Meet the Candidate
Running For:School Board
District:Queen Creek Unified School District
Occupation:IT Disaster Recovery/Resiliency Program Manager
Education:Double BS in Information Technology
James has served in the Montana Legislature and other elected and appointed positions at City, County and State levels. While a freshman legislator, he submitted 18 bills and carried 16 through various stages of the process, and 7 directly related to education.
James has 21 years of experience building robust business continuity and disaster recovery programs for fortune 500 corporations, including Dell, Fiserv, Alliant Energy, Marathon Petroleum, MUFG and Zions Bancorporation. His depth of experience has proven beneficial to many organizations by providing a unique perspective on the challenges in developing and implementing continuity, recovery, and risk management programs. James founded the Ohio chapter of the Association of Continuity Professionals, served on the board for Continuity Professionals of Ohio, is a speaker for many different events and actively mentors others within the field.
James has been married for 20 years to Alicia, Two sons, Nathan (17) and Caleb (13), and my daughter, who I raised on my own, was awarded sole custody in CA in the ’90s, Varuka (formerly Amanda, 35. James returned to Queen Creek 3 years ago after leaving Arizona for work in the 90s.
As a homeschool parent and a former Montana Legislator, I have been actively addressing the challenges within the public schools and taking personal responsibility to ensure my children obtain a quality education. However, I believe as a taxpayer, we all must ensure the system we are forced to invest in is the best quality option we can offer.
With the schools top-heavy budgets, toxic environment and classroom politicization, classic American education has been lost. I intend to be the public voice to speak out and return funding to the classroom, not the administration, ensure the curriculum is not filled with political objectives and that our children can graduate with the ability to think critically and have the right path to success.
- −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
|Bypassing the parent is not the place of the school except in those rare cases of neglect and abuse suspected of the parent. Even then, the parent needs to be included or made aware in compliance with the law at the earliest time possible. Providing a safe space to drive cultural indoctrination is not the place of the school and its staff.
|2. Allowing parents to opt their children out of activities or lessons they find offensive to their personal, moral, or religious beliefs
|Education transparency is vital within the schools. All parents have the right to opt their children out of lessons that do not align with their beliefs. I have spoken to several parents who identified teachers that ignored the parent's requests before a lesson. Schools must recognize that parents send their children to school for an education, not to work around their parental rights and to violate this purposefully should be referred for criminal investigation.
|3. Increasing state and local taxes to provide more funding for schools and school facility projects
|QCUSD budget, like many across the country, is top-heavy. Nationally the average increase since 2000 for the administration is 88%, Principals and Assistant Principals 38%, while teachers and student spending have only increased by 8%. Yet School boards keep asking for more money and do not spend it where voters expect, in the classroom. I would focus on accounting for every dollar, see where spending could be cut within the district's top levels, and apply that to the classrooms. It would not surprise me if we could begin paying teachers a respectable wage and restoring classroom funding while overturning the continual bond requests.
|4. Requiring signed permission from a parent before a student may participate in any sexuality related instruction, activities, or clubs.
|Schools should respect the role of Parents and ensure respect for their wishes. Lessons that cover sensitive topics must also have accurate descriptions and referenced material to ensure parents are fully aware of the lesson plan. Also, the default should be that no child should be allowed to participate when a permission slip has not been provided.
|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
|Every parent should be able to choose what education options they wish for their children. The ability to choose has been limited to those who could afford other options. The expansion of the ESA program has leveled the playing field, and virtually every parent now has affordable options. With up to 7K of the 12K state general fund budgeting going with the student while leaving 4k in the school, the new ESA program can increase the per pupil spending while addressing classroom overcrowding. The ESA program further supports how a parent can select the best option for them at a cost less than half the per pupil spending budgeted. I hope QCUSD responds to this change in funding and rises to the challenge of ensuring QC Schools are a choice parents want to make, not forced to take.
|6. Requiring full-day kindergarten for all students
|Most kindergarten students are at an age where they are not mature enough to be in full-day school. Studies have shown that many students who fall behind and are on IEPs result from physical and mental development immaturity when they are taught core items resulting in an ever-increasing need for special education solutions. Once a student has an individual education plan (IEP), they have been identified as having a challenge. We spend a lot of money attempting to address the problem but often miss the root cause. These children grow up struggling to compete in the classroom and build resentment and dislike for education. Multiple programs not used in our schools address catching students up, rooted in the lack of mental and physical maturity levels. Over time this deficiency grows to a point these students fall further and further behind. Too often, these students never reach a point they excel in the classroom. I think the schools need to explore some of these proven solutions at an early age, which will result in children succeeding in learning at grade level and above after a 6-month to a year focused program. Though it may cost more initially, the rewards are unmeasurable and cost far less than the high cost of continual special education services. We need to have these discussions and explore potential public-private and creative solutions. We owe it to our children.
|7. Mandating sex education classes for 5th-12th grade students
|The short answer is no! Beyond the general biological process as part of biology, it is not the place of a teacher or school to expose children to these sensitive topics. The parent is responsible for teaching their child and choosing if the topic should be addressed in school.
|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)
|In most work environments other than union positions, merit or the value one brings to the employer influences the wages received. On my website, I have a merit-based bonus plan that would annually set clearly defined goals, and if they are met, a teacher could get up to a 20% salary increase for the following year. It would be reaccessed annually and allows successful teachers to receive pay based on their proven success. Successful and effective teachers should be paid accordingly.
|9. Implementing policies to allow students and faculty to use the restroom, locker room, and shower room that aligns with their gender identity
|If schools embraced the teaching of critical thinking and logic, this would be a moot point. There are only two sexes, and if we are to follow the science, it supports this as fact. Though someone may have feelings that result in their identifying as something other than they biologically are, it does not give them to right to pursue their happiness at the cost of others' rights. The right to pursue happiness does not guarantee happiness and does not elevate your rights above others.
|10. Teaching what is known as diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI); social, emotional learning (SEL); or critical race theory (CRT) in public schools.
|Teaching what is known as diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI); social, emotional learning (SEL); or critical race theory (CRT) in public schools is simply teaching indoctrination. These subjects are derived from socialist and communist sources and are designed to tear down pride for America and the individual citizen. If we focused on teaching a classic American education (reading, writing, arithmetic, science, critical thinking), students would be able to decide for themselves the relevance of these culture-changing topics.
|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.
|The daily curriculum should be published; this must also be mandatory for any variances from the daily lesson plan. Parents should be able to access the curriculum taught in the classroom and choose if their child will remain in that class using the curriculum they object to. Similarly, cameras in the classroom may provide greater insight to ensure the curriculum is followed. Not only could it hold teachers accountable, but it should also protect them from those students who lack respect and discipline. Schools should have no objection to this unless they have something to hide