Edmonds School Board Director District 5 candidate: Mark Zandberg

Mark Zandberg

As part of our continuing Election 2011 coverage, My Edmonds News presents statements submitted by candidates for the Edmonds School Board, District 5.

My candidacy offers what no other candidate can offer. I have worked for the District for more than six years and I know where the District needs to improve.

While my opponents may rant and rave about their involvement in committees and their close association with district leadership, their perspective is skewed and obstructed by reality. An endorsement from current or departing board members is just an advertisement that taxpayers will have more of the same if they are elected. If you are satisfied with the drone of monotonous and uninspired oversight, do not vote for me.

My presence on the Board would offer a voice for the voiceless; for staff that have good ideas but fear to express them, for a community that has grown tired of spending scarce resources on less than stellar results.

We can do so much better, but as long as we continue to elect five like-minded individuals that never challenge district management, we will never grow as a school district or as a community.

With regard to the many questionable real estate transactions that cost our district millions of dollars, I wouldn’t have let any of them slip by without meaningful questions. This current board blindly accepts what district management tells them. While they have a level of involvement when it comes to their children, they don’t seem to understand the financial impact of poor choices in operations. With my election to the school board, there will be at least one critical mind delving into facilities and property issues.

I am running for school board because I believe our community wants and expects more.

I am convinced that if we give voters an opportunity to vote for qualified candidates, they will.

I am convinced that our community seeks a board of greater diversity but, until now, there haven’t been many great candidates.

I am convinced that we need to be more deliberate in evaluating when and how to spend public funds. I don’t agree with the current philosophy that any money spent on our children is money well spent. Such money needs to be spent wisely.

I completed my undergraduate work at the University of Oregon in Economics and Anthropology. I completed a number of graduate courses in Crisis Management for Facilities Managers at Michigan State University.

I have lived and worked throughout Africa in schools and universities. I have seen the benefits of an exceptional educational foundation and I am convinced we can nurture and strengthen such results in the Edmonds School District.

For more information, visit www.markzandberg.com and www.esd15.net

  1. You’ve got my vote Mark. I think the current board is full of drones that merely pay lip service & are completely ineffective at understanding their policies let alone enforcing them. Its time to get some new enthusiasm in there, maybe I’ll actually attend a “snooze fest.” Oh wait, that was a school board meeting.

  2. Maybe he can explain what he means when he says of his opponents views: …their perspective is skewed and obstructed by reality.

    Am I to assume that his views are not influenced by reality?

  3. Also, Mr. Zandberg, I would appreciate an explanation of your failed lawsuit alleging wrongful termination for exercising your free speech rights. According to Federal Appeals Court documents dated May 2010, none of the School District’s actions were “reasonably likely to deter” him from engaging in protected speech. and it goes on to say evidence shows that Zandberg voluntarily resigned.

    To be fair, that’s just a Federal Judge’s opinion, so before I leap to the conclusion that this was a frivolous lawsuit that wasted School District money I’d like to hear your side of the story. I know nothing of this story other than what is in that document.

  4. Joe (et al.)

    The legal case was neither frivolous nor unfounded. My key concern was maintaining my stellar reputation for working for the good of the public. I was accused of revealing confidential material relating to the district’s shoddy real estate transactions and it was only through legal action that I could depose Marla Miller and get her to admit that nothing confidential was revealed.

    This was a typical district tactic. Isolate opposition by claiming they violated public trust and then move all of their work to others until they resign.

    First, real estate transactions and the way they materialized, should never be “confidential” more than 90 days after they have closed when it concerns public funds. This district routinely hides critical discussion that should be heard by the public.

    I warmly welcome anyone to read the entries found at http://www.esd15.net and add it to the propaganda the district spoonfeeds us. See what makes sense.

    As for my candidacy, I can guarantee that no one else will stand up for the community and offer the alternate perspective.

    For those of you that worry about my election, why would you not want someone advocating for the consideration of other ideas – especially when I would always be in the minority.

    As I mentioned in my statement, do not vote for me if you want more of the same. I am not more of the same.

    Visit the forum, pick a topic and discover what this board and district didn’t want you to know. Piano scams, bad real estate deals, ineligible board candidates and a pile of other issues – all of which divert funds away from our district’s core mission – to educate our children.

  5. Mark, you didn’t answer the question in #2 above.

    What I’m getting out of your statements is that you seem to have an intense dislike for the people in the district now, as well as the other candidates. You say that you are different from everybody else, but you don’t say how. Most importantly, you don’t say why the School Board would better serve my interests if you are on it.

    You do seem like you may be more interested in avenging their misdeeds against you than in serving the needs of the citizens like me. Please tell me why that’s not true.

  6. Joe,

    You are right. I somehow missed providing the answer to your question, though I did answer the others.

    Our current board is routinely misinformed by district administration and reality is something they frequently appear to avoid. Reality seems to get in their way frequently and they go out of their way to avoid hitting it.

    While I can provide a long list of the many issues they clearly missed, a key issue is the clear evidence of falling enrollment that was the cornerstone of every Capital Facilities Plan that I prepared for the District and the School Board. The “reality” of our decreasing state funds was never understood by the Board, despite their adoption of every CFP that I presented to them. They chose to ignore the student enrollment forecasting and just went with a “business as usual” approach.

