By Tommy Acosta
Sedona AZ (October 18, 2016) — The contending factions in the Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District have one commonality.
Everyone is doing their best to do what’s best for the students, teachers and parents of the district.
There are no hidden agenda’s or nefarious schemes to undermine the district by any of the parties involved — only a passionate desire to improve education here in Sedona.Now, with four candidates running for three open seats on the school board, the onus rests on the voters who will decide the direction and future of the school district.
But as we look to the future we must also acknowledge the past and give our appreciation to the three outgoing board members that have dedicated so much in time and service to the district.
They have withstood criticisms, recalls, internal strife, allegations of misconduct and perennial bad press.
They have had to keep a school district afloat in a sea of uncertainty, navigating the turbulent waters of statewide budget cuts and a rapidly morphing and most challenging demographic.
Yet, selflessly they served as best as they could in the interest of the students and better education, despite the slings and arrows cast at them and lack of appreciation from all sides.
When the elected serve their time and leave their office they leave a much different person than they were when they first assumed the position.
They come in with hopes and lofty dreams, plans of changing everything for the better. Soon they learn that what they believed was not quite so in the face of actuality.
The job is more complicated, more difficult than they thought before taking it on. There is a learning curve needed to understand how the system works and how to work with the other elected members of a board in an effective and civil manner. They must also learn how to handle criticism and animosity when making tough decisions.
That is why the community is fortunate that two of the five standing-board members are staying on to help impart upon the newcomers the wisdom they gained through their years of service.
Emotions will run high as we near Election Day. The local print media will back candidates they believe are more amenable to their interests. The public will digest and filter what it reads.
But what will determine who gets elected will be the efforts of the candidates in gathering votes; the message they carry and how it resonates with the voting public.
Whether the message is one of criticism of the past or hope for the future, it’s reflected in each individual candidate’s style. Whether voters are swayed by negativity or positivity depends on their perspective on what they hope to see in the district’s future or saw in the district’s past.
Better education, better teachers, a better learning environment, more funding for programs, sterling academic achievement and a strong district led by caring and compassionate leaders is what everyone in the education community wants.
Let’s be confident the newly elected school board will continue to strive for these achievements over the coming years.