Staci Burk for Gilbert School Board

I had the pleasure of meeting Staci Burk recently and hearing her speak. Beneath her kind, gracious demeanor is a woman of intelligence, persistence and strength.

Asked how educational quality can be improved without increasing spending, she had this to say:

“I do not believe that more money is the end all for improving the quality of education. Florida for example, according to EDUCATION WEEK, was ranked 31st in overall quality in 2006, and very similar to Arizona in spending per student. In 2009, according to the same source, Florida ranked 10th in quality in 2009. From 2006 to 2009, the amount of spending per student in Florida remained the same and, according to some statistics, actually reduced. How did they do that?

“They focused on class sizes, teacher pay incentives, and preschool education. It was not that they needed more money to achieve, they just needed to apply it to areas that produced the desired outcomes for quality.

“What better time than now for us to demonstrate commitment to quality education while controlling spending? I have faith that we can accomplish that within Gilbert Public Schools.”

For Ms. Burk’s answers to the Arizona Republic’s Candidate Questionnaire, go to