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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
School

Mount Diablo Unified School DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Herbert K. Lee

Herbert K. Lee

Parent/Volunteer
22,735 votes (16.94%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Improve test scores district wide (compared to the state average of improvement.)
  • Increase communication and transparency.
  • Improve Fiscal Responsibility

Experience

Experience

Profession:I am raising my two district children and volunteer for many organizations
Sales and New Business Lead, Monday Envelope (2015–2016)
Project Manager, The Clorox Company (2007–2014)
Senior Scientist, The Clorox Company (2000–2007)

Education

CSUEB Masters, Business Administration (MBA) (2005)
UCLA Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering (2000)

Community Activities

Co-Leader of the Education Action Team, Neto Community Network (2014–current)
Director of Marketing and Outreach, Contra Costa Chinese School (2012–2016)

Biography

I have been educated in the public education system from K-Graduate School.  I attended schools from K-12 at LAUSD, the second largest school district in the country.  I earned my Chemical Engineering degree from UCLA and MBA from CSUEB.     Up until high school,  I was socially promoted.  In 10th grade, teachers told me that I was reading at the 3rd grade level.  Luckily they and some counselors saw my potential and brought me up to speed.   I am currently a district parent of a 2nd and 4th grader.  I have lived in the district boundary for more than 10 years through 3 feeder patterns.   I have been a Concord resident for past 9 years, where there are some of the lowest performing schools are located based on CAASPP scores, some as low as single digits for meets/exceeds standards.  To put it in perspective less than 1 in 10 students meets/exceeds standards.   I worked in corporate America for almost 15 years before making a choice to raise my children.  Since then, I have been active in education, having run for MDUSD school board in 2014, working for Monday Envelope as the sale lead, volunteering at Contra Costa Chinese School as the director of marketing and outreach, volunteering  at Neto as the co-leader for education, and children’s school (co-room parent for both classes.    I didn’t take PTA Board Position because I was running for school board and didn’t want to leave my school with a vacancy.      

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • East Bay Times
  • CCSA Advocates
  • Evolve California

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (1)

A recent law made major changes in the way that the state allocates funding to schools. What will you do to ensure that the public understands your local control formula for school spending and your plan to measure outcomes?
Answer from Herbert K. Lee:

I love the LCFF.  As a parent, I prefer over the older, more complicated formula for state funding.  It's still complicated however.  I think engaged parents are the best way to shareout the LCFF after they understand it.  The parents can hold public schools' administrators, teachers, students and themselves accountable to the goals they set, especially based on each school and feeder patterns LCAP.  

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

My personal philosophy is to be the best that I can best.  When I start something, I put everything that I have into it.  Here are my plans if I am elected.   Within the first 100 days in office, I want to visit every district campus to meet with parents, teachers, students, and administrators.   During the term, I plan to have to open office hours and be available to meet with all stakeholders within the school district.   I will seek out and approve options that will provide more choices and options for parents, students, and all stakeholders.  This can include charter schools, making the more focus on K-12 by divesting adult education, or making the district smaller.   I want better ties with civic and business leaders.  When city council candidates want to provide more youth programs, I will be carefully listening.  The students of today will be the workers of tomorrow.   Students that do not meet standards to move to the next grade level need to get more remedial assistance or repeat that grade.  We need less social promotion.   While more state funding will be great, I would not enter office anticipating more.  Choices need to be made on how money is spent.  I would focus on teacher training and compensation, and facilities improvement, especially around technology.  I would divert money from other areas where possible (fewer new editions of textbooks that are similar to the older edition).   I would seek more partnerships with the city and business leaders because the students of today will be the workers of tomorrow.  

Position Papers

Report Card for School Board Members

Summary

I've created a report card for voters to understand my priorities.  As a board member, I hope other board members can create one as well so that votes can hold their elected leaders accountable.  As a board member, I would ask the senior staff of MDUSD to do the same and publish for the public to review.

1) Goal: Improve test scores district wide (compared to the state average of improvement.) 

2) Goal: Increase communication and transparency.

