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School Board Candidates

Original post made by Pleasanton Resident, Birdland, on Oct 14, 2008

I just received the "County of Alameda sample ballot and voter information"

Not all the candidates for school board are listed, so here is a website - from the League of Women Voters - where you can see all the candidates:

Web Link

Comments (27)

Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Foothill High School
on Oct 14, 2008 at 10:54 am

After watching the candidate forum and reading their literature together with my knowledge of the candidates this is my two cents.

Taxpayers hold on to your wallets without Steve Brososky on the School Board, Arkin is our best hope to fiscally challenge the district. We need representatives that are independent critical thinkers, who listen to parents, understand that kids are not academic robots and understand the Boards management role with the Superintendent and Unions.


Valerie is smart and likable with a parent perspective. Valerie has been involved in many areas of our community advocating for our youth. I believe she will work to look critically at issues.


Jamie has worked hard at the PTA level, she has a real knowledge of PUSD issues, and she has a parent perspective. She has been on district committees and attended board meetings; she has worked hard for the district and is not afraid to challenge the district, which I believe is why we have elected representatives.

I was shocked that the teachers union did not endorse Jamie, she organized a rally in support of the budget, she deserved their endorsement. I like her more for not getting the CTA endorsement. Independent thinkers are a threat to special interest groups.

I am not comfortable with Jamie’s partisan involvement (I want our local politics to be nonpartisan).

Jamie and I don’t always agree on issues, it is her hard working, independent thinking that I respect.


Chris is also smart and likable; he has a high level of knowledge of PUSD. He was appointed to the board so he has the gift of incumbency. Chris is far too eager for a parcel tax and has not look critically at the many manipulated justifications for a parcel tax. Brozosky was the only Board member to understand the “budget crisis”.

Chris has been on the Board long enough that I hope he will start showing more critical thinking.

Chris is a nice guy, he has given a lot of time to the district and he is open to parent input.

Jeff Bowser is smart and pleasant but his wife is a teacher. It may not be a legal conflict of interest but I believe it is a practical and ethical conflict of interest. It is no surprise the CTA gave him their endorsement. I will not vote for him.

Prasad Rallapalli has had limited involvement with the district, he does not know enough about the district.

Stephen Page, does not appear to be running.


Posted by Julie Testa
a resident of Foothill High School
on Oct 14, 2008 at 11:02 am

Candidates that did not pay the $1057 for the candidate statement are at a disadvantage.

To file to run for school board for PUSD is free but the candidate must pay the cost of the candidate statement $1057. Without the statement your name will appear on the ballot but nothing else.

The City of Pleasanton requires $25 to file, $255 for the candidate statement to run for council or mayor.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2008 at 3:33 pm

What is JAMIE HINZKE's educational background? She does not mention it on the website listed or on the guide.

Posted by Wondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Just wondering why educational background has suddenly become so important. I don't know what Jamie's background is but I do know that a current school board member(Mr. Brozosky) never revealed his educational background while running for city council or applying to fill a school board position and no one questioned it. Maby it is time for him to clue us in as well.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2008 at 8:23 pm

I am just curious. A friend of mine lives in a school district where someone without a college degree (in fact, a high school dropout) got elected to the school board.

Other PUSD candidates do give their educational background (bachelors degree, etc), so I would like to know what Jamie's background is. I have seen her signs in some yards, yet it makes me wonder why she is reluctant to state her background?

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2008 at 8:33 pm

To clarify my comment: my friend's school district went through elections in 2006, only to find later on about the trustee's lack of high school and college degrees. This person is an advocate for vocational training and many are not too happy with it.

I have to disclose where and when I got my bachelor's and master's every time I switch jobs, so why shouldn't a person running for the *job* of school board trustee be expected to do any less?

Jamie, I am sure, has a good background, please share it with us before we have to go vote.

Julie Testa is recommending Jamie, so please let us know all the information so we can all make informed decisions on Nov. 4

Posted by KAT
a resident of Oak Tree Acres
on Oct 14, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Many intelligent people do not have degrees. Many past school board and city council representatives have not had degrees. George Bush has degrees but he is still dumb.
Why not ask Bill Gates where he got his degree?

Posted by I'm wondering too
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 14, 2008 at 9:53 pm

While it's true that some intelligent people don't have degrees, it does say a lot about a person. It says how motivated they are, and if they view education as a priority. For a school board position especially, I think there is a greater need for a person with a degree. Regarding Bill Gates, he dropped out of Harvard if I'm not mistaken. He did get into HARVARD, but then dropped out to start his own company. With Bush, it was money and his name that got him into college. Everyone should disclose it no matter what it is.

