As a former Scottsdale school board candidate, I think I have a fairly good perspective of the task at hand for our five elected board members.
It starts with the drive and commitment to campaign, requiring countless hours, raising funds, financial reporting and following state guidelines for an honest and ethical run. This is no small obligation of time, in and of itself.
That said, our current five board members were elected, fairly and honestly, by the voters of this community for a four-year volunteer term of service. Their service involves countless meetings, review of policies, financial reporting, hundreds of emails to stakeholders as well as attendance at events during the day and after hours when they could be spending time with family.
I understand that the vitriol against school board members has become a bit of a national trend, but I believe we are better than that. This community has over a century of history demonstrating cooperation and support for our school district, formed by none other than Winfield Scott himself.
It is this collaborative desire for quality public schools that has attracted homebuyers and businesses to locate to our community, anchored by an excellent public school district.
The “public comment” forum is a valuable tool to engage our board members in stakeholder concerns. Comments should be made to the body of the board and not to an individual board member.
All concerns should be relevant to SUSD and matters at hand. That said, rudeness, yelling and name calling does not advance our common goal of supporting the safety and success of our students; nor does it model good public behavior to our children. Again, we are better than that.
I urge stakeholders to be informed and involved in our public school district.
There are many ways to be involved, such as volunteerism, committee participation and parent forums.
I encourage those who support SUSD to continue to help build on its years of excellence and value to our community through positive interaction. Finally, one might consider a run for the school board. As one who has run in the past, I can attest that the experience itself, in engaging and holding conversations with neighbors, is an opportunity I have never regretted.
In closing, I am grateful to the SUSD school board members for continuing to work on behalf of the students, staff and community. Thank you for having hard conversations, hearing harsh comments yet staying the course.
Editor’s Note: Rose Smith is a longtime Scottsdale resident, a former candidate for Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board and former SUSD employee.
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