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Around Pleasanton

by Jeb Bing

Lepley retires, but missions continue

T here were accolades all around at last Tuesday night’s school board meeting for Sandra Lepley, and with good reason. Lepley, who turned 61 Wednesday, is retiring after 40 years of public service with California school dis- tricts, including the last eight here in Pleasanton as assistant super- intendent for business services. Tomorrow, she leaves for a two- week vacation in Maui with her hus- band Steven, and then it’s back to their home in San Ramon and con- tinued service with the Pleasanton downtown Rotary Club, where she is president through June 30, and with Rotaplast International, her favorite charity that has taken her to five third world countries on mercy missions.

Lepley started her career in 1968 as Account Clerk I with the San Mateo Union High School District. Within six years, she had been promoted to department manager and the district’s budget officer. It was not to last. With the passage of Proposition 13, her position was eliminated at the end of the 1978- 79 school year as San Mateo, like school districts, cities and coun- ties throughout the state, hunkered down to survive with significantly lower property tax revenue that Prop. 13 instituted.

She moved on to the Newark Unified School District for one year and then was lured back to San Mateo, this time with the elementa- ry school district, where she stayed for 10 years as controller and chief financial officer. Personal circum- stances then took her to Modesto, where for the next 10 years she was associate superintendent for business. In 2000, she was hired by Pleasanton to succeed longtime deputy superintendent for business Buster McCurtain, who retired.

School finances used to be eas- ier to handle and more predicable. Forty years ago, California districts depended on local property taxes to meet their budget requirements. That was good in cities such as San Mateo where housing values were high, but deprived smaller

and poorer districts of the funds needed to provide an equally good education. So even before Prop. 13, state lawmakers tried to equalize disbursements, moving more of the school district funding responsibil- ity to Sacramento. With year-to- year state budget deficits, that’s made the school financial officer’s job much more difficult, a chal- lenge Lepley now passes on to her successor, Luz Cazares.

Retirement won’t be a leisure- ly trip to the beach for Lepley, except for the next two weeks. Once back, she’ll be plan- ning more trips for Rotaplast, a group of vol- unteer doctors, nurses and aides that provides free reconstruc- tive surgeries in its effort to eliminate the incidence of untreated cleft lips and palates. Lepley has made eight of these mercy missions since joining Rotaplast, including Venezuela, the Philippines, Ethiopia and most recently Vietnam. On average, Rotaplast sponsors 15 mis- sions a year, sending out about 450 team members. Although indepen- dent from Rotary International, it receives about 60-70 percent of its funds from that organization, Lepley said, and since it was formed in 1993 has treated more than 11,000 children, plus a few adults. Sandra Lepley

Looking for a way to “give back” in a world that she believes has been very good to her, Lepley heard about Rotaplast’s work through a friend, went on a mission and has been hooked ever since. She now leads the 35-member mission she conducts, doing all the planning, arranging for financing, and scheduling every detail of what typically are 10-day trips into often rugged, remote areas right down to patient visits, lodging and needed supplies. She plans to keep on working with Rotaplast as long as she can, but she’ll still be golfing at Callippe and gardening. N

About the Cover

In a new advertising campaign that will roll out in 2009, the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association plans to ask consumers “What are you doing this weekend?” The broad-range question aims to draw visitors to the wine country while also supporting local restaurants, golf courses, spas and lodging facilities across the region. The association is striving for area businesses and cities to partner with them on their endeavor.

Vol. IX, Number 38

The Pleasanton Weekly is published weekly by Embarcadero Publishing Co., 5506 Sunol Blvd., Suite 100, Pleasanton, CA 94566; (925) 600-0840. USPS 020407. The Pleasanton Weekly is mailed free upon request to homes and apartments in Pleasanton. Voluntary subscriptions at $30 per year ($50 for two years) are welcome from Pleasanton residents. Subscription rate for businesses and for residents of other communities is $40 per year. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Pleasanton Weekly, 5506 Sunol Blvd., Suite 100, Pleasanton, CA 94566. © 2008 by Embarcadero Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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