Q&A: Camp Verde School Board candidate Monique Prigmore
Years in Arizona: Lifelong resident, however with my husband in the Army we have been back consecutively for the past nine years.
Years in Camp Verde: 4
Government Elective and Advisory Experience: None
Question 1: Why do you want to be on the Camp Verde School Board? Are there any specific issues that caused you to seek this office?
I have become more involved in the community through foster care, facilitating parenting classes and through my children’s educational needs. I feel that each of these roles have fueled a passion for children, their education and the impact the schools and teachers are having. There are long-standing issue surrounding the Native community and our children. There has been little to remedy the lower performance and expectations. As a Native community our reluctance with public education has to change and if it can start with our participation in the school board then I want to frontline that challenge.
Question 2: What do you like about Camp Verde Unified School District? If elected, what would you like to change?
The Camp Verde School District is a good service to its community with its teachers, curriculum and extracurricular activities. They don’t shy away from hosting non-school activities and I think that reflects a good facility design and administration that puts value on the community. I’m not going into this with the idea of radical change but rather learning the already thriving school culture and how I can help bridge communication and participation from students and parents who have felt uncomfortable or unable to do so.
Question 3: If elected, what do you believe would be your greatest responsibility to the district’s students, families, teachers and administration?
I feel my responsibility would be to look at decisions in a way that provides excellent public education and a good teaching environment that can work alongside families and parental authority rather than conflict or expect parents to abdicate their roles when it comes to education.
Question 4: What would be your greatest responsibility to your taxpayers?
I think making decisions that would continue to make the school district competitive in curriculum, teacher pay/benefits and facilities maintained in order to keep property value high adding to the overall desirability of Camp Verde.
Question 5: What do you believe are the most important issues facing Camp Verde Unified and how would you deal with those concerns?
To progress the schools’ curriculum, teacher retention and performance, programs that increase student life and overall attractiveness we can sacrifice those values that hold the community. Camp Verde has long held its own in connection with the land, the people and sports. The Camp Verde community values and embraces the schools. There is an organic relationship that persists with students and alumni. In current times we want to have a world view and as the school board it is our hope not only to make decisions that will excel our program but also honor our community’s core values.
Question 6: Over the past year, Camp Verde Unified and other Verde Valley school districts have considered offering an elective course in the Bible. Should Camp Verde Unified offer a class in the Bible?
My first impulse is to say yes, but the onslaught of questions follow. I think I would want to know more about how it’s going to be taught. As a parent, I feel religious convictions start in the home. Second would this open the door for other seemingly religious doctrine to be taught in the school such as the Koran, or the Book of Mormon? I think this question would be better asked of parents and the community. As the school board, it would be then our responsibility to implement in a way that is fair, legal and cost effective.
Question 7: Voters in the Clarkdale-Jerome, Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts have approved bonds overrides. Do you believe Camp Verde Unified should consider asking its voters to approve an override to help subsidize the district’s promise to educate the community’s children?
In today’s climate I think accruing more debt is not the best thing to do. However, where would those overrides go? What is the return? Is it for teacher’s salary? Is it for a specific program? Is it for general operations? Teachers need competitive pay, the school needs to be funded. However, asking taxpayers to increase payments without knowing there is a positive return seems like we are asking for an increase for mediocre teaching and operations that will not help increase the desire for parents to bring their children to our school or families to Camp Verde.
Question 8: Do you see a need for a future taxpayer-supported bond issue for Camp Verde Unified? If so, specifically how would those funds be used?
I’m not in favor of spending more money on repaying debt than on the actual need of education. However, we are in a different time that has brought to light new needs specific to technology, teachers allocated to in-person and on-line teaching and how to address the needs of all the students in such a broad area. As a community that has strong ties to the school district and the development of residential communities, if the need were so large and immediate that the impact of not meeting these challenges outweighed the debt, I’d support a taxpayer-supported bond.