Candidate Forum

Thank you to the Arcadia Council PTA, Arcadia Educational Foundation, and Arcadia Teacher's Association for hosting the Candidate Forum on February 19th. And thanks to the Apache News team for recording it so everyone who didn't make it can watch it at home.

Arcadia Weekly Article on the Candidate Forum

Video from Candidate Forum on February 19, 2020

February 11, 2020 Board Meeting

Highlights from the Meeting

  • The Committees on Measure A and Measure I briefed the board that all expenditures were spent on items as required by each respective measure.

  • A public hearing was held and a resolution approved to increase the School Facilities Fee. These are developer fees for new properties that are expected to increase enrollment at AUSD campuses. The fees were increased from $3.79/sqft to $4.08/sqft for residential properties and to $0.66 from $0.61 for commercial.

  • A new medical careers course was introduced for Arcadia High School. This is a yearlong class that will cover the various medical related careers that students may be interested in. This will also include certification in CPR and First Aid.

  • Dr. Vannasdall spoke briefly on the issues surrounding the coronavirus outbreak in China. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and fear surrounding the coronavirus and some students were subjected to bullying based on these fears. The district is working hard at getting good information out to students and families. 


January 28, 2020 Board Meeting

Highlights from the Meeting

  • National School Counseling Week was recognized. The district recently hired full-time counselors at each of the elementary and middle school campuses. This is a much needed resource and benefits the students and the district as a whole very much. On a personal note, I've found Ms. Lauxen at Hugo Reid to be an absolute treasure and we are very lucky to have her as a counselor for the primary and elementary school.

  • The School Accountability Report Cards (SARC) were approved as part of the consent calendar. Although they are not yet on the website, they can be downloaded from the agenda. Taking a look at the AHS report, English scores rebounded from last year's 65% meeting/exceeding state standards to 74%, but are still down from four years ago of 80%. Math scores, unfortunately, remain far down at 66% meeting/exceeding standards. I'm also not clear on why this was on the consent calendar, this should have been an information item with lots of charts/graphs indicating what progress has been made.

  • A presentation was made on the Governor's Proposals for the 2020-21 State Budget and K-12 Education. One interesting trend is that automobile loans are beginning to look like the mortgage industry that caused the last recession with people borrowing much more than their income seems to allow. Additionally, although the California economy is doing well, it is projected that growth will slow in the next few years. The stock market is rocking, but it may take stocks to "unsustainable peaks." Overall, the budget does not reflect increased Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) targets or any help with CalSTRS and CalPERS pension costs which is a big threat to our local budget.

January 14, 2020 Board Meeting

Highlights from the Meeting

  • Arcadia High School's ASB presented on recent events including an after-school event on January 9th called “Throwback Thursday - Return of the Crispito.” Many of you may remember the beloved Crispito, served piping hot, but so good that burning your tongue was worth the pain. But the Crispito is no longer served at the high school save for this special event. The students really seemed to enjoy the event so hopefully they will make it a regular tradition.
  • Longley Way Principal Travis Long discussed the lengthy and difficult process he and his staff went through to achieve Distinguished School and Blue Ribbon status. This is a very significant and impressive achievement and cake was actually served at the board meeting to celebrate. Such an achievement really deserves much more recognition and it would be nice for more people to be able to see it and celebrate it (see

  • The Visual and Performing Arts SWAG (Small Working Arcadia Group) presented the AUSD Strategic Arts Plan. This is a five-year Strategic Plan which builds upon and strengthens the visual and performing arts program and curriculum at the district. Part of the plan is to create an Arcadia Arts Council to guide and advocate for the arts within the district and the community. Superintendent Vannasdall said something interesting about this group saying, "the ones best suited to solve problems are the ones closest to it,” which really encapsulates a big reason why I'm running in this election as a vested parent with children in the district.

December 10, 2019 Board Meeting

Highlights from the Meeting

  • The Arcadia High School track is due for an overhaul. The entire track surface is to be removed and replaced with new material and is scheduled to take place between May and August 2020. This will overlap the school year by 3 weeks on both sides. The total cost for the project is $2.3 million.

  • The accounting firm, Nigro & Nigro, PC, conducted a financial audit of the district accounting practices and had no major findings.

  • The first interim financial statement was delivered:
    • The 2018-2019 budget had an unaudited deficit of $1.6 million while 2019-2020 has a projected deficit of $7.5 million.
    • Upcoming unfunded pension obligations and decreased cost of live adjustment (COLA) increases to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) are also expected to impact future budgets negatively.
    • Total student enrollment is expected to continue to decline also affecting revenue.

  • A coordinator position for the Performing Arts Center was approved. It is hoped that increased rental use of the space will eventually bring it to be a financially self-sufficient facility.