Posted by Sue
a resident of California Reflections
on Oct 14, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Guess Gates was not very motivated.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2008 at 10:15 pm

I am guessing that Jamie does not have a college degree?

Posted by Concerned Pleasanton Resident and Voter
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2008 at 6:36 am

I cannot believe some people here think College is not important.

Yes, Bill Gates does not have a college degree, but he got accepted into an Ivy league school, then with other ivy league school classmates, started a company and became very rich. This is great for him, but not everyone makes it in life without a degree. Besides, he valued College enough: he applied and got accepted into a very competitive (and not easy to get into) university.

I hope we are not going to start telling our kids, here in Pleasanton, that a college degree is not necessary.

All candidates for school board should disclose whether they have a college degree or not.

People who serve on school boards should value education, and having a college degree says something about how much or little a person values higher education.

Posted by Barb
a resident of Grey Eagle Estates
on Oct 15, 2008 at 8:13 am

No one here has spoken for Jamie, her phone number and email is public information and she has invited people to contact her as all candidates do.
Contact her, don't make assumptions or start rumors.

Posted by Who started rumors?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Barb: who is starting rumors? From reading these posts, I don't see anyone starting rumors.

People just want to know the candidates' educational background. Most already volunteered it in their statements.

To me, it is uncomfortable to email a candidate just to find our her educational background - maybe others feel the same way.

I will have to make my decision based on what is out there for each candidate, and in my opinion, if Jamie Hinzke had a college degree, she would have written that down as part of her statement. I could be wrong, but I do not see why any candidate would leave her college credentials out - again, the other non-incumbent candidates all wrote down what their educational background is (even the one who did not write anything about himself, wrote down his college credentials)

Posted by Sue
a resident of California Reflections
on Oct 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm

Sure glad we had two trustees with law degrees when we got into the failed Signature contract. Of all of the trustees on the board with degrees Steve Brozosky was the only board member that could see reason during the "budget crisis".

Jamie Hinzke has already demonstrated that she is hard working and gets things done. More than I would say for some past and current trustees.

From Hinzke's website:

Top Priorities if Elected:
Academic Excellence

Are you really suggesting that she or anyone in Pleasanton would tell our kids that a college degree is not an important goal?

Posted by Wondering
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2008 at 7:59 pm

I am still wondering why education has become an important issue. Since Mr Brozosky was never required to disclose his educational background while running for city council, mayor and applying to fill a school borad seat it may be time for him to educate us on where he received his enginering degree

Posted by Ann
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Having the ability to read and comprehend complex information and the discipline to have achieved a higher level of formal educational are important assets to one seeking a position on the school board. We are asking our School Board trustees to think critically and make informed decisions about important issues effecting our students while taking into account the many ponts of view and the facts available to them. A higher education, like college and graduate school, provides a candidate with some basic level of experience and exposure to critical thinking, along with the intellectual discipline necessary for this important position. A college degree also goes hand in hand with other personal qualities such as a commitment to community service, the ability to work respectfully with others on a board and the willingness to look at many aspects of an issue. I'm supporting Valerie Arkin for School Board because I think she is a well-grounded, educated, intelligent and highly qualified member of my community who will listen to me and others while adding her own valuable insignts on the school board to issues that effect our children's current and future educational achievements.

Posted by I don't think so
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2008 at 11:44 pm

She may be all of the things that Ann states but she is intrenced in the nay sayer crowed(Brozosky, Ayala, Fox, Testa, Karla Brown, Pugh, O'conner, Roberts, McGovern, Martens, Brian Arkin, and temproarily Matt Sullivan) that has been an absticle for anything getting done in the city. She has been very verbal at city council meetings crtizing council members(mostly because her husband has not been able to get himself elected). The school board and the city have had a long good relationship and someone who does not have any respect for our current city council members would be a detriment to continuing this relationship.

Posted by spellchecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2008 at 12:25 am

To I don't think so---
I sure hope you aren't one of the people above questioning the educational background of some of the candidates for office. Your spelling is so atrocious I can't imagine that you had the benefit of a higher education.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Oct 16, 2008 at 2:41 am

Boy, I'm sure glad we have people with "a higher level of education" in Sacramento and Washington, DC. If not, can you imagine what a mess this state and country would be in...:)

Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 16, 2008 at 8:04 am

I agree with Ann regarding the importance of having community leaders that know how to think critically. I disagree with Ann in that a college education can provide that. It amazed me when I attended university to discover just how brain dead some other students there could be. Critical thinking skills do get taught (they start in high school) but some amount of effort by the student also is required for success. Getting a degree does show that someone has at least the discipline and commitment level to work through something long-term and achieve a goal.

