TurlockCityNews.com Candidate Questionnaire:
Felica Renshaw, TUSD Trustee Candidate
What would your position be if elected as a TUSD Trustee on taking City of Turlock Redevelopment Agency funds to renovate the Joe Debely Stadium? What is your current believe as a citizen of Turlock? (The reason this is relevant is because this may be a funding source TUSD Board Members try to access more if they feel it should be).
My position on accepting RDA money is that I will always try to do what is best for kids. I would have to look at all aspects of the offer from the city IF and when the city even receives the total amount of RDA funds to which they are entitled. IF the offer and the use agreement are in the best interest of the students of TUSD, then I believe that I would have a duty to seriously consider the offer. At this point in time, I cannot say exactly what I would do because for me the details could be the deal breaker. My personal opinion is that there are a large number of projects within the current sphere of influence of the RDA that I believe need to be done before Joe Debely. However, my personal opinion cannot be the only thing that I would ever base a decision on as a board member. I am elected to represent all of the constituents within the boundaries of TUSD and I would have to listen to what they want done. I have NEVER heard anyone from our board or from TUSD talk about the RDA as a future funding source for other TUSD projects, so I do not believe that this should be made an issue in this current campaign.
Due to the State of California budget issues, what potential cuts do you envision TUSD dealing with and how? What would be your priorities to protect the most during budget cuts if they are needed?
The long standing fiscal policies of the Turlock school districts previously and the fiscal management of TUSD for the past six years have put our District in a very good position to weather these very difficult20times in California. We will not have to make any additional cuts beyond those from the adopted budget for 2009-2010. Of course, we are carefully monitoring all the financial news that comes out of Sacramento, and we are waiting to see what the January budget proposal from the Governor means for us in 2010-2011. If we aren’t faced with significant cuts of the magnitude we endured these past two years, we believe that we may be able to also survive 2010-2011. If there are significant cuts again, then I believe that everything will have to be on the table again. Our budget committee meets regularly and will provide us with recommendations. My priority would be to attempt to keep the cuts away from the classroom. Unfortunately, since more than 80% of our budget is spent on salaries, any severe cuts to our budget would more than likely mean some loss of jobs or more sacrifices from all of our employees. Rather than cutting whole programs or departments, I would like to find ways to downsize, to bring in revenues. and to actively pursue grants to protect those things that I believe are important to our Distict. My priorities are fine arts programs, vocational programs, physical education programs, and home to school transportation.
For those of us who don’t know, what is TUSD and/or what is it about?
TUSD stands for the Turlock Unified School District. This school district encompasses most of the city boundaries of the city of Turlock for those wit h children through 8th grade and enlarges for high school age children to include the elementary districts of Chatom and Keyes. There are two comprehensive high schools, an alternative high school, an independent study program, a junior high, a middle school, and nine elementary schools. Within the District there are numerous programs and choices for parents to best serve the needs of their children. We offer a duel immersion magnet, a math/science magnet, a performing arts magnet, self contained gate programs for students in 4-6 at two elementary sites, duel immersion and gate offerings at our middle and junior high schools, and extended day kindergarten programs. We also offer numerous special education classes, adult education classes, and vocational offerings. The mission of the TUSD states, “The mission of the Turlock Unified School District, a premier progressive educational system, is to ensure all students graduate as self-motivated, responsible citizens equipped to compete successfully in an ever-changing global society by delivering effective instruction that engages all students to reach their individual potential and highest achievements within a safe and caring student-centered environment in partnership with our families and diverse community.” The mission is the keystone of the new strategic plan that was just adopted this year and will guide the district over the next five years.
What do you feel the duties of a TUSD Board Member are?
The duties of a TUSD board member are to represent all of the citizens within the District=2 0and to advocate for the students and their best interests. Regular attendance at the monthly meetings and being prepared for those meetings by reading the agendas and the back-up materials is crucial to being an effective board member. Visiting school sites and attending games, concerts, and special programs within the District are advisable and excellent ways to connect with staff, students, and parents. Trainings and conferences are the best way to learn about board governance, the Brown Act, conflict of interest laws, and the latest federal and state laws affecting education; these are offered through the county and through the California School Board Association. Being a school board member is the most basic form of local governance and has the power to shape the future of a community through the education of the future leaders.I take all of these responsibilities very seriously.
