Candidates for two slots on the Kyrene Elementary School District’s governing board have plenty of hot-button topics to talk about.
There’s the state’s school redistricting commission currently studying whether to consolidate the Tempe Union High, Kyrene Elementary and Tempe Elementary school districts, a change in the sex education curriculum, and the middle school model change implemented more than a year ago.
Incumbent Ross Robb, appointed to the board in July 2005 to fill a vacancy, said redistricting is on the forefront of his mind.
“It’s all pretty imminent,” said Robb, 51. “I don’t have a ‘pro’ or ‘con’ position about it because frankly, we (the board) know very little about what the redistricting commission is going to be recommending.”
Robb said he wants the commission to allow the process to be more like a conversation than a mandate.
“Ultimately, it’s going to be decided by the voters,” Robb said. “That’s why it’s so important for the community to understand what this is all about.”
Rae Waters, 50, who has served on the Kyrene board for eight years, said communication with parents and community members is always important for the district to address.
She said the district is already planning on “setting up issue forums” to hear from community members more often.
Waters, also president of the Arizona School Boards Association, said one of the issues the district will continue to work through is updating the sex education curriculum, which drew feedback from all sides. New material includes definitions of oral, vaginal and anal sex.
“There are people who think we didn’t go far enough . . . and others who think we went too far,” Waters said.
She wants the sex education program to be voluntary, with parents controlling how much their children are taught.
Tempe lawyer Patrick McGill, 44, said he still wants to focus on the middle school model, which has reduced fine arts “to a point where they’re inadequate.”
McGill ran unsuccessfully against Waters in March after parents collected enough signatures to warrant a recall election.
Waters was a strong proponent of the middle school model changes and cast the deciding vote.
McGill wants to bolster time in fine arts, physical education and foreign language classes to give students a “well-rounded” education.