Paradise Valley Unified School District
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1. Are you a precinct committeeman? If yes, for how long?
Yes - about 6 years
2. Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you run for school board?
My name is Susan Matura. I have lived in Paradise Valley Unified School District for almost 19 years and I have three children (one in college, two in K-12 schools). I currently serve as the President of the Paradise Valley Unified School District Governing Board and I am passionate about public education. I have a background in business banking, lending, and website management. I am also a former PTO president and a long-time volunteer in the District and my faith community.
3. Do you support sexual education of children in the classroom? At what age do you believe this is appropriate, and do you believe that a parent should have the opportunity to opt out?
I support an option for parents to choose to have Human Growth and Development / Sex Education available for their own student. Education should remain as an opt-in curriculum so that only parents who are interested in the program will sign their students up for it. I also believe information that will be taught to the students should be available to the parents so that they can review it prior to making a decision.
4. Do you support the idea of parents being the sole stakeholders in their children’s lives?
Did not answer.
5. What is your position on critical race theory, social-emotional learning, LGBTQ inclusion, and equity issues in the classroom? What do you know of Bloom365 and Corwin Press and what are your opinions?
Did not answer.
6. Based on the limitations and powers of a school board member, what’s your platform?
Focus on EVERY Learner: Provide academic growth and support for every student and prepare every student for post-graduation success in their career, college, or community journey.
Support Students and Teachers Through Collaboration: Maximize resources to ensure students are ready to learn and allow teachers the time and space to teach.
Effective (and Positive) Communication with All Stakeholders: Reach out to underrepresented stakeholders, provide professional and constructive discourse, and ensure transparency and accountability of public funds.
Keep the District Strong: Maintain excellent schools for strong communities, do not micromanage, and set priorities to create a climate that allows staff and students to succeed and meet District goals
7. What do you believe to be the biggest issue impacting K-12 students in Arizona?
I believe that school funding is the biggest issue in K-12 education. Without a stable source of funding for education, and with the looming Aggregate Expenditure Limit, it is difficult to plan and budget for each year. Our students deserve and need academic and social support. Our teachers and staff members deserve and need higher pay so we can reward their work and also attract and retain highly-qualified employees.
8. How do you think the state should support public education? Do you believe in expanding school vouchers?
The state needs to make public education a priority in Arizona. Additional funds from the state this year are a welcome start, but without the resolution of the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (an antiquated system that needs a permanent fix), the funds could prove to be an empty promise. Arizona should strive to fund education at closer to the median - spending per student that ranks in the bottom ten states in our nation should not be an acceptable level. I think that ESA (voucher) expansion will remove more funding from the state's general budget, which will leave less money for funding public schools (especially when it comes to adding funding for programs and beyond a per-pupil basis). ESA expansion will also make it harder for students with special needs to access the ESA funds that were initially set aside for them.
9. Do you have a plan to fund renovations of schools in your area that are run down?
Paradise Valley Unified School District has been fortunate to have the community’s support through the passage of Bonds and Overrides. Without these funds, it would not be possible to keep our buildings in good condition. District facilities are taxpayer-owned properties, and investments in schools are investments in the community.
10. Do you have a plan to address the shortage of teachers?
As a District, we need to maintain a welcoming atmosphere, offer competitive compensation, and practice respectful and productive collaboration. We need to continue to engage all staff in District decisions and support the staff by allowing them the time and space to do their jobs. We need to treat District staff as professionals, and we should expect others to respect the profession and the positions as well.
11. Do you support allowing retired military or police officers, who pass background checks, to work or volunteer in our schools to prevent mass shootings?
Did not answer.
12. Please feel free to add any additional information you would like voters to know about your candidacy.
Did not answer.