Incumbent says budget crisis makes experience crucial
Finishing out her first term on the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education Position 5, Janine Gracy decided she wanted more.
Gracy, director of the Regional Prevention Center, said being on the school board was a great way to give back to the community.
“I wasn’t unhappy with anything,” Gracy said of her first run for school board. “It runs in my family. My father was on the board when I was growing up.”
In the past Gracy has been involved with PTA at Clear Creek and Riverview Elementary Schools. Gracy’s daughter attends Mill Valley High School.
Gracy said her experience on the board prepared her for another four years of service.
“The learning curve is very steep, especially that first year,” she said. “I have a lot to offer. I have experience, and I think the experience will be critical in the next four years given the budget and the cuts the state is looking at.”
Gracy said the stimulus package from the federal government helped a great deal but that it was only a stopgap.
“The district needs to find ways to do the job as best we can using reduced resources in the future,” she said. “I will fight to keep funds to the schools, because it is critical to our kids.”
Gracy said that with the looming budget deficits the district will have to continue to make sure the priority was in the classroom.
The budget review stakeholder’s committee is the way to go, Gracy said.
“We have to get input and that’s one thing that I listen and want to make sure the patrons understand that if they have a concern I respond to their concern,” she said. “The committee can’t be underestimated.”
Aside from budget issues, Gracy said another issue was preparing students for global society.
“We have got to do the best job we can to prepare our kids to live in this global society,” she said. “We are educating children for jobs that don’t even exist yet. That’s pretty amazing to think about. We’ve got to be able to help them be creative thinkers. And one of the things I’d like to see is that when our kids graduate they know more than one language. That’s got to start in the primary years.”
Gracy said every decision she made regarding the school district was made for the good of the students.
“That is my first and foremost thought on any decision that I make,” she said. “I’m holding them up first. Of course, I’m concerned about the rooftop taxes that support our school district but our school district has to be strong in order for business and other people to want to come.”