Parent panel is new to Mesa school district - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Parent panel is new to Mesa school district

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Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2005 11:03 am

Parents have a new avenue for communicating with the Mesa Unified School District. The Mesa Parent Advocates for Quality Schools met for the first time last week in an effort to reach out to parents for input as well as to share stories about their children’s schools.

The parent advocacy committee will be similar to parent councils in other East Valley school districts, said Superintendent Debra Duvall. But it will also be a little different.

Parent representatives from every school were invited to ensure a broad range of representation, but anyone is welcome.

"We want you to be an informed group of people," Duvall said during the committee’s first meeting Aug. 30. "We also want you to advocate for your children and your children’s schools."

The group will be a regular platform for parents to communicate their issues with the district.

The Mesa school board, unlike boards in many other East Valley districts, does not allow an open forum for public comment during board meetings, though parents can comment on specific issues placed on the agenda by the district.

Duvall urged parents to share their priorities with her, and parents said they wanted to focus on better ways to raise funds and how to get more state funding, and they wanted to support the upcoming November bond election that would help repair schools.

"I came to see how we could impact the quality of education in Mesa," said Mark Biegel, whose children attend Hermosa Vista Elementary and Stapley Junior High schools. "Obviously there are some good thinkers in here."

David Merrill, whose children attend Emerson Elementary, Carson Junior and Westwood High schools, said he wants to help improve a school district he has grown up in and that his nine children now attend.

"How often do you get to talk to the superintendent?" said Karen Hoopes, of Falcon Hill Elementary and Red Mountain High schools. "I’m thrilled and excited. I think we need to have better communication."

The next meeting of the parent advisory committee will be 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 4 in the district’s board room at 549 N. Stapley Drive, Mesa. Call (480) 472-0000 for more information.

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