Posted by KAT
a resident of Oak Tree Acres
on Oct 16, 2008 at 8:18 am

Unnecessary BASHING..... there are three seats open.

I will vote for ARKIN, HINZKE, GRANT for School Board.

Posted by Get off your high horse
a resident of Foothill High School
on Oct 16, 2008 at 4:27 pm

To "I don't think so",

What do you mean by "criticizing" the city council? Do you really mean "disagree"? Back up your statement with facts. Can no one disagree with the council or that means they are disrespecting them? Are you kidding?

On the contrary, I now have more respect for Arkin in that she is not intimidated and will stand up for her beliefs. I give her (and anyone else) credit for doing that. I'm more inclined to vote for her now! I agree with the other statement too. There are 3 seats available and I like the 3 candidates stated above.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Wow! All I can say is that people will vote according to their values. I want my kids to think College is important, and they know they have no choice: college is just the continuation of high school.

Posted by Nancy
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 16, 2008 at 11:19 pm

To the group: What are the most important qualities, traits, characteristics we look for when selecting a school board member?

Posted by Prasad Rallapalli
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 20, 2008 at 7:13 pm

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself.

I am Prasad Rallapalli and I am running for the School Board because I wanted to give back to the community. I have been endorsed by The Independent and The Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce.

I hope you will agree that our students deserve a World Class Education
* To Acquire and Apply Knowledge not just get high test scores i.e. we must teach to enhance learn and apply knowledge and the scores will follow rather than teach to the test
* To Compete Globally - starting with college eduction and going on through their careers our students will face global competition and need to be prepared to compete successfully.
* To Become Leaders - we need to encourage our students to develop and apply leadership skills
* To Thrive not just survive - the future of our city, state and national economy will depend on our students (future citizens) successfully achieving their full potential. We need to set measurable goals such as enable more than 95% of our students to be eligible for college that will enable them to thrive in this global economy.
* To Think Globally and Act Locally - the challenges of the world our student will inherit are global and as leaders they must act locally to effect global outcomes whether it is energy independence or reducing green house gases.

I believe we can continue to foster excellence and achieve these goals despite tight budgets and other constraints that we are bound to face in the coming years. I have some ideas to help achieve this without breaking the bank, such as:

Promote private-public partnership
* Leverage rich human resources, expertise, rare skillsets of Tri Valley area

Revive, encourage interest in the Sciences, Math, Literature, Languages and Fine Arts

* "Each One Teach One" - I want to encourage our great community to help teach students -especially those who need some help and scoring below the median. Many of us volunteer already but just imagine if every one of us volunteered just an hour a week to help students in our individual areas of expertise - whatever it might be - academic or athletic, in the arts and in the sciences, in English, Spanish or other languages. We can use technology to help match volunteer resources to student needs on a one-to-one basis.

* Encourage students to compete in local and global competitions to become all that they can be i.e achieve their full potential.

What I bring to the table:

* I have an MBA (from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - set up in collaboration with Harvard Business School); an MS and a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California.

* I have developed and taught graduate courses for many years at Golden Gate University, Claremont Graduate University and graduate trainee programs for Global Fortune 1000 companies.

* I have decades of multi-national Engineering and Management experience with Fortune 100 Corporations and Technology startups and currently work for Yahoo as a Database Architect.

* Both our kids have been in Pleasanton USD schools since '99 - so as parents we are well aware of the ground realities - whether it is overcrowding or the obesity epidemic.

* I Co-Founded Pleasanton Science League with a fellow Yahoo! This initiative has enjoyed growing, active and enthusiastic participation by many students, parents, teachers and administrators.
Last year, we coached 2 teams for UC Junior Solar Sprint Challenge (JSSC),Berkeley 2008
Currently over 20 students are actively participating and planning to compete in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), JSSC and other local and worldwide competitions.

* My wife is a Special Ed teacher in Fremont USD so I have a very good understanding of the needs of students who need special educational resources.

I am sure you all have great ideas to help achieve these goals for our children and I look forward to hearing from you in this forum or via email and I would love to hear from you both before and after the election.

For more information please see any of my websites:
1. Web Link
2. Web Link or
Web Link

You can also email me at


Posted by New to Pleasanton and you have my vote
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Thanks for the information, Prasad. You are one of the candidates my husband and I were already planning to vote for. We have two kids in the Pleasanton schools. I hope other people see your information - you have much to offer to the school district.

Posted by Prasad Rallapalli
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 21, 2008 at 11:44 am

Thanks for your vote and great support and kind comments.

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