The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Draft in progress:

2010 Southeast Valley school board questionnaire

1. Name: Merrianne Geisdorf

2. Birth date (we will only publish your age): October 22, 1945

3. Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska

4. Educational, professional and political experience:

a. One year of college, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

b. Self-employed accountant since 1981, clients primarily small
businesses. Held the office of Secretary for the State Chapter of the Alaska
Society of Independent Accountants for several years, and was Treasurer for a
couple of years. Through National Society of Accountants’ and Alaska Society
of Independent Accountants’ Annual Conventions, monthly meetings and
various workshops, I accumulated over 240 CPE hours in Accounting and Tax
Information. Add years

c. No previous political experience.

5. Current occupation: Accountant

6. Family: Husband Robert, three grown children, 11 grandchildren.

7. If you have children, do they attend public schools within the district, private
schools or charter schools?

My daughter and three grandchildren lived here in 2003-2004. During that time,
my grandchildren attended Cambridge Academy, a charter school.

8. How long have you lived in the district? 8 years.

9. Have you ever been charged with a misdemeanor or felony or been part of a
matter in civil court? If so, what was the outcome? No.

10. What prompted you to run for a school board seat?

I have become increasingly concerned about the direction our country is
headed. Our president and congress seem to feel that our Constitution is
irrelevant and pass laws that are not constitutional. I feel that we need to restore
the Constitution to its rightful place as the guiding principle of our government.
In that respect, I’ve also become concerned about what our children are learning
in school – or more importantly – NOT learning.

For over 200 years, the United States of America has been a beacon of light,
hope and freedom, the land of opportunity. This is because of our Constitution,
capitalism, the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail. If our children don’t
know HOW and WHY our country came to be, how and why the Declaration
of Independence and the Constitution were written, what the guiding principles
were behind those documents, they won’t understand why so many of us are
upset with our current government. And they won’t understand WHY we
need to preserve our freedom, WHY we need to get back to the constitutional
principles upon which our country was founded. I believe we need to take back
our country by educating our children about America.

11. What are your top three priorities, if elected, and how would you address
them?

a . Ensure that American History from Columbus forward is taught in all
elementary schools. I know that “The Making of America” textbook was
proposed as one to be used. I would encourage that it be adopted as a
textbook.

b . Review the budget to see where additional changes can be made and channel
any savings to the teachers and classrooms.

c . A priority for public schools needs to be educating our children. The schools
have become more of a social entity for our communities and less of an
educational institution. We provide free lunches and breakfasts during the
school year. And in the summertime we feed the entire community. The
schools are being asked to provide student and family counseling. For
instance, I’ve received a questionnaire from AZ Republic, the union and
Planned Parenthood.

12. What is one school board vote in the last year in which you agreed? Why?

Moving 9th grade to high school. They need to understand that this definitely
counts toward graduating. No more fooling around.

13. What is one school board vote in the last year in which you disagreed?
Why, and what would you have done differently?

I would have voted no on the latest property tax increase proposal right after the
sales tax increase went through. I don’t believe the schools need more money.
I believe instead the money needs to be spent more wisely. Charter schools
provide an excellent education on far less money. If part of that is because they
don’t accept federal funds and therefore don’t have the strings and requirements
attached, we need to look at getting rid of some federal programs in the public
schools.

14. Name one budget-cutting idea you have and how, if elected, you’d
implement it.

Identify alternatives to expensive programs like the International

Baccalaureate Program which is a NGO of UNESCO in Geneva,
Switzerland. It is much more expensive than the American AP course of
study, and promotes Global Citizenship and “International mindedness”
while attempting to undermine national sovereignty. I’ll get actual cost

figures from TJ.

15. What is one way the district could improve student achievement, and how,
if elected, would you achieve it?

Need to clearly define student achievement. Achievement does not mean the
same thing for all students.

16. Do you support a curriculum that includes international studies? Why or
why not?

Yes. However, I believe that we need to teach American History first to
give them a basis of comparison. It took our Founding Fathers 180 years
to come up with their American formula. They studied and tried various
forms of government before they came up with our Constitution in 1787.

17. Should superintendents' evaluations be made public? Why or why not?

Yes. The superintendents are public employees. They are directly in charge of
educating our most precious asset – our children - and the public has the right to
know how they are doing.

18. With public, private and charter schools vying for students, how do you
plan to keep your district competitive?

The easy answer is by providing quality education while keeping costs down.
That goes for any business. We need to make sure our teachers are appreciated
and rewarded when appropriate. And they need to have the necessary
equipment and supplies to provide that education.

19. What uses, if any, would you propose for schools with declining student
enrollment?

I think that renting them to businesses would not only bring in revenue, but
would keep them available in case enrollment increased in the future.

20. Do you support consolidating school districts to streamline resources and
improve efficiency? Why or why not?

Yes, specifically to streamline resources and improve efficiency.

Money needs to follow the student.

Tell charter school that they can get federal money for military kids.

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