[Dropcap]Julie Read[/dropcap], the only new Deer Valley Unified School District board member, was one of three who voted to build the new K-8 school in Norterra. Prior to the vote, In&Out Publications asked her about her priorities:
What is your No. 1 priority for the early days of your tenure?
Unity. I’d like our constituents to see us as a board, not a 3-2 board, a split board or a dysfunctional board. It’s important to me that we focus on doing what is in the best interest for students in our district, and we can only do that if we are working together.
What do you hope to change or accomplish over the longer term?
I want to find and implement real solutions to the problems plaguing our educational system and our district, not Band-Aid, short-term solutions. With the help of the other members of the board and administration, I’d like to look at balancing and increasing enrollment at some of our schools through unique magnet programs, address school boundaries, boost morale across the district, address concerns over special education and increase educational funding by lobbying at the legislature.
Do you think your election represents a voter mandate for change, and if so, in what way?
Yes, any time an incumbent isn’t re-elected, I believe it shows the voters have spoken and asked for change. I also believe it shows that the voters believe in my ability to create positive change in our community.
With all of the new construction in the North Valley, how does the board help the district proactively manage growth?
The administration has been looking at this issue over the last several months and it is important for us to develop a long-term plan to effectively provide a quality education for the students moving into these areas. We will be looking at data and gathering info from stakeholders to ensure we are doing what’s best for our current and future students.
How do you feel about boundary changes to balance enrollment versus bussing students from new neighborhoods to schools farther out with available space?
I believe that our public schools are the heart of the community they serve and it will be important for us to remember that as we look into boundary changes. I don’t support bussing kids in from other communities to balance out enrollment—first, we don’t have the bus drivers or the busses to do so, and second, bussing is a temporary solution to a long-term problem.
Anything else you think residents need to know?
The Governing Board is an empowered body made up of five individual voting members who must operate as a single voice to enact change. One person alone cannot do it. It’s important for us to consider all lenses when voting, and it’s important for us to hear from all of our constituents as to what is working and what needs fixing. We can’t address a problem we don’t know about.
Contact Board Members: http://www.dvusd.org/domain/56
North Phoenix News, Anthem News and In&Out Magazine are all part of In&Out Publications, your local, independent source of news and events information.