Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

Franklin-MckKinley School District Governing Board

Rudy J. Rodriguez

As a school board trustee, running for re-election, the work we have done over the years in the Franklin-McKinley School District is significant. Yet, there is still more work to be done and I would appreciate your support to keep the momentum going. Providing a quality education to our children is our top priority.

  1. In a recent poll by Choose Children 2022 of likely general election voters, more than half of parents with children under age 18 say they are likely to move out of the Bay Area in the next few years. What do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how will you make our region a place where all families can thrive?

    The top three issues affecting our children and families include affordable housing, jobs that pay wages to live in the high-cost Bay Area, and equity in education funding. Affordable housing will include partnering with county and city governments to develop more programs for middle to lower income families to be able to live comfortably in the Bay Area. Our teachers are also in need of affordable housing as well to help with recruitment and retention at our schools. We must also continue raise the minimum wage to add to the high cost of living in the Bay Area. And, finally, there is a significant variation in funding for those schools in our lower income communities and this must be fixed.

  2. As we have learned over the past three years, without quality, affordable, childcare, parents can’t go to work. What will you do to address challenges accessing childcare and preschool programs in our diverse communities?

    In 2015, during my second term on the FMSD school board, we opened one of two Educare Facilities in the western U.S. This free pre-k program provides an opportunity to offer education for our younger children and to help working parents have a place for pre-school programs while they went to their jobs. To help with childcare, FMSD has partnered with wraparound programs that provide after-school programs such as CORAL that keep the children at school until the parents are off work and available to pick up their children. I will continue to advocate for programs such at these that help our working parents avoid having to pay for the high cost and availability of childcare.

  3. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the opportunity gap that children in low-income families and children of color confront (e.g., lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors, and enrichment activities). If elected, what will you do to increase equity of opportunity?

    Over the past ten years, while serving on the school board, we have taken steps to increase equity in education opportunities among all students by adopting resolutions and implementing curriculum and initiatives. These include digital access and inclusion, ethnic studies curriculum, and denouncing racism and white supremacy, supporting equity, well-being, and safety of all people of color. I will continue to advocate and support these initiatives.

  4. What steps will you take to support inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities and their families to be fully included in our community?

    The issues of providing equity and inclusion of our children with special needs is a high priority of our school district and we have taken steps to bring this priority to the top of our goals through action and program implementation. I will continue to make sure that we are providing equal access to all children and track the progress of children with special needs alongside all children.

  5. There is a mental health crisis among children, youth, and those who care for and educate them. If elected, how will you use the resources of your new role to improve access to mental and behavioral health services?

    Because of the pandemic, and now that the children are returning to in-person learning, there is a very urgent need to make sure that mental health and behavior challenges are addressed and that proper professional services are available at all of our schools. As a result, I have led the effort to provide counseling services at every school with at least one social worker leveraging our state and federal funds provided by the pandemic.