Q-and-A with Apache Junction Unified School District board candidate Gilbert Cancio

Gilbert K. Cancio

Four area residents are running for two seats on the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board in the Nov. 6 general election. The Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent e-mailed questionnaires to the candidates. They will be posted online in the order they were received.

Name: Gilbert K. Cancio

Age: 67

Education: Master of arts in organizational management, University of Phoenix, 2000; certified public manager, Arizona State University, 1997; Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, Northern Arizona University, 1973; and Associate in Arts in general studies, Eastern Arizona College, 1972

Town/neighborhood: Currently reside in Apache Junction.

Employment: Currently retired.

Previous public office: Currently member of Pinal County Merit System Commission (second term).

How are you better prepared to be a school board member than your opponents?: Attitude and life experiences. I believe that since the school board members are elected by the public, they are responsible to all of the public. It is the responsibility of the school board members to ensure that all allocated resources are utilized in an effective manner so that the students receive the best education possible.

If elected, what will you accomplish in your first 100 days in office?: The following items are what I would like to accomplish (not necessarily in this order):
•Review with the superintendent the short range (one year), mid range (three years) and long range (five years) goals for the district.
•Talk with all teachers regarding their concerns (this would be an ongoing process).
•Attend PTO meetings and encourage input from the parents regarding their concerns (this would be an ongoing process).
•Conduct an inspection of all the physical plants with the head of building maintenance.
•Review the lease agreements made concerning the use of closed schools.

What are your hopes for Apache Junction Unified School District?: That the school district will be in the top 10 percent in the state of Arizona in academic excellence, by the time my term is completed.

Other boards and commissions, paid and unpaid, have a dais for its members, with staff members sitting in the audience or at nearby tables. Do you agree with the present school board meeting layout where the superintendent sits alongside the board of directors and why or why not?: The school board meeting is just that. It is not the superintendent’s meeting. The superintendent should not be seated with the school board but rather separately. The separation reinforces the division of authority.

The school board at a recent meeting evaluated the AJUSD superintendent. How do you rate Dr. Krista Anderson’s performance as superintendent: Exceeds, meets, approaches, or far falls below the level of performance required and why?: At this time, I feel that Dr. Anderson approaches the level of performance required. She has only been with the district for one year. There has been a lot of turmoil. She appears to be trying to correct a number of situations.

Should AJUSD have the meet and confer process for employees? Why or why not?: I believe that using a meet and confer process would work for the school district, the employees and most importantly for the public. While there would be discussions concerning problem areas, there would not be any strikes. In the end, the decision of the school board would be final via a memorandum of understanding.

What can the school board do to attract parents to enroll their children at Apache Junction Unified School District?: In order to encourage parents to send their children to district schools, we need to be transparent in all of our dealings. We need to improve the quality of our graduates. Are they truly ready for college or a technical career? And if not, why not? We are not doing anyone a favor by graduating them if they need to take remedial English in college. We need to follow up on our recent graduates and find out about any academic shortcomings that they have experienced.

E-mail: majorgil@cancios.com

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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