Local Opinion: Save public education in Catalina Foothills
Updated: Oct 19, 2022
David Hill, attorney, Foothills resident, and parent of three CFSD alums, strongly urges District 16 voters to "save public education in Catalina Foothills" by voting for Amy Bhola, Amy Krauss, and Gina Mehmert in the upcoming Catalina Foothills School District Governing Board election. Writing a guest opinion in today's Arizona Daily Star, Hill writes:
"Please take the time to vote in the upcoming election, be sure to vote for Bhola, Krauss and Mehmert, and encourage your neighbors to do so as well. Their plan is to do what is necessary to preserve the integrity and successful mission of CFSD, not insidiously dismantle it. A vote for these candidates will ensure that hundreds of other families will have the opportunity to enjoy and gain from the same experience our family did." The full article is included below.
Tucson Opinion: Save public education in Catalina Foothills
My wife, Diana, and I have been residents of the Catalina Foothills School District (“CFSD”) for 32 years. We raised our children here. We are thankful for the public education CFSD provided them, and want to be sure other families are afforded the same opportunity. In turn, after recently coming to learn three of five seats on the CFSD governing board are up for election this year, and three of the candidates running for them are anti-public education, I felt compelled to speak out. This piece is my call to action.
We enrolled our first child as a first grader in CFSD in 1989. His younger sisters joined him two and five years later. They each went on to graduate from Catalina Foothills High School in 2003, 2004 and 2008. After graduation they attended college, found meaningful occupations, are happily married and raising children of their own. We find great pride in the people they have become and attribute their good fortune, in significant part, to the quality of the experience they had while students in CFSD.
This summer we were invited to a 40th wedding anniversary party. There, we encountered friends we had not seen in many years, but first met in the 1990s when our youngest daughter attended Manzanita Elementary. Back then we were brought together as families by virtue of a girls first-grade soccer team proudly named “The Rockets,” Brownie troop “811,” and meaningful volunteer activities afforded students’ parents. And it was not our mere encounter with these people we found most pleasing, but rather the sincere gratitude we shared with one another for the experience our children had while a part of the CFSD school system and we were finding our way as parents.
Our enthusiasm and support are not peculiar to our generation. Our oldest daughter and her husband elected to relocate to Tucson in 2018 to start their family, and purchased a home in CFSD for the specific purpose of educating their kids here when the time comes. Several of their friends and peers have done the same.
CFSD caters to all comers, stresses inclusion, and produces well-educated, diverse, ambitious graduates. CFSD’s stability and success is a function of its long-standing leadership provided by Dr. Mary Kamerzell; a board, administrative staff and faculty who are guided by common sense and best practices, and truly responsive to the needs of students and their parents; a rigorous curriculum by any standard; competitive athletics programs; meaningful volunteer activities; and engaged parents.
Three of this year’s board candidates, Grace Jasin, William Morgan and Bart Pemberton, are each endorsed by “Purple for Parents,” which opposes any legislative increase in per-pupil funding in Arizona public schools, and urges the expansion of the ESA voucher program, which allows parents to opt their children out of public schools and, in turn, receive a portion of their public funding for use as private school tuition, online education or the like. Both positions are designed to ultimately cripple public education in Arizona.
Candidates Amy Bhola and Amy Krauss are two-term CFSD board incumbents.
They and Gina Mehmert have been actively involved as parents and volunteers in CFSD for over 10 years. They know the schools, the staffs, the students and their parents, and what actually needs to be done to address real issues which include pandemic learning loss.
Please take the time to vote in the upcoming election, be sure to vote for Bhola, Krauss and Mehmert, and encourage your neighbors to do so as well. Their plan is to do what is necessary to preserve the integrity and successful mission of CFSD, not insidiously dismantle it. A vote for these candidates will ensure that hundreds of other families will have the opportunity to enjoy and gain from the same experience our family did.
David Hill is a practicing lawyer in Tucson. His wife Diana has a Phd in early education from UA and is employed in that field.