Basim Elkarra - On the Issues
Improving Student Performance
Too many of our students are falling behind, with some of the lowest test scores and high school graduation rates of any district in the area. We need to provide our kids with a 21st Century education and prepare them for the world, and that means improving student performance.
- Support early childhood education;
- Reduce class sizes;
- Provide more support and resources for teachers and staff;
- Increase mentoring and other programs targeting at-risk youth;
- Work with local businesses to provide work-study programs, internships, and apprenticeships to prepare young people for the job market.
Schools that are Safe for Teachers, Students and Staff
Our first job is providing a safe place for students to learn and teachers to teach.
We need to work closely with our district’s police officers, school resource officers, teachers, and administrators to ensure that every student goes to school in a safe, positive environment. We also need to stay ahead of the challenges today’s students face with bullying and cyberbullying.
Regain Taxpayers’ Faith in District Management
As the Executive Director of a non-profit and a member of the Los Rios Community College Board Oversight Committee, I know that opening up district financial and contracting practices to public scrutiny is the fastest way to earn back taxpayers’ trust.
We need to budget smarter, reduce administrative waste and and put more of our resources in the classroom, where they belong.
Through better planning, we can better weather short-term changes in our economy, and avoid the boom and bust cycles we have seen in the past. One of my top priorities will be ensuring our schools never have to face the sharp cuts or deficit spending we have endured in the past.
Addressing Neighborhood Schools
Twin Rivers Unified School District, Area 5, currently has only one elementary and one middle school - fewer than any other Trustee Area. With limited school options in Area 5, I will advocate to give families more options.
Previous plans to build an elementary school in Terrace Park, a middle school and high school at the East Natomas Educational Complex (ENEC) have been stopped. I will work to ensure that our community's voice will be heard in discussing all future plans of the district.