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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: Barbara Inch

This year there are three candidates vying for two open seats for School Board of trustees for the Emery Unified School District.  The three Emeryville residents are Barbara Inch, Cruz Vargas and Ken Bukowski.  First up is Barbara Inch.  The Tattler asks five questions:

Tattler:  Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system?

Barbara Inch:  I consider the office of School Board Trustee to be a representative of the community and together they make up the school system. They should not be seen as separate entities. It is very important for the board to be seen as open, accessible, and representative of the community. Transparency and trust in a governing body is critical to building a functional community built around the schools.

Tattler:  What is your own experience with public education?

Barbara Inch:  I attended public schools in California and my son attends a public (not charter) school in Oakland. My husband has been a public school teacher, administrator, and board member. I volunteer in my son’s classroom and am active in his school.
Before my son entered kindergarten, I began following the Emery School Board, met with the administration, and  toured the school. I am a member of the Parks and Recreation Committee which has allowed me to see how the City-School partnership works first hand.

Tattler:  What are your priorities for the district in the coming year? Why and how did you select these issues.

Barbara Inch:  
-Improve leadership. I plan to take a very active role in refocusing administration on supporting teachers and staff development. The leadership needs to empower students, parents, and teachers.
-School messaging and outreach is out of date on inclusion and equity. Schools must be the model of positive engagement on ideas and issues of race, gender, LGBTQ, religion and religious attire. I will work to create an school environment that is welcoming to ALL families.
-Improving our schools’ academic performance. Emery has some of the worst test scores at the middle school level. I believe parents leave the district before this critical time because of these struggles.
I have adopted these issues as my top three priorities because I feel they will have the biggest impact on student performance, creating a positive educational experience, and preparing our student for their futures.

Tattler:  In 2012 more than 90% of teachers at Emery signed the 'Teachers Resolution' expressing no confidence in the former Superintendent of the Schools.  The teachers asked the Board for their support with the Resolution but the Board refused and ignored the request of virtually the entire teaching staff (please see the Tattler for details).  More recently the teachers were united in their voices to delay the opening of the ECCL citing student safety and lack of curriculum reasons.  Again the Board ignored the teachers request. The teachers at Emery have felt their voices are not being heard by the Board of the Administration.  Please explain what you think broke down in these two cases.

Barbara Inch:  I remember watching a clip of the Teachers’ Resolution on video and I was at the September 14, 2016 board meeting. Too often the board has been unmovable. This has been the norm over the years. The breakdown is that the intention of the board is decided in advance. On these occasions it was clear that no matter what the teachers said the outcome would be the same. Their valid  concerns have been dismissed by the board president. I understand that it takes courage to speak up and when you stifle  their voice and discourage them from participation, you create an atmosphere of mistrust.

Tattler:  Parents too felt ignored by the Board during planning meetings for ECCL when they requested hearings into the wisdom of closing Anna Yates Elementary School.  The Board refused to entertain holding even a single meeting to gauge public concern or hear the parent's and citizen's ideas.  Please explain what you think broke down when parents and citizens were not listened to.

Barbara Inch:  When people attend a school board vote they come with a certain exception that public comments will not only be listened but truly considered. They want to have an impact of the board vote. That is how it is suppose to work.  But the majority of board member too often stands united and dismiss the public. Although the community is humored with the option for public comment there seems to be little expectation or hope of impacting any decisions that has already made.  As you already know there are two open seats on school board. John Affeldt has resigned effective in December. When Christian Patz wins his bid for City Council, his seat will also be open. Now that the new site is open and 3 or 4 new board members starting fresh, I hope to see a lot of progress in the board responding to families, teachers, and community feedback and improving the quality of education in Emeryville.


  1. Fricke came to my door. i voted for him.
    Frank Flores came to my door. i voted for him.
    Donahue came to my door. i voted for him.

    this year Nobody came to my door.
    I'm voting for Nobody.

  2. This is were the problem is , Most of the voters of Emeryville do not have children in the District because of the crap that has been a steady pattern of I am the Head and I am gonna do it my way,(or you can take your child somewhere else) with no regards to what the parent or child's needs are. They have put their children in a district of better communication and better parent involvement , and better leaders, because when things are one sided the whole school gets hostile and you have teachers trying their best to teach with what they have . We might ask our School head honchos why is it that THEIR CHILDREN DO NOT GO TO EMERY. Yah we want the best for ours, just like they want theirs . So why can't we have it. WE NEED TO CHOOSE GREAT LEADERS FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR BABIES, LEADERS THAT WILL STAND UP AS A SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE AND DON'T BACK DOWN WHEN THEY KNOW IT WAS WRONG IN THE FIRST PLACE . LISTEN TO OUR GREAT TEACHERS , FOR THEY ARE THE ONES THAT DEAL WITH THE CHILDREN EVERYDAY. THEY KNOW WHAT THE NEEDS FOR THEM ARE AND WHAT TOOLS CAN HELP TO MAKE OUR STUDENTS THE BEST THEY CAN BE AND LISTEN TO PARENTS , DON'T PUSH THEIR CONCERNS LOCKED BEHIND CLOSE DOORS IN MEETINGS OF ANY KIND, AND HOPE THEY GO AWAY. IF YOU HAVE A CHILD THAT ATTENDS THIS SCHOOL OR IF YOU DON'T PLEASE READ AND VOTE FOR THE PERSON YOU WOULD WANT FOR THE BEST LEADER OF OUR FUTURE LEADERS.