    The consequences were profound. Rather than gradually making adjustments in future expenditures and slowly trim or modify programming, they waited until the bad news was at their doorstep. This required immediate cuts and staff reductions without the benefit of adequate preparation.

    Had the board been advised openly and honestly by district administration, they would not have been put in a position to cut entire programs without real notice.

    I have no dislike for the people that work in district administration. The vast majority of them are great people. My concern stems from a clear misalignment between positions and responsibilities. We currently have a number of people making critical decisions without the advantage of experience or good judgment. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be a huge financial drain on our schools, but then under normal circumstances a school board would be fully informed and engaged in all district issues.

    Whether a person supports my candidacy or objects to everything I represent, there can be no doubt that my presence on the Board would definitely improve the chance of meaningful discussion and deliberation. I see my role as making sure all of the issues are presented before the Board makes a determination as to the path to follow. Currently, and for the last many years, our community has not had such a voice on the Board.

    I appreciate your questions and I am grateful for the opportunity and forum to address them.

  7. Hi, Mark,
    forgive me for not knowing your opponent. I presume you must defeat someone to “improve” the board. Who is it, and what mindless things has this person done that exhibit a “me,too” attitude or herd mentality or groupthink or poor judgment or non-critical thinking?

  8. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I now have a much better understanding of your views.

  9. Position 5 incumbent Patrick Shields is not running for reelection. None of the 4 candidates for this position have served on the board.

  10. Glenn,

    I have a proven track record for asking hard questions and not accepting intentionally misleading answers.

    While I respect the other candidates and their willingness to invest personal time and energy to serve on the Board, I cannot see how any other candidate would offer anything other that what we’ve had for years.

    I am not running for a board seat so I can exert influence over how my children are treated at school. I won’t use my position to get my children into a school that other child attend because they won the lottery. I won’t use my seat to ensure that my wife has a brand new classroom in Bothell.

    My candidacy is all about representing the community as a whole, not just parents. The Board serves the entire community and we need more advocacy for the concerns of the majority.

    A better board means a better school district, which means a stronger community with better schools where people want to live.

    My goal is to make board meetings more informative. A more informed community is a better community.

  11. One more thing.

    I believe that more than six years of exceptional service to the District makes me significantly more qualified to serve on its board.

    I have worked with district partners, managed projects with parent groups, ensured that safe walkways are constructed for our students, studied demographic trends in our district and developed the District’s Capital Facilities Plan for community review and board adoption.

  12. My family personally met with the entire School Board, Mr. Brossoit & Mr. Limon, & Mr. Schwab last school year regarding the blatant disregard for my daughter’s health, welfare & safety after the school “misread” the date on the Court’s ORDER OF PROTECTION that we were granted in Snohomish County. Does anyone know how difficult those are to get? The courts do not take those matters lightly by any means. The date was very clearly hand written & spelled out almost a half inch tall & over five inches across the form & they admitted in writing that they had been given a copy of it & that SEVERAL school personnel had read it. Simply amazing, no joke I can prove it.

    We received a very sympathetic apology from the board members, a letter restating their apology & a lot of lip service about how they were going to communicate their polices to their administrators & of course told us that anyone that failed to adhere to the policies would be properly punished but as a matter of disciplinary issues they can’t tell you what we do….etc. A really neat way of saying “if we do nothing or anything it is none of your business.”

    By the end of the school year I spoke to another parent after finding the court documents where the court granted an Order of Protection against another student (in the same district but at a different school) that was also blatantly ignored. How difficult would it have been for the district to send out at the very least an email reminding school administrators the the “relationship” that exists between law enforcement & the schools? Or to reiterate to administrators that HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION & BULLING would not be tolerated as required by law?

    They did nothing at all if another court order was disregarded, our complaint was not taken seriously. I guess they were patiently waiting for the new law to take effect before they took a minute to worry about the safety of our children. As far I my vote – none of the current members have mine, unopposed or not. I’ll leave it blank. You all looked me in the eyes when you apologized. You know who I am, you also all looked my daughter in her eyes. NONE of you cared. Finances at the district are the LEAST of our worries if our children are not safe.

    Also, I just LOVE it when under educated people start talking about how much lawsuits such as the suit brought by Mark costs taxpayers or districts or whomever they claim it effects when it just is not necessarily correct. The district’s insurance company pays for the attorneys so the suit didn’t cost the district or taxpayers a penny, all district employees pay premiums to cover it & have for years & all districts in this state have HUGE insurance coverage because the law requires the coverage. Quite simply because they know educators & administrators are not perfect. Access Washington has a great search feature so the Revised Code of Washington is really quite easy to find, check it out for yourself. However, the courts of course at the request of the prevailing party in lawsuits quite often make the losing party reimburse them, in that case it doesn’t even cost the insurance company in the end as long as they recover what the court orders.

    I do not think the other candidates could possibly have the same passion for making improvements in the district that Mark has regardless of their backgrounds IMHO.

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