Mae has a strong record of accomplishments and success as a leader in the Ambrose Recreation and Park District. Tim Grayson and his allies have spent over $1,000,000 attacking Mae and trying to distort her record of successful leadership on the Ambrose Park Board. The area the Grayson group has spent the most money on is an attack on Mae’s record regarding after school programs. They claim in radio and TV ads and mailers that Mae “cut” after school programs.

This is utterly ridiculous. Mae is proud of her strong record of establishing and expanding after school programs. As an elected member of the Ambrose Recreation and Park District Board, one of Mae’s highest priorities is having safe, academically rich, and fun after school programs. The Ambrose District has been involved in running three main after school programs, which have all increased in student participation and attendance. Mae has also initiated a special set of science oriented after school program that are being run by MESA –Mathematics, Engineering Science Achievement.

What are these four types of after school programs?

First, the physical activity oriented programs (including baseball, basketball, soccer, tumbling, ballet and zumba) have gone from 120 participants in 2012 to 260 in 2015.   By October 2016, the number of students jumped to over 350. This is a tripling of service to our youth in a just a few years!

(Ambrose General Manager Doug Long can confirm these numbers and see his July 14, 2016 official report to the board of after school programs.)

Second, the teen center has been a huge success. It has increased the number of registered participants from 25 in 2014 to 83 so far in 2016. This, too, is more than a tripling of students benefitting from the after school programs.

(Ambrose General Manager Doug Long can confirm these numbers and see his July 14, 2016 official report to the board of after school programs.)

Third is the school site based program that serves five school communities. This program has increased over time —NOT decreased. This program runs from 3 to 6 pm using state funding to provide academic instruction and learning as well as a variety of fun activities. A transfer of the management of the program to Mt. Diablo District was agreed to be the best way to run the same program going forward, the average daily attendance went from 652 to 725 students from school year 2010 -2011 to the school year 2013 -2014.

The Grayson group is claiming that this transfer of operations was a “cut” to the program. Absolutely not true. As predicted by the Ambrose District and Mt. Diablo District attendance went up.

Background: In 1998, the statewide framework and funding for program was established by AB 2284, legislation authored by then Assembly Member Tom Torlakson. It allocated $35 million and encouraged grantees to seek community partners.   Mt. Diablo Unified wanted to be a grantee and receive these funds. In 1999, they approached Ambrose Recreation and Park District to be their partner and to be the agency to run the program for them. Thus began Ambrose’s involvement in the “Before and After School Learning and Safe Neighborhood Partnerships Program.”

Then, in 2011, after thorough discussions between park district and school district staffs around how best to manage the program going forward, The Mt. Diablo District and the Ambrose Park District agreed on a plan to keep the program fully intact but to have the management transfer back to the grantee —Mt. Diablo District. Action on these recommendations was taken at the Ambrose District Board meeting of June 2011. The Board was given the strongest of assurances that the program would continue and even grow to serve more students. The minutes of that Ambrose Board meeting specifically reflect the concern of Ambrose Board members that the program continue intact and expand. Board Member Cendaña Torlakson expressed her concerns and asked the Mt. Diablo Unified manager of after school programs, Stephanie Roberts for assurances “Ms. Roberts answered that they (the Mt. Diablo Unified School District) are able to serve even more than are currently served.” (Ambrose Recreation and Park District June 2011 board meeting minutes.)

A fourth area of after school program increase that Mae spearheaded is the funding and startup of three MESA after school programs—at Mt. Diablo HS, at Riverview Middle School and at Antioch HS. MESA serves 25,000 disadvantaged students statewide, helping them pursue coursework and careers in the fields of science, engineering and technology. Mae sought funding help from the Thomas J. Long Foundation and they have funded $140,000 for these programs. They are just getting underway this fall. Mt. Diablo reports nine students attending already and has funding to serve between 25 to 30 students. The other two programs have similar funding and attendance targets.

So, opposite from the untruthful ads Mae Cendaña Torlakson has been vigilant and successful in expanding after school programs.   She has not “cut” but instead has been a strong leader in expanding all four programs.

If she had cut after school programs— which are core programs for the Ambrose District— how is it that she has been elected three times as top vote getter?   Her leadership in providing more after school programs is one of the key reasons she is so well liked in the Ambrose District.