Q&A: Camp Verde School board candidate Thomasene Cardona
Years in Arizona: 50
Years in Camp Verde: 4
Government Elective and Advisory Experience: Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Council, Friends of the Verde River Executive Board, Yavapai-Apache Nation Land & Water Committee
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 am seeking a seat on the Camp Verde School Board because I want to make a positive difference in the families of our community. The education needs of our students and families have been underrepresented. I want to bring to the board the values, skills and knowledge I have from leading my community as a member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation’s tribal council so we can fully realize our ideals and values in how we give our children opportunities.
Question 2: What do you like about Camp Verde Unified School District? If elected, what would you like to change?
Camp Verde is situated in an area rich in history. I want to incorporate the rich history of our area into our classroom discussion to encourage pride about our history and region. Want to encourage our school district’s growth through pride and knowledge.
Question 3: If elected, what do you believe would be your greatest responsibility to the district’s students, families, teachers and administration?
The responsibility of sharing a vision for the future of the Camp Verde Unified School District and all its stakeholders is my prime concern. To do this we need to include the students, families and staff in this vision. It will take accountability, collaboration and respect to create and support realistic policies that increase student and staff performance.
Question 4: What would be your greatest responsibility to your taxpayers?
Accountability. I would work to ensure that administration, faculty, and students have clear guidelines to meet established goals in the areas of academics, finance and operations so that the taxpayers’ investment in our students and schools is effective.
Question 5: What do believe are the most important issues facing Camp Verde Unified and how would you deal with those concerns?
I believe support for all staff in a fair and proper manner is important, and having equitable access to support services is also crucial to the success of each student and the development of our communities.
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?
Perhaps. It would depend on the goal of offering an elective course in the Bible. I would have to know more about what the course would cover and how it would fit into our larger educational goals. I would hope the school considers a variety of elective courses that expand the world view of our students. A Bible course could do that, but so could many other elective courses. I’d like to see courses in community organizing that encourage students to develop a world view that values unified effort rather than individualized one.
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?
There’s no easy answer to addressing our current financial challenges. However, I believe we need to start looking long term on the operations side to identify what the need will be for staffing to work closer with students. We could innovate by collaborating with colleges and technical schools to prepare our students to return and serve in our schools. We also need to identify key areas of maintenance that have been overlooked. We need to either set funding aside to address these areas or innovate so we can ensure that our schools are operating in a safe and efficient manner.
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?
Making an informed decision is important. I need more information to accurately assess the needs of the students and the school. I would ensure the planning process included stakeholder input to establish short and long term goals/objectives.