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Common Core, fiscal responsibility top issues for Turlock school board candidates

Common Core, fiscal responsibility top issues for Turlock school board candidates

Deborah Martin


POSTED October 12, 2013 12:58 a.m.

 

 

The Nov. 5 Stanislaus County Consolidated District Election will include three seats on the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees – Area 2, Area 4 and Area 6. This year’s election marks the first-ever “trustee area” election, as opposed to an “at large” election system, as the Board approved the final trustee area map in February.

Area 2 will see a race between an incumbent and one challenger, while Area 6 will come down to a vote between two new candidates as incumbent Josh Bernard did not seek reelection. Incumbent and Board President Bob Weaver, who represents Area 4, has a secure seat on the Board as he remained unopposed.

 

 

 

TUSD BOARD OF TRUSTEES AREA 2

Name: Tami Hamill-Muniz

How long have you lived in Turlock? Age and occupation: I have lived in Turlock my whole life and I am a third generation Turlock native. I’m 46 years old and I am a customer service specialist for Foster Farms Poultry.

Do you currently have or have you previously had children in TUSD schools? My oldest son Chad attended Turlock public schools and graduated from Turlock High School. My youngest son Brett has only attended Turlock public schools and currently attends Turlock High School.

Why are you running for the TUSD Board of Trustees? I would like to follow through with the implementation of Common Core. I am very interested to watch it as it all unfolds and I feel it will be a great benefit to our students, as well as giving our teachers back some of the flexibility the teachers had in my school days to reach every student no matter what the challenges are that they bring with them to the classroom.

I have learned so much while being on the Board and it’s been a huge honor to serve the families of Turlock and I hope that I can continue to do that for another 4 years.

What do you feel is the most important issue affecting TUSD? Currently, I feel that student safety is at the forefront. Not that it hasn’t always been, because it has always been a priority for TUSD, but with the issues in the world that we have had, we can all do better and more to keep our campuses safer. Starting with the lanyards this year, this was the first step towards safer campuses.

Do you feel children in TUSD are getting a good education and why? Absolutely. We have more choices and course options than many other districts and administration is always looking for more new and innovative ways to help our students to be successful after high school. I believe that as a district we have created a climate that every student can have the opportunity to go to college; and I truly believe that.

Compared to many other districts in the region, TUSD is in fairly good financial shape. What are some ways TUSD can continue to sustain a balanced budget in coming years? We have to continue to make smart decisions. We don’t know what the next few years will bring, so we need to continue to be conservative and spend money wisely.

What are some strategies you as a board member would encourage to ensure local students perform well on standardized tests? The testing will be changing with Common Core, so we will have to wait and see, but I know that we will continue to monitor student success and make sure that every student has the same opportunities for success. Our staff, Board and Superintendent are committed to student success, that I can guarantee you.

 

 

 

 

TUSD BOARD OF TRUSTEES AREA 2

Name:  Deborah Martin

How long have you lived in Turlock? Age and occupation: My husband and I moved to Turlock in the spring of 2010 when he was offered the CEO position at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. So I have lived here a little over three years. I am 55 and recently retired as Director of Utility Operations for Avista Utilities. Previously I worked as an engineering supervisor for PG&E.

Do you currently have or have you previously had children in TUSD schools? Yes, I currently have two children in third grade at Walnut Elementary School. They attended Julien Elementary from kindergarten through second grade. My older daughter is graduating from college and did not attend TUSD schools.

Why are you running for the TUSD Board of Trustees?  I am running because I care about our children having a quality education that prepares them to reach their full potential. My business and leadership background has given me the experience to contribute to TUSD issues such as managing large capital and operating budgets, strategic planning, contract negotiating, communicating and working collaboratively to achieve common goals. I want to use my experience and passion to expand on the successes and improve our Turlock schools.

What do you feel is the most important issue affecting TUSD?  Common Core State Standards for teaching is currently in a multi-year implementation plan. This new, collaboratively developed curriculum and evaluation system will dramatically change how and what our children will learn. This new teaching system will require a smooth and committed implementation to include focus on teacher professional development, technology investments, parent involvement and, of course, student engagement.

Do you feel children in TUSD are getting a good education and why? Absolutely! The teachers are at the core of successfully education our children and from my experience I can say that we have many good, and often passionate, teachers here in Turlock. Improvements are easily seen with higher test scores, higher graduation rates, quality programs that encourage good citizenry (character counts, anti-bullying, red ribbon week) and career or college ready graduates. The district has a strategic plan with detailed metrics that have helped ensure success.

Compared to many other school districts TUSD is in fairly good financial shape. What are some ways TUSD can continue to sustain balance budget in coming years? Vigilant management of the budgets, spending and conservative revenue forecasts will keep TUSD in solid financial shape. As we recover from recent budget and program cuts, revenue is becoming available to restore maintenance funds, some programs, common core teaching standards and hopefully, new programs. The key of course is to manage spending.

What are some strategies you as a board member would encourage to ensure local students perform well on standardized tests? TUSD is on a good path as shown by numerous improvements, including test scores. Stay the course and modify as need with continuous input from teachers, parents and students. Common Core State Standards will completely change standardized tests, so effective implementation of Common Core is essential.

 

 

 

TUSD BOARD OF TRUSTEES AREA 6

Name: Joe Lewis

How long have you lived in Turlock? Age and occupation. I was born and raised in Turlock so I have lived here for 40 years. I’m currently on disability due to my cancer I had, which is now in remission.

