Third in our series of profiles of candidates for the Orinda Union School District governing board.
Julie Rossiter has lived in Orinda for six years. She is a lawyer, although she is not currently practicing, and has volunteered in the schools in a number of capacities in recent years. She is currently the Del Rey legislative representative to the Las Trampas Creek Council and has also served as treasurer for the Del Rey annual fund and the Measure A representative to Del Rey. She has three children: a son, 12, and two daughters, 10 and 4.
Rossiter said she attended public schools growing up on Long Island in New York and that her mother was a librarian. She’ll have children in the district until 2020, she said, and “I’m a concerned parent trying to make a difference in my kid’s education.”
The biggest issue facing the district, she said, is the budget (no surprise there). Orinda is fortunate because of all the local funding it gets through donations and parcel taxes, she said, but the board’s most difficult task is always trying to provide the best possible education while coping with budget cuts.
When it comes to solving the budget problem, Rossiter said nothing should be taken off the table, including another parcel tax.
“I don’t think anybody wants to go out and (ask for) more taxes and money,” she said, but the reality is Orinda is one of the worst-funded districts in one of the worst-funded states. Despite that, she added, it still manages to be one of the best districts in the state.
“I do think when you’re looking at cuts try to keep it as far away from the classroom as possible,” Rossiter said. The board should look at ways to increase its operating efficiencies as well as pursue federal and state grants, she said.
Because there will be so many new faces on the board, Rossiter said, it’s important to bring in the best people possible. She said her experience as an attorney means she has strong analytical skills and the ability to process large amounts of information. And even though there will be three new board members, those that remain have a great deal of knowledge, she said.
“I’m excited about running and I look forward to serving on the board and trying to maintain the great education in Orinda that our students are receiving,” Rossiter said.
Profiles of Tyson Krumholz and Christopher Severson. Upcoming profiles: Bekki Van Voorhis-Gilbert and Sarah Butler.