Gaylaird Christopher, the Pasadena architect who is running for Seat 6 in Tuesday's Pasadena Unified School Board race, wants to see the district make better use of adult volunteers who want to help out in the district.
Christopher said he first became interested in the school board after Superintendent Edwin Diaz spoke at his church to make a pitch for volunteers to help out in the schools.
About 100 people showed interest in becoming a mentor to a student or a tutor, he said, and 50 of them began the process of being fingerprinted and having background checks and going through other district procedures to become volunteers, as well as other necessary training.
By the time it was all over, Christopher said, there were only four volunteers left.
"It was a somewhat frustrating experience," Christopher said.
In addition to doing a better job of working with volunteers, Christopher said the district needs better financial transparency, not so much with Measure TT, but in the district's annual operating budget which Christopher says is hard to research in the documents the district has made online.
He also said he believes the district erred in voting to close two Altadena schools in November, and said that he thinks the school board in general needs to be more receptive to the public and more respectful with dealing with each other and with school administrators.
Christopher has three adult children, all of whom went to public school in Upland. He has worked in Pasadena for more than 30 years, and moved to the town after his kids got through high school.
On the vote to :
Christopher said he believes the board should have looked for other solutions to keeping the schools open. He said that low enrollment is the district's main problem- as he pointed out, thousands of kids who live in the district's boundaries attend private school.
As long as schools are being shut down and teachers are being laid off, the district will never attract those students back, Christopher said.
He added that he believes that the current system leaves students separated by income level, and prevents them from being exposed to the full range of income level and class that they would experience in normal society. He said he believes that students of all income levels would benefit from not being separated from people who are not exactly like them.
Board member Tom Selinske, whom Christopher is running against, voted in favor of closing the schools.
Parcel tax measures:
Christopher voted for and supported the successful 2008 Measure TT, but opposed Measure CC, the 2010 measure that was voted down. He said that he believed that unlike TT, the district did not adequately explain what projects it would do with the money, and said he actively campaigned against the measure as a result.
Selinske was a supporter of both measures.
Equality of spending across the district:
Christopher has called for more financial transparency and has made a specific issue of .
He said that he believes that spending more per child is not necessarily going to improve the district, but said he would like to have a better idea of exactly what the district is spending its money on across the district.