1. Honest and Transparent Communication

In a time of such great uncertainty, we all just want to feel like we have some control in this current environment. Parents feel as though they have been left out of the conversation this year--and they literally have been left out of school buildings this year. And communication in general has felt stiff, corporate, and detached. Even after hundreds of individuals voiced concerns over mask mandates, crowding issues, and safety protocols, leadership has remained bureaucratic at best, and dismissive at worst.

What I Will Do:
  • Keep board meetings open and interactive with guests present- This is one small step that helps parents and attendees feel heard and included in these difficult conversations.

  • Commit to live discussions as much as legally feasible and logistically appropriate- I will commit to open dialogue around decisions being made. Small and large decisions affect livelihoods and parents and constituents deserve to be part of the discussion.

  • Include parent and community feedback- Many times, surveys and committees feel like good optics, rather than actual input. Feedback is necessary to appropriate decision-making. I won't forget that I represent YOU.

2. Post-Covid Return to Normal on Campuses

Many assume that we will "just be back to normal" by the fall. In my experience, this is not a guarantee and will take a school board committed to the best interests of students.

As a psychiatrist and public health expert, I see clearly that the best interests of students is a return to normal on campuses. Countless scientific evidence suggests that masks and social distancing measures have not significantly reduced viral transmission (why is it that private schools and daycares have had low rates of transmission this entire year?)

Proper childhood and adolescent development requires the seeing of faces and unhindered social interactions. We must begin accounting for the risks involved with health protocols and begin transitioning back to a normal environment in the safest way possible.

What I Will Do:
  • Keep schools open and prioritize in person learning- It is abundantly clear that children thrive best when learning on campus. Schools should not be shut down and there should be no threat to schools shutting down.

  • Make a plan to return to normal- We must survey the current and future needs of students and create a protocol for reopening the schools to full functioning capacity.

  • Allow for parents' freedom in determining optimum health measures for their children- There are many conflicting opinions, even among medical professionals, regarding health and safety protocols. It is our responsibility to equip parents, staff and teachers with the right information so that individuals can make health decisions for themselves and their families. 

3. Transparency in Fiscal Spending

As our district expands and changes rapidly, we must address the elephant in the room: money. Parents and community members invest several thousands of dollars a year in tax dollars. Where does this money go?  DSISD must improve transparency around fiscal spending. 

What I Will Do:
  • Make budget conversations available to the public- Any conversation about spending should include you, the taxpayer. Fiscal spending should be publicly posted and readily accessible to the public.

  • Continue to address the allocation of resources- Allocation of resources is a dynamic, ever-changing conversation. Are there creative ways to increase revenue without passing another bond? High dollar budget items that can be re-allocated or leasing of facilities for added revenue? This is an ongoing conversation.

  • Communicate clearly regarding allocation of resources during the pandemic- It is no secret that schools have had unique financial challenges throughout the pandemic. We must communicate clearly to help improve morale in our community and also, to cut costs from unnecessary or superfluous means.

4. Parents' Choice in Curriculum and Health

There are many concerns for the next few years. Sex education curriculum and vaccines in children are two of the most controversial. For such sensitive, personal decisions, parents must have complete freedom to make their own decisions without restrictions from the district.

What I Will Do:
  • Prioritize parents' choice in sensitive curriculum- Controversial and sensitive content should be at the discretion of parents, with their inclusion in the discussion from beginning to end.

  • Fight for a partisan-free school environment-  Public education should remain nonpartisan in nature. Any politically divisive content should be at the discretion of parents and students, not driven from a district.

  • Prioritize parents' choice in health decisions- A school should never be making medical decisions for children. Parents should have ultimate authority over their children's health. Regardless of that decision, they should have unrestricted access to public education.

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