This the third in a series of four articles on the candidates running for three open seats on the Florence Unified School District Governing Board. The candidates responded in writing to questions from the Florence Reminder. Typos and grammar are the candidates’ own. Every candidate in this race is a write-in. The General Election is Nov. 3.

Q. Do you support the FUSD’s bond election, which will also be on the Nov. 3 ballot? Why or why not?

Roger Biede III: I do wholeheartedly support the bond election on the November 3rd ballot. Florence Unified School District has been stretched thin to meet the demands of the Florence and San Tan Valley growth while striving to continue to improve the education the students are receiving. This bond will allow for some desperately needed infrastructure that will not only add much needed space but will strategically better students access to additional advanced educational opportunities.

Bob Dailey: I fully support our Bond that is on the ballot. We do not get the funding from the state that is required to support our KIDS! Until such time that the state funds us appropriately, we rely on bonds and overrides to do what we need to do to keep our buildings in good repair, technology up to date, new buildings, busses and everything else needed for our KIDS and staff.

Sherri Jones: I am in support of FUSD Bond proposition 449. My wish is that teachers and administrators always have the financial resources necessary to support high quality learning experiences and environments. Proposition 449 is an opportunity for voters to support critical funding getting to FUSD schools for capital improvement needs. FUSD Bond 449 will provide funding to support the growing needs for school maintenance and expansion to keep up with student population growth and classroom needs. Public school education has been historically underfunded and is a system that continues to need multiple financial strategies to meet the continuous requirements of providing safe and efficient learning environments. Supporting FUSD with having necessary funding for schools is an investment in the continued growth of FUSD and the community.

Tammy Quist: I absolutely support the FUSD bond election. Arizona ranks last in the nation on per pupil funding and level of investment in K-12 public schools, according to Making the Grade 2019, (Jan 28, 2020) the Ed Law Center’s national report card on school funding. This inadequate funding results in a lack of resources and opportunities for students, higher teacher turnover, and an inability to fully meet the needs of students. Our kids and their families deserve better than this.

Q. What roles do athletics and fine arts play in public schools?

Biede: Delivering well-rounded and prepared youth is job one for all school districts. Sports and the arts have proven to be an important part education — helping to create well rounded students that thrive in the workplace. FUSD is already being touted as having some of the best prepared public school students in the county and should look to continue and improve that reputation. Giving students additional outlets to grow and expand their talents are a natural part of the educational process but come at a cost. Unfortunately, the cutting of funding available to the districts have limited the extracurricular each district can offer and often causes some hard choices to be made. As a board member I will support keeping athletics and fine arts in the curriculum as much as the budget can support.

Dailey: Sports and Fine Arts are critical for ALL of our kids. It is proven that the kids that play sports and are involved in Fine Arts and other clubs are the ones that are at the top of the class. We need to keep these programs going!

Jones: Athletic and fine arts programs encourage students to experiment, take risks, and develop a variety of necessary life skills. Both programs teach students how to manage responsibilities to maintain academic achievement while developing specialized skills. Through these experiences students can incorporate learning that stretches their creativity and assists with discipline and character development as well as support students who thrive with non-traditional learning styles. Students who are very skilled with these programs are able to utilize their success for future collegiate opportunities. Thus, having access to these programs supports a student’s ability to have a well-rounded educational experience and potentially aid in advancing their academic career.

Quist: Athletics and fine arts are essential to the development of the whole child. Students are given opportunities to stimulate creativity and develop an appreciation of the human experience through art, music, and theater.

Participation in athletics has a myriad of benefits beyond the expected health benefits.

Both athletics and fine arts offer lessons in teamsmanship, cooperation, loyalty, belonging, connectedness, grit, perseverance, commitment, continuous improvement, pride, working through winning and defeat, and becoming our best selves.

Lastly, athletics and fine arts are an important part of the community as a whole—they have a way of bringing community members together AS a community. People feel connected to their school, connected to their community. School pride and healthy competition create conditions for excellence.

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