against his candidacy emailed out on Oct. 20 by a fellow Sequoia trustee and former county sheriff. It criticizes Hickey for being "a long time opponent of public education", and for calling it "inhumane" that a 33-year-old teacher was sentenced to two years in prison after she bore a child fathered by a student who was 16 at the time.

Two challengers — parent and local business owner Lea Cuniberti-Duran and Jack Hickey, Sequoia Healthcare District trustee who already announced his 2010 candidacy for a seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors — are taking on board President Maria Diaz-Slocum and Trustee Hilary Paulson in their bid for re-election. An in-office forum was held to help the Daily Journal determine endorsements. To allow each candidate a forum to express their opinions on the issues discussed, candidates were given the same questions and asked to answer each in 50 words or less.

This year came with $10.7 million in budget cuts to the Redwood City Elementary School District, some of which go into effect next year. Revenue is not anticipated to rise for quite some time. How would you deal with the loss of revenue?

Hickey: Budget cuts did not anticipate revenue from CSCDA [California Statewide Communities Development Authority] (see: https://www.psacommunities.org/fs/apps/?app=22) which replaces Proposition 1A suspension losses (8 percent of property taxes). Other projected revenue losses could be covered by closure and leasing of one or more school sites.

Such massive cuts clearly resulted in a loss in programs. Notably, summer school was reduced and class sizes increased. The latter was particularly hard for both parents and teachers to accept. But the lower class sizes can only be brought back if a new, steady revenue source is found. The district successfully passed a parcel tax this spring lowering the increased class size. How else could new revenue be generated?

Hickey: I do not advocate restoring the smaller class sizes, a CTA [California Teacher Association] ploy to grow membership by increasing demand for teachers, and district efforts to fill the over capacity created by unnecessary construction projects. I would recommend lobbying efforts to end that failed state program which further eroded discretionary authority of districts.

Redwood City schools have vast differences. It is home to the top performing school but also schools with children struggling to learn English as a second language. In recent years, the district implemented a program to improve achievement that includes assessing children three times annually. How else can the district better meet the needs of this diverse makeup of children?

Hickey: They should facilitate the transition to English by offering computers at low cost, with appropriate software included, to Hispanic families. This would allow parents and children to acquire fluency in the English language.

John J. “Jack” Hickey
Age: 75
City of residence, number of years lived there: Emerald Hills, 44 years
Occupation: Retired research scientist
Education: U.S. Navy ET “A” School, Great Lakes, Ill. USAFI college equivalent; miscellaneous community college courses in California, including micro and macro economics.
Family: Seven adult children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Web site: http://hickeyforsupervisor.com/

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