School Board candidates answer questions posed by Arlington Times

The Arlington Times and The Marysville Globe newspapers sent candidates five questions to each of candidates running for the Arlington School Board.

Candidates were asked to respond to the questions in 100 words or less.

Ursula Ghirardo and Bob McClure are running unopposed as Directors of District No. 3 and No. 5, respectively.

*What makes you the best candidate for the Arlington School Board?

Ghirardo: In addition to a passion for education and a commitment to the community of Arlington, I will bring a broad base of knowledge and experience to the Arlington School Board. From my own education and corporate work experience as an engineer, I have acquired skills in the areas of problem solving, data analysis, strategic planning, project management, continuous process improvement, meeting facilitation and team building. Having lived and worked on the east, west and gulf coasts of the United States, as well as in both Europe and Asia, I will offer new ideas and approaches to many topics. As a parent of school aged children for whom our family has sought the best possible education, I will bring a personal appreciation of elementary, middle and high school education from the varied perspectives of public, private and home schooling.

Bob McClure did not respond to candidate questions and will be running unopposed.

*How would the district's financial concerns, such as a shrinking budget, affect your decisions on the board should you be elected?

Ghirardo: All board decisions should be made in the best interest of Arlington's schoolchildren, given the current financial resources of the school district.

*How much importance do you place on state-mandated testing? How is it helpful or a hinderance within the Arlington School District?

Ghirardo: The mandate for testing goes beyond the state, to the federal level, through the No Child Left Behind Act. Since testing is not a choice, I prefer to focus on what benefits can be reaped from it. Standardized testing can supply data which helps identify areas of strength and weakness in our efforts to educate students. When used for the purpose of improving our system, it can be a powerful tool. The challenge is to focus on what truly improves student learning and then trust that the testing will reflect the knowledge they gain.

*How willing are you to explore alternative funding sources should opportunities present themselves?

Ghirardo: Legitimate alternative funding sources, such as educational grants, should be explored as a means of funding needs in the district.

*If you are elected, what is your No. 1 priority on the school board?

Ghirardo: My first priority would be to diligently support the Arlington School District through hard work and careful decision making. My goal would be an outstanding education for our students, and effective and efficient use of the public education funds provided by taxpayers.

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