3) Goal: Improve Fiscal Responsibility

1) Goal: Improve test scores district wide (compared to the state average of improvement.) 
Measurement: Scores in Concord should increase 5% greater than the state average growth. For the district, it should increase 3% greater than the state average growth.
Backgound: Some of the schools in Concord perform as low as in the single digits for meeting and exceeding standards for English Language Arts and Math. This needs to be dramatically improved. Test scored generally go up through test score "inflation". My goal is to exceed the test score inflation compared to the state.
Tactics: 
1) Provide parents with more options for schools. This can include more "choice": schools, or even charter schools. I view this creates and generates competition amongst schools for students, allowing the highly sought after to thrive and pressuring the lower performing ones to do better. 
2) To the students who are not ready for the next level, they need more intervention and remedial assistance. This can include summer school or being held back. Social promotion must stop. The more students are socially promoted, the further behind they fall.
3) Reach out to the cities and business to form partnerships for after school programs, including jobs training, internships, tutoring, and after school activities so that students are using their time to improve their skills.
4) Pleasant Hill has an education commission and education foundation. Walnut Creek has an education foundation. All of their schools have a 501c3 parent's club that raises money for their school. Require the school district to help set up a 501c3 for all schools in MDUSD to help raise money all of for its schools. Ask the city to help with the education commission and as a stretch goal, form an education foundation for Concord and Bay Point/Pittsburg.

2) Goal: Increase communication and transparency.
Measurement: The 5 tactics listed are complete.
Background: The district it big and it's hard to get information. I know because as a engaged active stakeholder, I often cannot get answers and I know all of the current school board members because I ran against them 2 years ago! At board meetings, there is little discussion in the open session and many times, the board votes unanimously.
Tactics:
1) Hold open office hours every week. Once before every board meeting so that I can meet with members of the public to hear and address their concerns. And on the non meeting weeks, hold office hours during the day. My kids go to school next door, so I can drop them off and then meet and answer questions. If no one is there to meet, then answer questions via email.
2) Ask other board members and senior staff including the superintendent and deputy superintendents to create a "report card" that is published to the public. The board is accountable to the voters, and the senior staff is accountable to the the board.
3) Extend the LCAP formula so that parents and stakeholders can decide where money is best spent for their local schools.
4) Provide information when a federal or state judge rules that the school board is required to hand over information.
5) Set priorities and make them public. This can be a living document, but at least let everyone know what the focus area are. I would go with a top 5 or top 10 list.

3) Goal: Improve Fiscal Responsibility
Measurement: The 5 tactics listed are complete.
Background: Having been a parent in the district for 5 years, I started near the Great Recession where pink slips were handed out to teachers year after year. Now that the economy has improved, funding has returned, but the current school board seems to spend every dollar it receives, not preparing for a rainy day fund. Pensions and health care liabilities are being underfunded. We passed Measure C and it was used to build solar panels instead of fixing classrooms. Now, there's Proposition 51 and Proposition 55 asking for more money!
Tactics: 
1) Fund the underfunded liabilities. This can has been kicked down the road over and over. It's more fun to provide stuff because you can talk about what you did. However, these liabilities will catch up with the school district and us taxpayers eventually if we don't act now.
2) The MDUSD teacher's contract is coming up in early 2017. I love teachers and want them to be fairly compensated with the money that the district can reasonably and responsibly provide. The is the highest annual spend, so there should be the biggest oversight!
3) Build reserves where needed. I know the roof of houses need to be replaced after 30 years and save for it. Why do schools and other public infrastructure not plan similarly and then ask money through bond measures or parcel taxes? The school district needs to have a reserves student and then start budgeting for it.
4) I think this is done already, but continue to easily provide a P&L statement for the school district to the public.
5) Scrutinize the spending of budget items. MDUSD has a $330M (or so) budget. Do the students needs new textbooks every year? How quickly does math, science, and history change? What is the rate of technology improvement needed? Can we partner with businesses to provide services that are mutually beneficial to provide some additional revenue or savings to the district?

Candidate Contact Info

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