During the past few weeks CV Weekly has asked candidates for the Glendale Unified School District governing board a set of questions concerning their candidacy. The last of the candidates is Mary Boger. Below are her answers.
1) What do you feel you can bring to the Glendale board of education?
My experience as a volunteer in the District, as a PTA member, Unit President and as Glendale Council PTA President proved to be excellent training for board membership. My years as a board member have only increased my understanding of and dedication to the students of our district.
During these increasingly difficult economic times, I believe my experience as a board member is a valuable asset to my community. My record as a child and public education advocate speaks to the fact that I have no agenda in seeking to be returned to board. I am happy to pledge to the voters that I will seek no other office while serving as a board member, nor will I be an advocate for any special interest group. My first priority is now and has always been the students of this district.
2) What is the number one challenge facing Glendale school district and what is your plan to address this challenge?
The most pressing challenge facing GUSD is the current depressed economy of the state of California and subsequent reduced funding to our schools. As a board member I have faced the challenge of reduced funding for the last eight years. First because of declining enrollment, then because of the failure of the state to grant cost of living increases, and finally when the district’s funding was actually cut by approximately 20%, we have been forced to cut our budget every year that I have served on the board.
I have continually advocated for keeping the cuts we have made to our budget away from our classrooms. I am proud that our district still has smaller K-3 class sizes, our teachers have not been subjected to furlough days, and our students have been spared the loss of instructional minutes which go hand in hand with furlough days.
I am proud to be the co-chair of the School Facilities Bond Committee – Yes on S. Measure S will provide the district with the opportunity to tap into nearly $20 million in reserves which we can use to support our general operating budget. I believe Measure S is our best hope of fiscal stability in light of the current state budget deficits.
3) Glendale district is unique in the diverse student population it serves. How do you avoid painting all the schools in the district with one brush or do you feel universal district policies are more productive?
Glendale Unified has long practiced site-based management. While it is the responsibility of the district to set high standards for all of our students, I recognize the appropriateness of allowing each of our sites to determine how they will reach that goal. Through my years of involvement with the district I have come to appreciate and respect the individual cultures of each of our schools.
Just as I understand that ‘one size’ does not fit every student, so do I understand that ‘one size’ does not fit every school.
One of my clearest memories of allowing a school site to set their own priorities was during the construction at Crescenta Valley High School. It was the decision of the school that their first new building was the beautiful gymnasium. And while some questioned it, the board respected the decision of the parents, teachers, administrators, students and community members to set the priorities for their school. The collaboration of students, parents, teachers, classified employees, administrators, and community members is one of the most important factors in a school’s success and must be recognized and respected by your school board member.