Q&A: Summit School District board of education candidate Consuelo Redhorse
School board candidate
During spending discussions earlier this year, the school district was said to be at risk of hitting a budget deficit as early as the 2025-26 academic year. How would you seek to avoid this?
According to the district’s administrative and board policies, responsibility for budget preparation belongs to the superintendent and his team. The board is responsible for approving a budget that delivers a high-quality education supporting success for all students. I will adhere to these roles and responsibilities.
I will ensure that the superintendent actively takes charge in addressing budget challenges based on data and stakeholder input, while also aligning limited resources to district priorities and balancing competing needs. I will rely on the expertise of the superintendent to make operational recommendations to the board that result in savings (increases in revenues and/or cuts in spending) and require adherence to the district’s financial policies and applicable laws.
I will provide guidance on the annual agenda calendar and agenda topics to ensure that policy and legal requirements are fulfilled, and that the full board is adequately informed about financial matters, has time to discuss and understand the district’s financial position, its challenges, and how the use of district resources affects student success.
I will promote an understanding of and advocate for the district’s needs to build community and legislator support for adequate funding of high-quality education resulting in success for all students.
What are ways you would seek to improve students’ test scores?
Test scores, in combination with several other metrics, provide a holistic approach to understanding how well our students are thriving academically and as healthy young people. The entire district team is working diligently to support student success.
District action and initiatives have increased access to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning that supports student success. I will educate our community about what the district is already doing to improve student success, such as the implementation of the Unified Improvement Plan and superintendent goals that are aligned with the district’s strategic plan, and improving teaching and learning practices, while understanding and acknowledging that there is still much work to do to educate our students more effectively.
I will advocate for creating a culture in our schools that is supportive of academic and personal success. Creating and maintaining welcoming, safe and inclusive environments supports teaching and learning for all people in our schools.
I will promote an understanding that student success is a shared commitment of schools, families, our community and our students. The schools cannot do this work alone. We need all hands on deck if we seek to improve success for all our students.
Do you support or object to the district’s equity policy, which commits to identifying patterns of systemic inequity within the district and supporting the identity expression of students and staff?
I fully and unapologetically support the district’s equity policy. “Equity” as defined in the policy “is about serving all children as the individuals that they are. Equity in education is achieved when all students receive the resources they need so they graduate prepared for success after high school.” As a member of the Equity Advisory Committee’s policy subcommittee that was charged with researching and drafting this policy, and a board member who voted in support of adopting this policy, I became very familiar with the data that supports this work and the student needs it addresses.
Information presented and discussed at board meetings (presence of opportunity gaps, access to high-level rigorous learning, etc.), and community engagement surrounding equity efforts (student advocacy, public comment sessions, etc.), during my term as a school board member has provided me with more data that support the need for this policy. To thrive, all students and staff must feel safe, heard and valued, experience a sense of belonging, and be able to be, accept, and love their full selves. The equity policy reaffirms my commitment to seek justice and dignity for all students, staff and families of Summit School District.
What are some decisions that the district or board have made that you support, and why?
I support the direction of the district and vision of the board. I support the board’s decision to hire and extend the contract for Superintendent Tony Byrd, a leader dedicated to all students, staff and our community. Dr. Byrd’s experience, values and vision as they relate to public education and student success align with the needs of students in Summit County. I support the board’s decisions to increase compensation for district employees as this shows our commitment to the talented individuals that create the learning environment and access to high-quality education for all our students.
I support the decision to adopt the district’s strategic plan as it provides direction and focus for our district team in providing a high-quality education for all students. I support the board’s commitment to being a highly effective governing body focusing on student success, and the associated decision to adopt of a new set of Policy Governance ® policies to ensure that the board understands and respects the roles of the board and superintendent, and has a team-oriented, student-centered and continuous-improvement focus that will lend itself to success for all students. I believe the decisions made by the district and the board support student success.
What are some decisions that the district or board have made that you oppose, and why?
I do not oppose any district or board decision. During my service on the school board, I have faced multiple challenges, made hard decisions, addressed tough issues, and had intense discussions with my team members. Each of these difficulties has presented learning experiences and opportunities for growth that I continue to embrace as a leader that is responsible for ensuring the success of our students.
As a board member, I make the best decisions that I can for our students based on the information I have at the time and remain nimble, able to change course when the data shows a need for change. Based on my experience on the school board, I believe my teammates do the same. With each change in board member or superintendent, our team becomes a new team with different strengths, experiences, values, and areas of growth. Valuing my board and district team members and treating them with respect and kindness, in collaboration and with cooperation, creates an environment where we can build trust. Acting as a team, supporting each other and decisions of the group, is imperative to the strong leadership required to fulfill the board’s responsibility for student success.
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