LASD parent announces run for school board

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos School District Board of Trustees candidate Sangeeth Peruri asks Covington School students for feedback on education issues.

The race for a seat on the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees is off to an early start as a second candidate announced his intention to run in the November election.

Covington parent Sangeeth Peruri joins Martha McClatchie in the race. McClatchie in April declared her intent to run.

Advancing the curriculum

Peruri, who said he has been interested in running for the school board since 2012, recently sat down with the Town Crier to introduce himself.

He moved to Los Altos in 2010 with his wife, Sindhu; son, Raghav, a first-grader at Covington School; and daughter, Isha, a preschooler.

Peruri’s professional background spans the investment industry, but he has spent the past two years serving on the boards of educational nonprofit organizations, including Beyond 12 and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula.

“I spend the majority of my time working on how to improve education, and I want to bring that learning to the district,” he said.

Peruri also volunteers in the district, helping the Covington PTA organize fundraising and auctions, and serving on the Covington Site Council and the district’s Technology and Curriculum committees.

“I want to support the district more actively in delivering a world-class K-8 education for our kids,” Peruri said. “I want to preserve what we have and make it even better through experimentation and innovation. That’s my No. 1 driver – advancing the curriculum.”

He added that he believes in the district’s small-school model, with smaller schools producing better educational outcomes. He said one of the district’s obstacles is limited space for students – including those at Bullis Charter School.

“I think one of the big problems we’ve had in resolving (the facilities) dispute is we’re blessed in Los Altos to have two very good school systems in Bullis Charter School and the district,” he said. “They have attracted a lot of students and families to the district. When you have a fixed amount of space and a growing amount of students, it’s going to be a difficult problem, no matter how you slice it. Even without Bullis Charter School, there would have been a lot of issues in terms of figuring out where to put all our students.”

Peruri said that since the economy has improved, more local residents seem willing to pass a November facilities bond that could help quell some of the disagreements between the charter school and the district.

For the past two years, Peruri said, he has met with constituents from all sides – including charter school board members, parents and teachers as well as the district community.

“My campaign slogan is ‘Empathy, Understanding, Progress,’ and my belief is through empathy comes progress. And so what I do is try to understand everyone’s perspective,” he said. “This is not just relating to (the district) and the charter school, this is relating to how we educate our kids. … If you understand everyone’s perspective, then you can put together something that is fabulous.”

Peruri’s primary focus remains on advancing education.

“I feel we are in a very good position, where the district is on stable footing (financially), and now we can focus on really revamping the education,” he said. “There is obviously consternation and struggles and not a lot of clarity on how we are going to solve issues with the charter school, but aside from the facilities issues, in terms of actually educating our students, I feel we have a really good vision and I want to drive that forward.”

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