• FAQs

    This page will be updated. If you have any questions for Darcy, please email dapaul@darcypaul.org.

    Why are you running?

    I’m running because I believe that I can help the district and the district’s residents.


    I heard people state that you are running just because other people asked you to?

    Yes, many people with a diversity of viewpoints from all over the District asked me to run for the CUSD Board. However, I'm not sure why being willing to help people who are asking for help is anything other than a good reason to serve. Furthermore, if I'm elected, then I will be the only person on the CUSD Board that has kids attending the District. If I am not elected, then not a single Board member will have a child or children attending the District. Responding further to characterizations of my willingness to help people who ask for help as a questionable reason to serve, beyond just asking what planet or system that is from, my supporters know that I think carefully through the issues, that I do the work, and that I achieve honest and lasting results. They want me to apply this approach to study, think about and help the district, and if the voters elect me to serve on the CUSD Board, that's what I'll do.


    Why are you qualified? What special abilities do you bring to the board? How can you best make an impact?

    I have served almost eight years in local elected office. I do my best to serve intelligently and with fairness. I think that my perspective gives me the most valuable vantage point if the voters decide to elect me. If elected, I’ll also be the only Board member with a child or children in CUSD. I can best make an impact by bringing my approach to the table. I’m collaborative, but I also don’t ignore the duty of asking difficult questions or doing the difficult and unappreciated work. I think that’s probably why a lot of people are asking me to stay involved.


    What has been the extent of your involvement in the district thus far?

    I’m familiar with the issues at CUSD from two major and, within the candidate pool, unique, vantage points. These vantage points are also beneficial for this task. I currently have two kids in the district. Also, as a Councilmember in Cupertino for more than the last seven years, and three of them, including this year, as Mayor, I see the issues from the perspective of a jurisdiction with partial overlapping geographies. As well, all of the municipalities of CUSD have interactions with Cupertino, and so I have some familiarity with the underlying issues in each jurisdiction as well from these interactions, some of which are fairly significant parts of related public service, for example, as a VTA Board member. All of these issues and jurisdictions are inter‐related.


    What do you consider three main priorities for the district to address? How would you address them?

    Communication, Relationships and Funding. From what I see, those are the big three. I think that if I’m on the Board you’ll see a substantial functional improvement over time that is on very basic levels extremely robust. What I see when I observe the district is that the way it communicates and interrelates with the constituents needs a re‐set. This has broader political ramifications, but in the most straightforward sense we need to speak and act at the level of our constituency, both in fact and aspirationally. In an even more basic sense, we need to do so in a way that treats people like thinking partners. If we build our relationships premised upon that communicative approach, I have every confidence that funding and management will be more than adequate, and even exemplary. That is exactly what has happened in the City of Cupertino over time.


    School closures have dominated the news in the district over the past few years. Declining enrollment is often cited as the reason. What factors have contributed to that decline? Is this something beyond the district’s control, or can the district do something about it?

    Yes of course. Candidly, our taxation structure is not good for encouraging turnover in housing. That’s one thing you don’t see at all in these conversations. I bring it up because I really do have no motivation here other than to help people succeed. Well, I know that it is difficult to address that major part of the equation, where yes, it is easy to state that it’s beyond the district’s control, but yes, of course it is possible to do something about it. First of all, we can lead the way by leading honest and thoughtful conversations. Second, we can comport ourselves in a manner that neither invites hysteria nor fosters resentment. Finally, we can have a longer‐term perspective on the notion of change. Some days I get up and the slightest thing seems very challenging. Other days, not so much. Whatever the problem is, be it an insufficient tax base, not enough housing, or people not moving to make way for younger families because we lack adequate housing options as people age, all of these things are manageable and addressable in a way that doesn’t harm people. I truly believe that. Now, when we try to go about solving our problems, instead, with the perception that might makes right or you have to teach people a lesson, that’s where we end up getting into issues, and that’s when what we’re doing systemically is not optimized. But if we communicate well and treat each other with a sense of mutual respect, if we hold each other accountable to our ideas and integrity, then I think what we have is an unsurpassed system for achieving these inter‐relational synergies. And so, yes, we can start by building a better structure of communication and improved relationships. We will solve these problems if we have people taking a deep breath, and thinking, and taking the time to learn about and understand the issues. That’s how I plan to serve. I’ve served that way already, and I know that the approach works.


    What do you see as the primary responsibility of the school board?

    The most basic responsibility of the board is to evaluate the performance of the superintendent. When it comes down to it, that’s what the voters are electing the board to do. However, from my perspective, as a school board member, I will be working on understanding a new type of jurisdiction primarily. My approach is always to work with people first and always give them a chance to earn trust and respect. And to be clear I don’t answer this question with any underlying message or purpose. It’s just that from my experience for an elected board where the single or limited hires are at an administrative apex, that is in essence the crux of the job, to evaluate the health of the jurisdiction through the lens of the performance of that hire or hires. I’m fair and I set high standards for myself, and I think that the results of an organization that understands and works optimally to achieve its purpose essentially flow from those two facts.


    How do you plan to run your campaign? Any endorsements?

    I list some endorsements, but my campaign will not be endorsement‐heavy. I prefer to provide a narrative of what the relationship means to me, what I’ve done to cultivate it, and how the work has gone, and from there, to let the voters decide whether my approach comports with their support.


    Why should people vote for you? What’s your elevator speech?

    Well, I think I’m a good pick. I would definitely vote for me if doing the research.


    It’s not easy approaching our problems and addressing them in a manner that expands the pie. You need to have an intrinsic and overarching understanding of what drives a lot of factors. And then if you have that understanding, it is generally quite unlikely that you are going to spend your time, especially in a situation where you have a young family, in an area such as this one, serving in elected office.


    When I was running for City Council in Cupertino, a lot of people asked why I was doing it. In college, I was a pre‐med at Harvard, and I decided to go to Harvard Law despite having done a fair bit of interesting cancer research and having gained admission at some pretty excellent medical schools. I did this because on a very basic level I wanted to understand and help a general notion of community. But a lot of people thought at the time that I first ran that I was in it to get clients. No one says that any more. In my service I’ve seen that kind of lawyer and politician, and no one confuses me with that. I’m an attorney, but I never got into politics because I wanted to do anything other than help the community. I was in fact very much looking forward to having a reprieve but too many people asked me to stay on.


    It was a deeply soul‐searching exercise. In fact, I had already decided late last calendar year not to run for State Assembly because I did not see myself in Sacramento away from my family and kids for so much time as they are growing up. And if you follow me on the dais, until about a month ago, I was pretty regularly talking about the number of days left in my term.


    This all changed when I decided to run for CUSD. I’ve decided that if I’m here to help community, then when community asks me to help, I will. I used to say that I have no further aspirations for higher political office. That was part of my first Q&A on my 2009 campaign webpage. I did not mean then that if I got elected to Council for $631 a month that I would then run for school board for nothing every month (I've since learned that the CUSD Board receives about 2/3's of what Council receives).


    But I will say this. I believe in our system and I believe it is worthy of my commitment. If the voters want me in, I will serve with a brand of respect that maybe not everyone understands but one that everyone will benefit from. That is my goal and that’s how I’ll approach the service. And if I’m asked that question again these days, do I have aspirations for higher office now, then my answer now, having lived up to my commitment to serve fully on the City Council, is, I’m definitely keeping an open mind.