Opinion: Segal, Dharap for school board

Opinion of the Daily Post

In the four-way race for two seats on the Palo Alto school board, newcomer Shana Segal and incumbent Shounak Dharap are the best choices.

Shana Segal is a breath of fresh air for the school board. She combines the experience of a teacher and a parent. Within a few minutes of meeting her, you realize that she would be a good fit.
As a parent, she jumped into the race after a couple of blunders by the district spurred her into action.
First, she learned in the newspaper that her kids’ school, Palo Verde, would be moving to Cubberley. Nobody told the parents in advance. Bad communications.

Second, she objected the board’s decision to approve an English and language arts curriculum for the elementary schools. She pointed out that students didn’t have anything to do when they finished an assignment, the phonics lessons were weak, and the text books didn’t include people from different backgrounds. She said the board should have listened to the teachers who tried the curriculum out on a pilot basis.

Being both a teacher and parent of children in PAUSD gives her insights others lack. It should also be noted that she has a great attitude that will lead to cooperation on the board and when it comes to how the board works with parents. There aren’t many candidates like Segal. She’s a gem that the voters are lucky to have on the ballot.

Shounak Dharap, a parent who will soon have a child in the district, deserves to be re-elected because he’s had some important accomplishments in his first term.

The first was approving a student achievement plan that allows the board and the public to provide oversight of how schools are doing — something the district hasn’t had before.

The second is allocating $16 million to hire 16 therapists at each elementary, middle and high school. The district had previously contracted mental health support to outside organizations, but having therapists be employed by the district will keep them on campus full time. Students already have more consistent access.
His third accomplishment is that the district’s reading scores for third graders went up last year, even with the challenges posed by the pandemic. The increase helped reduce the achievement gap with scores improving for kids who are learning English or come from poorer families.

The district has made a lot of strides in the past couple of years, and we’re confident that Dharap will keep things going in the right direction.

We recommend Segal and Dharap for the two seats on the board.