Los Altos School Board Candidate Drops Out, Throws Support to Taglio, Luther

LASD candidate Vladimir Ivanovic said his continued candidacy would only help Amanda Burke-Aaronson's prospects.


In a sudden turn of events, Los Altos School Board candidate Vladimir Ivanovic announced he was ceasing his  campaign and throwing his support to candidates Steve Taglio and Pablo Luther.

“I didn't want to be the Ralph Nader of the school district race,” Ivanovic told Patch Tuesday, referring to the third-party candidate who some say drew enough votes from Al Gore to cost him the presidency in 2000.

Ivanovic said that he didn’t want to contribute to the possible outcome of a fourth candidate winning, Amanda Burke-Aaronson, a parent with three children enrolled at Bullis Charter School and strong support from BCS board members and founders.

In a letter addressed to the local news media and candidates Luther and Taglio, Ivanovic said he believed that his continued candidacy would only serve to enhance Burke-Aaronson’s prospects, so he was instead supporting the other two.

While he liked Burke-Aaronson personally, he said he found her campaign support base presented too much of a conflict of interest for her to be an effective board member.

"I don't think a person with that close ties to a litigious opponent is the right person to be on the board," such as being able to sit in executive sessions with district lawyers, he said.

And, "by taking money from somebody you are implicitly agreeing with their views, generally," he said. "If you do have a significant difference with them you have to make it known to them and the public." 

Examination of the campaign finance filings made for the Oct. 5 deadline showed that Burke-Aaronson had raised the most of any candidate— $9,916 plus loaning herself $1,000, putting her school district campaign on par with what candidates typically have raised for a Los Altos City Council race. Among the heaviest donors were Bullis Charter School supporters, including a current board member, a trusteee of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and several others.

Still, he had a realistic view of his actions.

"In the grand scheme of things my withdrawing from the race is not a big deal. Ivanovic said. "It's a big deal for me. A year from now, no one will care."

The full text of his letter is below:

Why I’m now supporting Pablo Luther and Steve Taglio for LASD Board

I think that having Amanda Burke-Aaronson, who is strongly supported by the Bullis Charter School leadership, as an LASD Board member would not be in the long-term best interests of either our schools or our children.

What most voters do not realize, is that a charter school authorized by the county is essentially a different school district. Funding is different. Accountability is different. If Amanda were able to run for the BCS board, then she might be a huge asset to this community. But, on the LASD Board, her conflict of interest is just too high for her to do her best for LASD.

So, since my continued participation in this race would only serve to enhance Ms. Burke-Aaronson's prospects, I'm now supporting Pablo Luther and Steve Taglio for LASD School Board.

Both are fair-minded people who can do the best for our community. Both committed to the issues that most matter to me. They understand that high-performing neighborhood schools not only provide a foundation for our family-friendly community, but also preserve Los Altos property values. They know we need to continue our commitment to high-value education by focusing on student achievement as well as using our public money responsibly with stable finances and great facilities. I find both Steve and Pablo to be open and involved with the community which are important qualities for resolving the many difficulties in our the district. 

Regardless of the outcome of this race, I offer my services to Pablo, Steve and the rest of the LASD Board in whatever capacity they may see fit.

momlosaltos October 18, 2012 at 05:46 AM
JJS, Burke-Aaronson really did a great job of "skirting her affiliation with BCS" by mentioning it in the Town Crier article announcing her candidancy. Get real. It is amusing that the best argument you can come up with to discredit her is that you say she has not been upfront that she is a BCS parent (and former LASD parent). Yet, it was also in the Town Crier article endorsing her and specifically mentioned as a strength. Hmmm...
Terry Hayes October 18, 2012 at 06:51 AM
It's clear that this election is going to be about BCS vs LASD. And it seems clear to me the the various comments here are divided among BCS supports and those that support LASD in the current legal confrontations. Voters need to decide which side they are on, and vote accordingly.
John Radford October 18, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Lets so talk about the status quo and whether it can keep working There is certainly a very large group of LASD parents that probably favor this. As long as the LASD Board does not shut down their own school they are willing to support the Board doing anything they have to including acting in bad faith, continuing to make marginal legal or illegal facilities offers and spending lots of money fighting BCS. Unfortunately, a number of other LASD parents have decided they prefer the education at BCS and are voting with their feet to leave LASD. The LASD's current plan involves creating a growth committee leading up to a June 2014 potential bond measure. If it passes and they can find suitable land, they could possibly have a 10th site ready to go by the 2015-2016 school year. Does anyone want to go through three more school years in this state? Do LASD parents really believe the status quo of fighting BCS, a school growing with LASD parents, is a winning strategy? In one of the LASD forums, Steve Taglio (an individual I have met with and like) mentioned there were up to 26 potential sites they were reviewing. I vote for getting back on the track where the two sides start meeting again to seriously consider these options. So Joan you can take maintaining the status quo and argue all you want about LASD parents being conned into going to BCS. I want this status quo to be blown up and get both sides together to solve this problem.
Joan J. Strong October 18, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Bullis Charter School should curtail their enrollment to siblings only until we build a new stand-alone campus for the school. This will hurt nobody, will be better for both BCS and LASD students, and will resolve this crisis. John, you incorrectly associate parents who are interested in the BCS program as ones who are in solidarity with the BCS board of directors. I'd invite you to read the transcript of the most recent BCS board meeting, whereupon BCS parents brought up deep concerns that their small, intimate, elite school would be expanded to 900 students from all over the place. The Board responded in essence, "we hear you, but that's too bad". BCS parents are motivated by specific aspects of their program, and the school's overall exclusivity--as well as the inertia of their existing school community. The BCS board is motivated by wider political objectives. As such, there are not merely two "sides" as you imply. It's a little more complicated than that.
Up on the Hills October 18, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Los Altos is known to be home to well educated and affluent residents. Yet, this "civil war" in town is nasty. Why can't the two sides sort out a solution in good faith? BTW, who is Cortright? Some posts refer to this individual and some say this Joan Strong character is related to Cortright.


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