Guest Opinion | Billy Malone: Why You Should Vote For Me – Pasadena Now
When considering a candidate for any position, including a District 1 PUSD School Board candidate, a voter asks, “Why should I vote for you? What makes you different?” Here is what makes me, Billy Malone, different:
I believe in the PUSD and my child will be proudly graduating from a PUSD high school. I’ve been involved directly in her school – volunteering, attending meetings – I know the students and staff and they know me.
My support of PUSD schools includes having voted for Measure O and supporting the evolution of Altadena Arts Magnet and its French Dual Immersion program, both of which have increased enrollment and turned it into a thriving school with a waitlist. I also supported Blair Armenian Academy and I advocated for Muir’s Early College Magnet program, having written grant letters of support to Washington DC on its behalf.
We moved to Pasadena in 1992 and then to central Altadena in 2005, where I have been actively involved in our community. Among the many organizations in which I am involved, I have served on the Altadena Town Council for 5 terms which has allowed me the opportunity to work closely with our community members and organizations, with PUSD principals and assistant principals, and with library directors and staff. It has also given me many years of working closely with our Los Angeles county representatives.
While data is important, it’s essential to remember that most of those numbers represent people. I grew up in government housing in England where I recall putting coins in a meter so we could have electricity, hoping it didn’t run out in the middle of our favorite TV show. I have dyslexia which made my early school experience quite difficult, I have a wife with a disability and a very academic daughter, so I understand the very different needs that students and families have, and my real world and personal experiences have led me to be a more thoughtful leader that generally starts with the consideration of others and their needs over my own.
I do not believe in closing/consolidating schools (with the idea that those students will move into lower-enrolled schools). When we close and consolidate schools, we create an opening for non-PUSD schools to come in and draw our students away from PUSD. We need to keep our schools open and serve those students ourselves. We need to strengthen our schools with fiscally responsible programs, rather than closing them, in order to serve the complex diversity that makes PUSD unique and as wonderful as it is.
School Board members are individuals but they also need to work together. I am known to be diplomatic and have the ability to work well with others who don’t necessarily see eye to eye with me. Board members have to have strong ideas, be motivational , and know how to work as a team. As a PUSD Board Trustee, these are goals I intend to work towards:
- Make every campus a successful campus of choice: if every campus offers its own unique, competitive programs, then every school has something that attracts the individual student, making it a school that students will be proud to choose.
- Increase enrollment: when schools (their parents, staff, and board representatives) work together and help promote each other rather than worrying which school will close next and developing the divisiveness that closures bring, our schools become stronger and more attractive. I plan to be an active part in that collaboration. In addition, it is time to change the dialogue, stop with the negativity, focus on and promote the positives in Pasadena Unified.
- Promote diversity at every level: by focusing on the individual and making the effort to listen to everyone including the underserved individuals in our community we can truly serve our diverse community properly. Don’t wait for public comments at board meetings, go find the public comments in the community – in a room full of noise, the silent majority are never heard.
- Be an ambassador: Board members are ambassadors of the district. I will be a proud ambassador of our schools and our community.
I am supported by current and past board members as well as teachers, staff, PTA presidents, LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, overwhelming Altadena leadership, and the following unions: Teamsters, Local 911, CSEA, LA Federation of Labor, IBEW Local 11Unite Here . I hope you will join my many supporters and vote for me, Billy Malone, to bring fresh ideas and needed change to PUSD School Board, District 1.