Marilyn Zerull is one of three Republican candidates running for a seat in Legislative District 26 House of Representatives GOP primary that voters will decide Sept. 2. We asked her some questions about education policy.
Should the AIMS test remain a requirement for graduation?
I don’t really care for the AIMS test mainly because it tests after the fact. I would prefer testing during the school year because if the curriculum was standardized then just regular testing in the class room would indicate to the teachers and parents if a student was falling behind.
Do you favor any changes for the AIMS test?
I would favor a basics skills test like I was brought up with that was given a third of the way through the school year so that you really got an idea of where each student was at.
Do you support state-funded vouchers for private or religious schools?
I definitely believe in supporting them, whether it’s with state funding or not. I’m not totally decided on that yet but I do feel that private schooling is already privately funded so I don’t really think they need any additional funding. Of course, religious schools and charter schools are different.
Does the state need to spend more on school construction?
No. We have schools that are closing here in Pima County and well as in Maricopa County due to lack of children. I’m really in favor of redistricting and utilizing the schools we have. Now if some of them are old, I am in full favor of renovating but I think building new schools is a super waste of money.
Should school construction funds come from the general fund or would you prefer a new revenue source for school construction?
The general fund. I don’t think we need to increase the amount of money going for education especially this year. We need to delegate spending better.
Do you support merit pay for teachers?
Yes, I do. I believe it would demand competition that would wind up improving the whole system.
How would you determine how merit pay was awarded?
I think that is something that has to be determined by the parents and the principal—they’re the ones who see the performance of the students.
Do you support sex-ed programs that include information on abstinence, contraception and HIV/STD prevention?
As long as it was age appropriate. I don’t support teaching about homosexuality, STDs and stuff like that—that stuff could be brought up at the high school level but certainly not in grade school. It should also coincide with what the parents want.