Opinion: Support For Lafayette School Candidate

Letter to the editor: Hopeful has analytical mind and strong speaking skills.

By Helen Bequette

I am writing to support Quinlan Tom for Lafayette School District Governing Board.

There is no doubt but that it will be difficult to replace outgoing Board members Shayne Silva and Stephenie Teichman, as they take with them a wealth of historical knowledge and an incredible level of commitment to our District. When I attended the Candidates Forum on October 24th, I found myself considering the question of what qualities we should look for in the candidates for the Governing Board. As a longtime observer of Governing Board meetings (I have reported on the meetings for five years now, as part of my PTA board member duties), I have a few thoughts on the topic. 

It goes without saying that each Governing Board member must have an analytical mind and strong speaking and writing skills. We are lucky to live in a community where many people possess these skills. It is also obvious that Governing Board members must have a steadfast desire to engage in community service. Board members spend an inordinate amount of time carrying out their many and varied duties. Few among us are able to make such a commitment, and all of the candidates should be applauded for their willingness to take on such a large job. Finally, and perhaps this is less evident, Board members must be able to work collaboratively with each other and the administration (while still retaining oversight of the latter), and also act a conduit to allow the many different groups and individuals in the community to express their opinions, questions, and concerns.  

I believe Quinlan Tom is an excellent candidate for Lafayette School District Governing Board, and I was confirmed in this belief after attending the Candidates Forum. Quinlan's many years as a litigator have allowed him to hone his analytical and communication skills. Since moving to Lafayette, he has made an admirable commitment to do what he can to support our schools. His willingness to take on this job is just another example of how he steps forward when others will not. Most importantly, Quinlan has an open mind on the issues confronting our district. Rather than bursting onto the Governing Board with a pre-set agenda, I believe Quinlan will come to the Board prepared to listen and learn from other Board members, the administration, and our community. For these reasons, I am supporting Quinlan Tom.

Helen Bequette

Berns1971@gmail.cim November 05, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Really Patch? Talk about bias!!! I can't believe this.
soccermom November 05, 2012 at 06:03 AM
I also attended the candidate’s forums and I have to say that I had a totally different reaction. I was shocked at how little Quinlan seems to understand the big issues facing our District. At the most recent forum every other answer out of Quinlan’s mouth seemed to be “I would defer to the people we have hired (meaning Fred Brill)” He seemed to lack any substantive understanding of any of the major issues our District is facing and had no suggestions on what our District will do if Prop 30 doesn’t pass other than to say that the current Board has already decided where the additional $1.5 million in cuts will come from.
Cooper Hall November 05, 2012 at 06:26 AM
So, you're unfamiliar with the concept of Letters to the Editor?
Cooper Hall November 05, 2012 at 06:27 AM
I just want to know which candidate will support corporal punishment.
LaurenandJacksMom November 05, 2012 at 02:20 PM
I wondered when someone was going to say something about Quinlan’s position on funding. At the forum, the candidates were asked what they would do if Prop 30 failed. Follmer and Wallace both listed lots of ideas for helping our District raise money including grants they have both actually gotten for our District. Quinlan’s answer was that he believed that we have “Can Do” people in the District and he knows that if we just tell to our parents that we are going to have to make cuts the “Can Do” parents of our District will just step up to the plate and give more. He suggested that we may just need to double the LPIE ask. I’m sorry but some of us are struggling financially. I believe strongly in public education. There must be a better way to fund our public education than just asking our “Can Do” parents to eternally “Do More”. I want board members who care about funding our schools and have put in the effort to find other funding sources. That’s not Quinlan “Can Do” Tom – asking our parents to “Just Do More” is not an acceptable answer to the tough financial issues we are facing.
Cooper Hall November 05, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Rather than being responsible and paying for the kids you produced you want others to pull up the slack to pay for your kids' education. No thanks.
CGreen November 05, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Again, at the October 4 Candidate forum, Quinlan Tom said that he had attended 10 school board meetings over the past two years. I'm one of the few people that attends school board meetings regularly. I often see Jean Follmer and Nancy Wallace at those meetings, but have never seen Mr. Tom at a meeting until recently, when he announced his candidacy. I understand that when he was asked these questions publicly, it was embarrassing to say that he had not been to many school board meetings before he decided to run for school board, but I'm uncomfortable with that kind of resume padding. I will not be voting for Mr. Tom. I will vote for the candidates who I have seen regularly attending and participating in school board forums for the past several years.
Cooper Hall November 05, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I hear ya. Mitt's never been in the Oval Office or a member of Congress so clearly he's unqualified to be President. Because everybody knows that being a Senator clearly makes you qualified to be President, assuming you weren't born in Kenya.
Steve Cohn November 05, 2012 at 04:01 PM
While public education is a mainstay of America and needs to be provided for all who want it; we do need to take individual responsibility for our own decisions, and that includes bringing children into this world and providing for them. 50% of our property taxes go to education as does 40% of the entire state budget. But if you want a better education than the populace as a whole is willing or able to provide, you may need to step up and cut back. Look into what a private educations costs and you might feel very fortunate that "all" you need to chip in is a few thousand per child. My children went through the private school system and while we had more than our fair share of wealthy families we had many families who made real sacrifices because they thought the private schools offered something they could not get in the public schools. At the same time, these people paid their taxes supporting your children's education. I don't think someone in Lafayette who suggests that the parents "dig deeper" if the state cannot provide the quality of education Lafayette wants should be chastised for saying so. Maybe you should spend your time by figuring out means that the community can raise funds locally to enhance education. For instance, a real estate transfer tax that might be able to fund "special classes" such as the arts or physical education "separate" from the school district (but in coordination with the district).
Ophelia OBrien November 05, 2012 at 06:54 PM
The problem with grants is 1) there is a lot of staff time that goes into seeking out grants and applying for them; 2) there is a lot of staff time that goes into administering grants. Grants can be a good idea and a time drain, one has to make certain the financial benefits out weigh the costs.
Cooper Hall November 05, 2012 at 07:47 PM
If Lafayette, Orinda, & Moraga can share a high school district, why can't they share an Elementary/Middle school district, eliminating some duplication of services?
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