What made you decide to run for a TUSD Board of Trustees’ position this election?
I am running for my fourth term because I believe so strongly in the strategic plan. I was part of the inital 30 member community based committee that formulated this plan, and I would like to see it implemented to the fullest extent. I believe that this is the most positive thing to happen to this District besides unification and that it has the most potential to bring positive change and growth to all of our students. It would have been easy to not run again and to have let others deal with the mess that Sacramento has saddled us wit h financially; however, I believe that right now may not be the best time to be learning school finance and that I have a responsibility to continue to provide leadership and experience.
List Top 5 Biographical Highlights:
(In Candidate Statement)
List Top 3 Priorities if elected:
My top three priorities are the strategic plan, strong financial management that protects programs and jobs, and working to complete the modernization of our schools once those funds are released from the state. Along with the modernization, I would hope that we would be able to finally do something in regards to a new continuation high school.
What do you feel you have to offer that some of the other candidates may not?
I believe what sets me apart from the other candidates is my twelve years of service, 6 of which were on the Turlock Joint Elementary School Board and 6 on the Turlock Unified School Board. I served as President of each of these boards, first in 2001 and then in 2007. I have gained valuable experience and training that I believe make me uniquely qualified in this race.
How would you contribute to the current TUSD Board of Trustees and would you fulfill anything missing on the current TUSD Board of Trustees?
I will continue to contribute to the Board by fulfilling the responsibilities that I already take very seriously and by continuing to be accessible to the community as a whole.
What issues do you feel need to be addressed more than they already are? Are there any problems or is there anything that you feel needs to be fixed/ changed concerning TUSD?
We still need to address the achievement of all of our students and to make sure that we are all working as hard as we can to make this happen. Once again, our strategic plan has so mu ch potential to make the changes that we need to have happen. As we work on various strategies each year, I believe that we will increase achievement.
Key Endorsements (up to 5):
I have not sought any endorsements per se nor have I received any yet from any group. Many people have kindly placed signs in their yards and have wished me well, but I do not have anything I can give you at this time.
Complete List of Endorsements (as of time submitted):
Position Papers (specific views on specific issues) or Candidate Statements (equal to an intro at a debate or a short speech of what you’d like to communicate without being edited):
My name is Felica Renshaw. It has been my honor to have served as a Board Member for the past twelve years. I was a member of the Turlock Joint Elementary School Board for six years and have served as a member of the Turlock Unified School Board for the last six years. Over the twelve years I was able to serve as Board President of each of the Boards, first in 2001 and then in 2007. I have gained valuable experience and training that I believe make me uniquely qualified in this race.
My family has lived in Turlock since 1988. Three of my five children were born here, and all five of them have attended Turlock schools from kindergarten on. My oldest son and daughter graduated from Turlock High School, my middle son from Pitman High School, and my youngest son and daughter are currently students at Pitman High School. My husband and I have been married for almost thirty years, and he is a dentist here in Turlock.
I became involved in Turlock schools in 1988 as a classroom volunteer. I then also served in various PTA’s, site councils, and on the District Instructional Council before I was elected as a Board Member. I have continued to volunteer when I can throughout my tenure on the Boards. These experiences allowed me to meet parents, teachers, and students from all over our community and to gain perspective and insight into the needs and challenges of our school communities.
Education in California is facing significant challenges right now, but I believe that I am prepared to continue to be part of the Turlock Unified School Board that will bring us through these trying times. I am particularly excited about the Strategic Plan that was adopted this year and know that there are great times ahead for our students as we work together to fully implement this plan over the next five years. Please consider me as you cast your vote in November.
Felica Diane Lampman Renshaw
Born: January 25, 1958
Education: High School Diploma from Stratford Senior High School in Houston, Texas 1976
BA in Communications from Brigham Young University-Provo, UT 1980
Occupation: Full-time Homemaker