This week’s Peoria (PUSD) meeting was…indescribable. But I know y’all are counting on me to describe it, so I’ll do my best.
And if you’re reading this, but you don’t have a paid subscription, help a sister out and upgrade your subscription to “paid” and support the work we do because I’m nearly positive that attending and monitoring these meetings is bad for my health.
This evening, there was a celebration of student artists in PUSD, so the meeting opened by highlighting the hard work of these students and their teachers. Once board reports were over (WITHOUT any complaints or bastardized versions of the district motto “every student, every day…” so that was a nice change), President Sandoval *wisely* encouraged all award recipients and their families that “now is a good time to leave” right before public comments. Agreed, Prez, those kids definitely didn’t need to be exposed to what came next.
I debated whether to write about Peoria (PUSD) or Paradise Valley (PVUSD) this week since both meetings happened on the same night. It is A LOT to subject oneself to, but I’m a glutton for punishment and I DID watch both meetings… so I’ll give a brief breakdown of both.
Did I mention that this is A LOT? (If you’re interested in helping us stay on top of what’s happening at these school board meetings, you can sign up to help here).
So let’s go ahead and start with PUSD. In case y’all forgot, your presence and willingness to email the PUSD board seemed to help accelerate the resignation of PUSD Board Member and homeschooling creationist, Rebecca Hill.
So thanks to everyone who stepped up to make that happen!
It was just the second Thursday of the month, so you know what that means! That’s right! The Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) governing board circus meeting was back in session!
Not only did I attend the PUSD board meeting, I also attended the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) board meeting on 8/8/23. PLUS, I also watched Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD), Catalina Foothills School District (CFSD), and Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) online.
It’s the Monday after a Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) Governing Board meeting, so you know what that means… That’s right! I am reliving the hellscape that has become the biweekly meeting happening in the West Valley.
Buckle up, Buttercup, because it was one wild ride of procedural missteps, white supremacy, and fake electors (OH MY!).
The meeting started with a very normal public hearing about the budget. Despite attempts by white Christian nationalist board members to make everything seem like a conspiracy while they whine and cry about the lack of transparency in our public schools, every public district must make their budgets public. Interestingly enough, the same cannot be said for private schools where the students aren’t tested, the curriculum doesn’t require approval, and administrators can deny admission or employment for any reason at all.
And don’t even get me started on the lack of accountability for homeschoolers.
But! Whether scripture is explicitly being read at meetings by board members or not, there are a lot of Christofascists who are elected or who are showing up at school board meetings all over Arizona.
Our local school boards are the heart of our democracy, and I’ve started tracking what’s happening at these meetings as much as I am able. I submit myself to this torture so that Secular AZ members and the public know what is going on in their own backyards… and so Arizonans can make informed decisions in the 2024 election and vote for candidates who support our secular schools and government.
So without any further adieu, let’s make like MC Hammer and break it down!
Secular AZ is proud to introduce you to our new Executive Director, Jeanne Casteen! Among other things, Jeanne has been a lifelong educator and advocate, mother of four, middle and high school teacher, and school board president. We’re excited to benefit from her strength, ideas, and experience. Below, meet Jeanne in her own words.