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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
School

Fresno Unified School DistrictCandidate for Trustee, Trustee Area 6

Photo of Claudia Cazares

Claudia Cazares

Project Manager/Mother
7,779 votes (55.11%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Providing increased career and technical education opportunities.
  • Ensuring our children and staff feel safe on campus.
  • Safeguard tax-payer money by ensuring increased fiscal accountability.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Project Manager/Mother
Project Manager, Granville Homes (2013–current)
Housing and Community Development Division Manager, City of Fresno — Appointed position (2008–2012)
Housing and Community Development Division Project Manager, City of Fresno — Appointed position (2004–2008)
Community Development Planning and Resource Analyst III, County of Fresno — Appointed position (2000–2004)

Education

University of California, Berkeley Bachelors in Science, Business Administration (2000)

Community Activities

Board Member, San Joaquin Valley Housing Collaborative (2013–current)
Lector, Church (2015–current)
Member, League of Mexican American Women (2013–current)
Member, UC Berkeley Alumni Club - Central Valley/Fresno (2001–current)
Board Member, Fresno Housing Alliance (2008–2012)

Biography

I was born in the Salinas Valley, and raised in the Central Valley.  After graduating High School, I attended and graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration.  I've lived in Fresno for the past 16 years.  Fresno has become my home, where I choose to raise my children.  My husband and I are the proud parents of three lovely children, who are all Fresno Unified students. I have vast experience in governance, budgeting and contracting, which will be critical to move FUSD towards its student achievement goals.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Luis Chavez, Board President, Fresno Unified School District
  • Fresno Teachers Association
  • Paul Caprioglio, Fresno City Council Member, District 4

Organizations (9)

  • Drywall Lathers Local 9083 (Fresno)
  • Northern California Regional Council of Carpenters
  • Fresno Madera Tulare Kings Building Trades Council
  • Fresno-Madera-Tulare-Kings Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, SMW Local Union No. 104
  • Carpenter Local 701 (Fresno)
  • San Joaquin Valley Latino Leaders
  • National Women's Political Caucus
  • California Laborers for Equality and Progress

Elected Officials (8)

  • Terry Cox, Board Member, Central Unified School District
  • Brooke Ashjian, Board Member, Fresno Unified School Board
  • Eric Payne, Board Member, State Center Community College District
  • Christopher De La Cerda, Board Member, Fresno Unified School District
  • Rama Dawar, Board Member, Central Unified School District
  • Ismael Herrera, Board Member, Fresno County School Board
  • Richard Caglia, Board President, State Center Community College District
  • Esmeralda Soria, Fresno City Council Member, District 1

Individuals (4)

  • Terrance Frazier
  • Blong Xiong, Former Fresno City Council Member, District 1
  • Dan Ronquillo
  • Jerry Dyer, Fresno Police Chief

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 Claudia Cazares:

The implementing guidelines for Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) are very straightforward – allow our local school districts to decide how best to use funding aimed at turning the tide of our most disadvantaged children.  I will strongly advocate the District take the LCFF/LCAP meetings out to established and accepted community gathering places - example i.e. churches or community centers, similar to those held by the FTA.  The public can become better informed when we go to their own places of gathering to explain the District's plans and provide outcome information.  This will also serve to engage parents on a larger scale in the decision making process of Board Members.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

The intrinsic value of living in a democratic society should be lost on no one - thus my decision to participate in this campaign.  It is our civic duty to participate in our government, either by voting, educating ourselves on candidates and issues, or running for office.  As a candidate, I understand the importance of community collaboration, equality in education and accountability to the tax-payer, and will ensure these issues receive timely attention and action.

Position Papers

Fiscal Accountability

Summary

As the only candidate with experience in contracting and budgeting, I can guide the District to ensure tax-payer dollars are spent in accordance with the law and to the best benefit of our children.

With any large entity greater efforts can always be made to combat waste and create greater efficiency.  I will work to trim bloated bureaucracy and to ensure the greatest amount of tax dollars reach the classroom.  In addition, I will ensure we operate a transparent accountability system, by quickly and clearly posting expenditure reports that are easy to read and understand.  If elected, I will ensure these policies and procedures are enacted by the Administration through a collaborative and open process.  We should involve our neighbors and parents to take a role in the policy making of our District, and by providing and increased reporting system, we can ensure we receive valuable and adequate feedback to guide and reinforce our decision making process.  I will also always have an open door policy, and rely on the teachers, parents and general community to alert me when they see wasteful spending by the District and I will always bring community concerns to the school board.

Campus Safety/Security

Summary

Our children first need to feel safe before they can be expected to learn. As a Board member I will make it my priority to ensure campus and classroom safety as a basic need to ensure educational attainment.

Our children cannot learn and our teachers cannot teach if they do not feel safe.  We need to ensure that every school has adequate support staff to ensure security.  We need to work with the Fresno City Police and County Probation Department to create greater community relationships and collaboration so students feel comfortable reporting security risks.  Other successful programs nationwide include volunteer or retired community members, helping make a presence on the way to school, on campus, and on the way back home.  As a Board member I will make a direct effort to reach out to our community support network to increase the availability and resources already found in this community to support safety programs in our schools.

However, that is only part of the solution.  The District needs additional investment in anti-bullying campaigns and programs that safeguard proper restitution for victims.  We also need to ensure that students who continually threaten the safety of other students and staff are provided with appropriate disciplinary actions along with incentives and motivation to conduct themselves in a respectful and suitable manner as needed in an education environment. As a Board member, I will critically analyze the existing programs, discuss with industry professionals as well as local teachers, to ensure that these are adequately meeting the needs and situations found in our classrooms.  If change is recommended, then I will champion for support and make these as need be.  The District is charged with not only the education of our children, but also their safety, and as a Board we should ensure we provide an environment that guarantees the wellbeing of all involved. 

Vocational Education

Summary

Given that not all of our students will go on to obtain a four-year college degree, the Board should prioritize the provision of career and technical education choices.

Vocational education is the great equalizer, the difference between an inconsequential low wage job and a middle class income.  It is especially critical for an impoverished city such as Fresno to provide the opportunities as can be given through CTE courses to change the economic condition of our neighborhoods for the better.  I will use my experience in both the public and private sector to create greater partnerships with the community college system, Fresno State University, businesses, and trade organizations, to ensure our students have the greatest amount of access to a diverse range of possibilities, and skills learning they need to get a good paying job.  I will also work with the district to pursue more grant opportunities to enable the growth and sustainability of these courses.

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