Today, it seems like every level of politics is filled with boisterous and deeply partisan politicians. The Boulder Valley School District Board of Education, however, is a welcome oasis from the rhetoric and divisiveness. During board meetings the elected representatives often have thoughtful and civil discussions, perhaps sharing differing points of view, but ultimately finding solutions with students in mind. The conversation is typically led by the soft-spoken woman holding the gavel – Board President Tina Marquis.
Marquis, a Boulder resident and mother of two BVSD students, says she really wasn’t involved in politics before running for the Board seven years ago. She, however, was active in her children's neighborhood school – Foothill Elementary – and thought, perhaps, she could help bring change for children across the district.
“I was concerned about the achievement gap that existed at the time and still does today,” Marquis said. “I would like all of our students to have the opportunity to do what they want to do and be prepared for jobs or college.”
This is her second term as president. During her first, she had the opportunity to preside over one of the most important tasks any school board has – selecting a superintendent. The board selected Dr. Rob Anderson and hasn’t looked back.
“There are a lot of promising changes happening in the district. One is the renewed focus on measurement and accountability. I also feel like the reorganization will create a more responsive structure for the needs of the students,” Marquis said.
Marquis is proud of district’s work towards equity
One of her and the Board’s priorities, is reducing the disparities in achievement by ensuring every student is equipped with the skills and opportunities needed to succeed.
“This is a huge equity issue over time – making sure that people who have traditionally had less access to good opportunities have more,” Marquis said. “[Helping all students succeed] will be good for all of us in this community.”
She says that she is very proud of the district’s equity work and especially the progress made by the Families and Educators Together program, organized by BVSD’s Family Partnerships team. FET teams are comprised of family members from underrepresented communities and educators that collaborate to support the success and well-being of students and improve family members connection with the school.
“Public education is very important”
“Education is one of the most important things we can provide to our kids so they have a chance to be engaged in our democracy, to solve some of the problems that are definitely our legacy,” Marquis said.
She believes that the biggest hurdle is limited school funding. Currently, the state underfunds BVSD by approximately $30 million dollars.
“It is a challenge with a limited budget to meet everyone’s needs and we don’t,” Marquis said candidly. “We cannot provide the perfect level of service for every child in this budget environment, while maintaining some type of teacher pay, bus driver pay, food service worker pay. It is really challenging.”
Still, she encourages everyone to have a voice in how that money is spent.
“We are all contributing to our public funding budgets. I hope that both parents and community members are aware of how we are spending the money and aware of the outcomes we are trying to achieve,” Marquis said. “At the end of the day we serve our voters and our community.”