Chester resident Traci Holt will be on the 2014 election ballot as a candidate for the position of Plumas Unified School District board trustee. Photo by M. Kate West
“I’ve never had a passion like this ever,” said Chester resident Traci Holt about her decision to run in the 2014 election for the position of Plumas Unified School District board trustee.
Holt, who will file for the position in December, formally announced her candidacy Oct. 16.
“There is a draw for me there, a fire in my belly, to ensure we have the best educational opportunities for our children; that’s what’s driving me to be part of a solution,” she said.
Her verbalized purpose in campaigning for the position is to “help guide the district in ensuring that we have the best educational opportunities for our children, our teachers and staff to make sure they have the tools they need.”
She cited classroom cuts as an example needing remediation and said, “The teachers need to have the tools to foster high-quality education.
“I want to be a strong voice for our children; at the end of the day it is not about me, it’s about our children, our teachers and staff.”
Traci Holt, Candidate, Plumas Unified School District board of trustees
“I want to be a strong voice for our children; at the end of the day it is not about me, it’s about our children, our teachers and staff.
“The best results only occur when you are willing to ask the tough questions. When you ask those tough questions you are making sure you have all of the information to make an informed decision.
“I think my background, my understanding of funding, will end with a better result for our children and not leave us in the position of accepting where we are at today,” she said.
Holt says she is not now and never will be a “yes man.”
“I feel that I need to voice my conscience about what is best for our children. Always saying yes and always going with the flow might be the easiest path; however, it may not necessarily provide the best outcome for our children.
“I have a board that questions and challenges me constantly. I do not want to be part of a cookie-cutter board.
“I just feel that those tough questions would, at the end of the day, force me to work with the education code and uphold fiduciary responsibility. In my employment I would feel like my board was not engaged if they didn’t ask tough questions.
“Whether or not your vote is popular it must come from a well-thought-out process, keeping in mind the end result is a better education for our kids,” Holt said.
The most important thing she wants to relay to the community is her willingness to make a difference.
“Through my experience with the PUSD 7-11 Committee and Austerity Committee and my profession, I feel I bring a depth of understanding and knowledge that I hope can make a difference for the children, teachers, staff and families of Plumas County,” Holt said.
Holt served for six months on the PUSD 7-11 Committee, which then transitioned to an additional seven months on the Austerity Committee.
She said the Austerity Committee had two subcommittees: one for budget and one that did research in looking at how other school districts are handling crises and ways in which to generate revenue.
“On the budget subcommittee, after our job was done and our report was submitted to the district, we continued to work throughout the summer on our own because we still believe there are things to be done.
“As a subcommittee, we felt a commitment to our kids and still wanted to remain current and able to provide future solutions to the challenges facing PUSD,” she said.
In the interim
Holt further advised that she and her fellow members of the budget subcommittee have applied to sit on the District Advisory Committee.
She said the essential purpose of the DAC is to provide guidance to the district on a number of issues, primarily policy, including the budget, PUSD as a whole and what the district can do to make the area a better place for kids.
“Good management, good policies and procedures set the tone for how you operate. This is a recommendation from the 7-11 Committee as to how the district operates, to have the district look at its policy and procedures.
“You must have solid policies and procedures in place to ensure consistency and equality for the teachers, staff and children of PUSD,” she said.
Traci Holt is a 14-year resident of the Lake Almanor Basin. She is married to local businessman Kelly Holt, who was born and raised in Lake Almanor. They have one daughter, Ashley, who is currently a fifth-grader at Chester Elementary School.
As a working mother, she is employed as the executive director of Alliance for Workforce Development, a nonprofit that serves job seekers, the unemployed and youths in five counties.
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