Coniam, T. William
Meet the Candidate
Running For:School Board
District:Dysart Unified School District
Occupation:Loss Control Specialist
Education:Bachelor's from Arizona State University
I have lived in Arizona since I was 8 months old. I am a product of Arizona’s public school system. I attended school in two districts (Peoria and Deer Valley) and earned my Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. I have always had a strong sense of civic duty and a desire to serve my community and nation. I initially went to Arizona State University to become a high school social studies teacher. As I studied American government and history, my patriotism swelled and I felt a strong desire to serve my country; so I joined the United States Marine Corps. I served in the United States Marine Corps for a total of 8 years and I received an honorable discharge as a Sergeant in 2012, but I continue to serve our community in various ways today.
I am a devoted husband and father of two children. We have made our home in Surprise and the Dysart school district for the past 13 years. Both of our children attend Dysart schools, with one child in middle school and the other in elementary school. I am personally invested in Dysart for the long term.
While working full-time and advancing my career, I have served the Dysart Unified School District and schools in various ways including the Student Handbook Revision Committee, Superintendent’s Parent Council, PTSOs, PTAs, and RGES Site Council.
I serve on the City of Surprise Board of Trustees. I am currently the Vice-Chair and I am serving my third term, as I was re-appointed with a unanimous vote by the Surprise City Council in June of 2022. The purpose of the Board of Trustees is to oversee the City’s self-insured medical program and to make recommendations to the City Council regarding trust fund programs, including reserve levels to assure stability and security of the trust fund. I am happy to say that, thanks to fiscal conservatism, we were able to amass a pretty sizable reserve to ensure we are able to meet unexpected costs that might be incurred. Part of fiscal conservatism means also knowing when you don’t need to keep taking in so much revenue. So, in 2019, we voted for some pretty major changes. We began taking $1 million less from the City of Surprise general fund – therefore allowing an extra million dollars every year for the City to use for other needs. Another change we made was expanding options. Since 2012, employees only had one option for their health insurance: a PPO plan. There was demand for the HMO plan to be opened for enrollment again and beginning in 2019 we actually began providing 3 options: a PPO, HMO, and EPO; providing more options to help employees meet the health insurance needs for their families.
My other volunteer work with the City of Surprise includes serving on the Bullard Avenue Task Force (formed to find a solution to replace the golf cart lanes) and as a Surprise Parks & Recreation volunteer coach for numerous soccer and kickball teams.
I have developed a reputation in the community for my willingness to objectively analyze situations and make educated decisions. I try not to rush to judgment without proper evaluation and I am not afraid to admit I was wrong should I be presented with a cogent case backed by evidence. I strive to look at things critically, focusing on facts and not opinions, in order to make evidence-based decisions. While I consider myself a fiscal conservative, my decisions are guided by the well-being of the community.
Our public schools job is, first and foremost, to educate our youth.
I do not believe that partisan political agendas belong in our classrooms or board room.
The only “agenda” I’m interested in is what will result in the best educational outcome for the children.
If elected, I will bring a fresh perspective to the board, examine the issues rationally and critically, and provide a voice of reason.
I will do my best to make decisions that are in the best interest of our children and community, while maintaining fiscal responsibility.
We need elected representatives who put their communities first, not their partisan political agendas.
We need to bring people with different backgrounds and perspectives together and work collaboratively to solve our most-pressing problems.
Let’s work together to move Dysart forward.
- −Declined to respond
- Declined to respond, Position based on citation
|1. Requiring school officials, including teachers, to inform parents about their child’s social, mental, emotional, or physical health||S|
|2. Allowing parents to opt their children out of activities or lessons they find offensive to their personal, moral, or religious beliefs||S|
|3. Increasing state and local taxes to provide more funding for schools and school facility projects||S|
|4. Requiring signed permission from a parent before a student may participate in any sexuality related instruction, activities, or clubs.||S|
|5. Allowing all parents to use tax credits, vouchers, or education savings accounts to enable children to attend any public, charter, private, homeschool, or online academy||O*||I can explain why I oppose the universal expansion of the ESA program in Arizona in one sentence: If you support fiscal accountability and transparency with tax dollars, you oppose ESA expansion. Period. The differences between the rules for public schools and private schools are so extreme that it becomes an absolutely absurd double standard to try to argue otherwise. There is no public reporting of how the taxpayer dollars are spent - No review by the Auditor General - No fiscal audits, or budget reviews by the public or publicly elected governing board It’s also very important to note the lack of academic accountability. - Students do not have to take the state assessment - Students do not have to take a national assessment (like the ACT or SAT), - They don't have to show student outcomes, such as grades, or whether their students graduate from high school or go to college - There are no required qualifications for teachers in private schools. NONE - There’s also no public process to evaluate or provide input into the curriculum used. Private schools could literally be teaching students ANYTHING, or even NOTHING at all, and our tax money is funding it. Any school receiving tax money should be held to the same standards. Either remove these requirements from public schools (district & charter) or require private schools to comply. For more information: https://www.voteconiam.com/issues|
|6. Requiring full-day kindergarten for all students||-|
|7. Mandating sex education classes for 5th-12th grade students||O*||For more information: https://www.voteconiam.com/issues|
|8. Allocating teacher pay raises based upon merit rather than providing uniform salary schedule increases based upon years of teaching or additional credentialing (e.g. masters degrees)||-*||Should be a combination.|
|9. Implementing policies to allow students and faculty to use the restroom, locker room, and shower room that aligns with their gender identity||-*||Students can use single-occupant bathrooms|
|10. Teaching what is known as diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI); social, emotional learning (SEL); or critical race theory (CRT) in public schools.||-*||I disagree with how this question is worded. See my website for discussion of these issues: https://www.voteconiam.com/issues|
|11. Increasing academic (curriculum) transparency by requiring each public school to post online for parents and the public a list of all instructional materials being used in the classroom.||-*||Curriculum is already provided online. This question being worded as "All instruction materials" is too vague. Does this mean scanning every page of every book? That's silly.|