Amy Davis backs bond measures
Q: Why are you the best candidate to represent your district on the board?
A: I bring a voice from outside of the school system, which will add balance and independent thinking to the school board. Additionally, I offer a diverse skill set. As a family physician of 25 years, I have spent my career honing my problem solving skills to help families. I have training in public health, which gives me problem solving experience at a community level. I have been in medical education for over 20 years and have expertise in critical review of curriculum and learner outcomes. I am a leader and collaborator and have worked in leadership roles in both health care organizations and boards. I have worked to help manage large budgets and understand the balance of mission and margin. Last, and most importantly, I am a parent of three District 51 graduates and have 20-plus years of experience in advocacy for our schools. I am passionate about public education and 100 percent committed to its success.
Q: Do you support the bond measure and mill levy override? Why or why not?
A: I support the bond measure and mill levy override. I have studied the history of how we have come to our current budget and I have spent much time in studying the current proposals and listening to the rationale for both measures. The school district has not had any additional funding since 2004, and in fact, had a major cut in funding in 2010-11. We are now seeing the consequences of this. Buildings are in disrepair and unsafe, curriculum is outdated, and student contact days have been decreased. This hurts our students and families, but also negatively affects our ability as a community to thrive at many levels.
Q: What are your impressions of new initiatives such as performance-based learning and strategic teacher compensation? What other initiatives or policy changes would you like to enact?
A: Our students need to be competitive in the workplace and in the university setting. Recent test scores may or may not accurately reflect such, but they were certainly subpar and college remediation rates need to improve. So, I am encouraged that the school district did their “homework” and is instituting performance-based learning. However, we will need to support the effort and vigilantly track outcomes. I also favor strategic teacher compensation. This model rewards effective teaching and professional development. We need to find ways to value our teachers and the tremendous dedication that most have for our students and families. However, I would strongly champion that our evaluative processes need to be fair, objective and valid across schools.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge District 51 faces and what can you do as a board member to address it?
A: I have a menu of important issues that already keep me awake at night including improved student performance and college/workforce readiness, school safety issues, and teacher recruitment and retention challenges. However, there is an overarching theme that perhaps deserves to be the “biggest challenge.” We need to build trust and transparency with the school board and with school district governance. As stewards of public education and of taxpayer dollars, we need to work on the very complex problems, but we must do so with complete transparency. We must have community trust.