Do you currently have or have you previously had children in TUSD schools? My daughter graduated from Pitman in 2010, after attending Brown Elementary and Turlock Junior High School. My son is currently a senior at Pitman, after attending Brown Elementary and Turlock Junior High School.

 Why are you running for the TUSD Board of Trustees? I will bring to the school board 19 years of unselfish volunteered community service leadership experience in the Turlock community. I will work hard to make sure our school district continues to improve test scores and that every dollar benefits our district. I believe in high academic standards and school accountability. My priority will be to make sure that our students receive the academic skills and the needed training necessary to get ready for the very competitive job market.

What do you feel is the most important issue affecting TUSD? Keeping a balanced budget without losing valuable teachers and staff and being fiscally responsible.

Do you feel children in TUSD are getting a good education and why? Yes, I do feel they are getting a good education due to the academic standards and great teachers our District has in the classrooms. I am very proud of our teachers and the administration at each school for providing a good, quality education for our students.

Compared to many other school districts in the region TUSD is in fairly good financial shape. What are some ways TUSD can continue to sustain a balanced budget in coming years? To ensure funds are used properly and allocated to areas needed. Financial responsibility is a top priority.

What are some strategies you as a board member would encourage to ensure local students perform well on standardized tests? Continue what has been working so far in the classroom and always listening to feedback and ideas from the teachers on how to raise the scores and making sure we keep the great teachers we have in the District. Also, we need to make sure our teachers are equipped with the tools needed to accomplish their goals.

 

 

 

TUSD BOARD OF TRUSTEES AREA 6

Name: Jennifer Carter

How long have you lived in Turlock? Age and occupation. I have lived in Turlock for 35 years and I am 41 years old. I am currently the Director of Administrative Services for a Special District in Merced. I have over 20 years of management experience with a focus in Human Resources, Risk Management and Information Technology.

Do you currently have or have you previously had children in TUSD schools? I am a graduate of Turlock schools and attended Crowell Elementary, Osborn Elementary, Brown Elementary, Turlock Junior high and graduated from Turlock High School. I have two daughters who attended their entire K-12 school lives in the Turlock Unified School District. Both girls attended Brown Elementary, Turlock Junior High and Pitman High School. My oldest, Taylor, graduated in 2012 and is a current student at San Diego State University. Morgan is a current senior at Pitman High School and has been accepted at the Art Institute San Francisco in the fall of 2014.

Why are you running for the TUSD Board of Trustees? I decided to run for the TUSD Board of Trustees because I believe that I can bring a unique set of skills to the Board. I have been actively involved in many student and business organizations over the years, including fiscal and budgetary oversight, employee development, strategic planning, employee/student/member relations and leadership. The Turlock School system was very good for me and my family and has afforded us great opportunities and options. It is my turn to give back to the community and my management experience would make me an ideal candidate to look at all sides of an issue before making the best decision for the District and for long-term, strategic District planning.

What do you feel is the most important issue affecting TUSD? The implementation of the Common Core Standards. As with any new venture, planning and implementation are the keys to success. We must ensure we have the infrastructure, training and technology in place as we roll the Standards out across the District. This will require significant staff development, communication and leadership. With my background in Information Technology and experience in process implementation and change management, I feel I would have a unique vision as we implement the Common Core Standards.

Do you feel children in TUSD are getting a good education and why? One of the best things the Turlock Unified School District has done in the past is not cut programs as the economy turned. There were tough decisions to be made, but students were still afforded a diverse education with academics, agriculture, arts, athletics, music and vocational classes. There is welcomed family involvement in the educational process and teachers who are passionate about their student’s education and as a Board Member, I would like to keep that focus to continue and expand those programs and cultures that help the students in the District succeed.

Compared to many other school districts in the region, TUSD is in fairly good financial shape. What are some ways TUSD can continue to sustain a balanced budget in coming years? TUSD should be conservative in its spending and plan for the future. TUSD should have strong financial policies in place, including reserve and investment policies. We must reinvest in our infrastructure and preventative maintenance and this must go into the budget plan. We have a responsibility to ensure the fiscal health of the District and all of our decisions must look at this issue prior to making decisions. Oversight of the budget will become more critical as the state moves to Local Control Funding Formula. This formula is still being developed at the state level, but the new funding model will put more money in the schools with the greatest need and will allow the District to determine the best use for those funds.

What are some strategies you as a board member would encourage to ensure local students perform well on standardized tests? We must ensure that staff has adequate training on the new Common Core Standards and have a transitional plan for those students who already have another learning foundation. We need to identify those students who are struggling and make sure there is a plan for combating these issues with the teachers, parents and outside resources. 

 

 

 

TUSD BOARD OF TRUSTEES AREA 4

*Incumbent running unopposed

Name: Bob Weaver

Bio: Currently serves as the TUSD Board President, representing Area 4. Bob Weaver is a fourth generation Turlock resident. His wife, Donna, is a teacher with Grant Valley Academy in Modesto. All three of their sons, Blake, Ryan and Christian, are currently attending TUSD schools. He graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is a member of the Parent Teacher Association, a Scout leader and a youth sports coach. Bob is a fieldman for an agricultural supply company and a member of the California Association of Pest Control Advisors.

 

 

 

 

 

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