Q-and-A with outgoing Tahoe Truckee schools trustee Lisa Mohun
July 14, 2010
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; In a question-and-answer session this week, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Trustee Lisa Mohun explained her reasons behind her resignation announcement last week and what she hopes to do next.
Mohun said she will officially resign from her position Sept. 6 because sheand#8217;ll be relocating to her home in Glenshire, which is outside her Area 4 boundaries.
Sierra Sun: Why did you decide to resign from the board?
Lisa Mohun: My husband and I made a business decision four years ago to build in Area 4, which is why I ran for the school board in this area. We, like many others in this community, experienced an unexpected reduction in property values and decided it was in the best interest of our family to return to our home in Glenshire. This decision was not an easy one for me because I feel strongly about my work and am dedicated to the school board.
I explored every possible option before making the decision to return to Glenshire and the district was very supportive of me. (TTUSD Superintendent Steve) Jennings asked for a legal opinion on this subject and rallied a support letter to Placer County Office of Education, amongst these and other findings, they all proved that I could not remain on the board.
Sun: What do you think future board members should consider on issues such as English Learners and finances?
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LM: Future board members must understand issues in this district and it is up to the current board to have the process in place to allow this transition to be smooth. Our schools are experiencing high numbers of English Learners and poverty level clientele throughout the district. We have a strong group of Hispanic community members who are very well educated and articulate. The district, in my opinion, is making huge headway to support the English Learners within our community.
The budget is a very complex part of the school board; (TTUSD Assistant Superintendent of Finance Steve) Dickinson does an excellent job of simplifying a very complicated issue. Even as a school board member, being immersed in budget still requires constant reiteration and conversation because each board memberand#8217;s personal opinion of and#8220;deficit spendingand#8221; varies. I believe within the realm of fiscal responsibility we should be spending resources to provide all students with every educational opportunity possible.
Sun: Do you think, with unpopular budget cuts looming, long hours and no pay, there wonand#8217;t be enough qualified applicants to take the helm?
LM: I have always been very concerned about the possibility of unfilled trustee positions. This is why I argued for a community and#8220;At Largeand#8221; vote. First of all, this school board represents and votes for all 5 trustee areas and is elected by the entire district. An and#8220;At Largeand#8221; vote would allow a broader range of possible talent without the confinement of living in a specific geographical area.
Where you own property has nothing to do with education. An at large vote, would also allow trustee mobility, this district is not that vast and does not require specific area voice. I am hoping the community will find candidates to fill empty board seats during this volatile time in the economy who are interested in education and put the community voice first. Having candidates run unopposed because there is no one living in their area willing to run, is unnecessary.
Sun: Do you see yourself continuing to play a role in the district; if so, how?
LM: Absolutely, I see myself continuing to play an important role within the school district. I believe everyone should feel compelled to have a voice in our childrenand#8217;s education, it benefits our community. I have learned an incredible amount in the last two years which will help our children as I participate in the districtand#8217;s activities in the years to come. Words will never express how thankful I am for my time spend on the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board.
Sun: What do you plan to do next?
LM: It may be hard for some people to believe but I prefer spending my time as a trustee. I am passionate about this community and our children and will be looking for other ways to support them. My first interest will be in joining the steering committee for Measure A.
A discussion that still needs to take place at the board level is whether or not the district is financially able to support all the resources Measure A provides. There has been a lot of community focus on the reserve, this however, is only a small part of a huge puzzle. The district desperately needs the community to support Measure A. As everyone in this community understands, our state budget is in trouble, our local community economy is hurting, our property values have decreased and as a result so has the monies that fund this district, yet the district is solvent because of the hard budget decisions last year.