Lori Bastian

I have lived in Tempe with my husband, Nick and our three sons for 17 years.

 We own a small business, and my husband and I are very involved in the community.  I am an involved parent, and I enjoy keeping up with what is going on in our schools. 

 So, when I learned that critical decisions were being made by a Governing Board that did not include a single parent with kids attending our schools, I was shocked. 

This summer, the current board considered defunding school resource officers, and in June they voted to limit in-person learning to one day a week without more on-campus options.

 Many parents sent emails, called, and posted concerns. Most received no response. Parents who wanted – want – our children to be given the option to return to in-person learning felt we were not being heard. It was during this time that I decided to act.

 Within 18 days, I gathered over 1,100 signatures to get my name on the ballot – 700 more than required. Propelled by this grassroots effort to get a parent of high school students on the board and provide in-person learning options for students, I will do my part to make sure all families are heard and respected.

The district’s inconsistent communication with families and staff during COVID-19 has also been a huge disappointment. 

While Kyrene, our neighboring feeder district, communicated at least weekly with families throughout the summer, TUHSD parents were lucky to get an email every two to three weeks. 

My first order of business will be to help open and improve the lines of communication so that all parents and staff receive regular, transparent, and timely information. 

In the last three months, I have talked with many families who have shared other issues and frustrations. Our schools should be providing a great education to all students, whether they struggle academically or excel in honors classes. 

We must educate all kids. ELA classes at Mountain Pointe should not be listening to audio books – they should be reading books. Tempe High should have the same athletic resources as Corona and Marcos should offer the same honors classes as Desert Vista. 

Kids with IEPs and 504s should always be a priority so that they have the resources they need.

 I am greatly concerned that the prolonged virtual learning environment has only exacerbated the needs of lower income families and further increased the achievement gap. Additionally, a whole segment of our student population is suffering on a social/emotional level due to isolation and difficulty learning online. We must get the kids, who need and want to be back on campus, back in the classroom.

 I am not a politician, and I never aspired to run for any office. I am only running because this district has issues, and I feel compelled to get at least one parent voice on the Tempe Union Board.  

I may not be the smoothest orator or have all the answers, but I care, I am intelligent, and I will work hard so that we can make the best decisions for our district. Above all, I will listen to the whole community.

I ask for your vote on Nov. 3d so we can begin the hard work of listening and responding to the needs of our community.  I care about our district, and as a mom and a local business owner, I will do what is best for our whole community. And by the way, that often includes options.

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