School Board Slug Fest

Who knew that there’s a fight brewing among candidates for the Scottsdale Unified School District governing board? Not readers of the Arizona Republic, but what’s new?

The short version is that there are two seats up-for-grabs, with Pam Kirby the only incumbent candidate. She’s joined in the race by Laddie Guy Shane, Francesca Thomas, and Kim Hartmann.

Apparently Ms. Thomas filed a legal challenge a couple of weeks ago against Mr. Shane’s qualifying petitions. The complaint was dismissed by the judge.


Shane has released a statement (below) detailing what he feels are related (and underhanded) tactics by those who are seeking to keep him off the SUSD board. Most troubling to me are the surprisingly uncivil comments attributed to current SUSD board vice-president (and former Scottsdale City Council candidate), Denny Brown.

Now I’ve never been nominated for  the “Mr. Civility” award. But, I remember distinctly that Denny made a comment during his council campaign that,

We need to create a culture of civility and respect.”

I believe Denny was speaking of how Scottsdale city employees were being treated, but wouldn’t you think the same sentiment should apply to electoral campaigns…especially for school board?

Laddie Guy Shane, candidate for the Scottsdale School Board, made the following statement today:

“Sadly my opponent and her supporters have resorted to bully tactics by trying to eliminate choice in the upcoming Scottsdale Schools election. This is the latest example of my opponent trying to intimidate me and my supporters. I have had street signs stolen and many of my public endorsers, friends and family have been harassed with phone calls and emails. My public supporters have even been contacted and threatened with political reprisal if they don’t remove their support.

Over the Labor Day weekend, Vice President of the Scottsdale School Board Denny Brown joined the attacks and publicly stated that I was both “embarrassing” and “appalling” as a candidate and referred to a challenge of my petition signatures made by one of my opponents, Francesca Thomas.

Mr. Brown took it upon himself to contact my supporters in an attempt to discredit my candidacy and even went as far as to admit in one conversation that he disagreed with my political philosophies.

Let me be clear: Miss Thomas’ challenge was filed on August 20 and was completely dismissed by the judge on August 27. There was no credible legal challenge, Miss Thomas did not follow the proper legal procedures when filing the complaint, and the Maricopa County Elections Department found my candidacy to be in full legal compliance and determined that every rule of the law had been followed by me and my campaign.

I was never presented with an opportunity to defend my petition signatures in court – which I would have – because the case was quickly dismissed by a Maricopa County judge.

Candidates face frivolous challenges of their signatures every cycle. This is why the legal process and the appeals process exists. Unhappy with the rulings of an independent judge, Miss Thomas, Mr. Brown, and their status quo supporters are attempting to undermine the elections process.

This pattern of intimidation is unacceptable. The voters and the children of Scottsdale Schools deserve better than this. I am now more determined than ever to place children first and continue my campaign to restore integrity and trust between the Scottsdale School board, teachers, parents and students.

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  1. Can anyone share any specific differences between the 4 candidates for the SUSD Board? They all seem to say the same things and have the same non-specific solutions. I even attended in person one of the debates last week and all I came away with is that Pam Kirby really wants to close some schools.

    Who should I vote for and why?


      1. Thanks, John.

        If you can interview the candidates, that would be great. I read the links you included. They both contained better information than I had previously found, but the headline on the 2nd link about the debate was a bit off. There was no sparring at that debate; I was there. It was a tepid affair (accept when Ms. Thomas was shouting because she didn’t want to use the mic), and I was not able to really distinguish between the candidates. They all gave standard issue responses. There was one moment of tension when an audience member scolded Ms. Hartman about a “separate but equal” comment she must have made in the past as I didn’t hear it that evening.

        I tried to do a bit of digging on my own and the only thing interesting I found was that Mr. Shane used to be a strong opponent of Common Core but now is apparently in favor. He wrote this resolution,

        and appeared on Channel 8 to argue against it,

        How could he be that opposed to something and then change his mind in such a short timeframe? It makes me think he is just an opportunist and doesn’t really have any fixed positions. I guess I can cross his name off my list.



        1. I’ve changed my mind occasionally, too. For example, I was once strongly against council districts in Scottsdale. Now I strongly favor them.

          But having said that, perhaps I can direct the question to Mr. Shane. I’d like to hear his answer, too!

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