We all agree that education is one of the most important issues for our residents. It is crucial to the future development of our city, and the development of a competitive workforce.

That’s why we, as the presidents of the Kyrene, Balsz, Creighton and Madison elementary school district’s school boards, are invested in making sure that our City Council members are committed to a strong education system that provides our children with the skills they need to succeed in our 21st century economy. We need a future work force that will have the skills and drive needed to ensure Phoenix is a world class city.

With nearly half of all Phoenix school districts in District 6 — six elementary school districts, three high school districts and two unified school districts — education must be an important issue in this election for City Council in District 6. We need solid leadership. According to recent statistics, only 11 school districts in Phoenix had 70 percent or more of their third grade students pass the AIMS Reading Test in 2012.

To fight this problem, we need engaged parents and educators leading the charge, and private and public entities to join together. We need leaders for our city who believe in these priorities.

It is for all these reasons that we have unequivocally decided to endorse Karlene Keogh Parks for City Council, District 6. Karlene understands that all of our children deserve a fair chance to succeed and that a good education gives them the tools they need to achieve their full potential.

That’s one of the reasons why Karlene was the first woman to chair the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix, and why she has the endorsement of our mayor and our brave firefighters and police officers.

Keeping our children and neighborhoods safe isn’t a matter of empty rhetoric. Karlene has a history of bringing people together around the priorities that really matter, and getting things done.

Council members need to understand that economic growth in Phoenix means creating jobs based on the skills of people in our communities. We need to ensure that today’s youth are ready to be our future leaders. Their education will be the key for them and for us. We’re proud of Karlene’s long record of accomplishment and her commitment to our community’s youth.

We strongly urge you to vote for Karlene Keogh Parks to represent all of us in Phoenix City Council, District 6.

• Beth Brizel, Kyrene Elementary Governing Board president; Vic Grace, Balsz Elementary Governing Board president; Kendra Tollackson, Madison Elementary Governing Board president; and Matt Jewett, Creighton Elementary Governing Board president.

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