CITIZENS' OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
Maria Slaughter Champions School Facilities
Q: What motivated you to seek the Citizens’ Oversight Committee seat representing taxpayers?
A: As a homeowner and taxpayer, I was interested in learning more about how Measure K property tax dollars are being used to repair and build schools in my local area.
My daughter, Lauryn, is a freshman at Poly High and my son, Kyle, is a seventh grader at Newcomb Academy. As a parent, I want to be involved in ensuring that my children and all children in the Long Beach Unified School District have the best possible learning environment.
We already have excellent instructional programs, and it is imperative that students, teachers and staff members are provided with an environment that is conducive to facilitating the learning process. All of our schools should be safe, clean and modern. Since I work in the facilities area at CSU Long Beach, I have seen first-hand how a positive environment with modern amenities can make a difference.
Q: You are in your second year as a Citizens' Oversight Committee member. What have you learned so far?
A: I have been impressed with the clear and comprehensive communications we have had regarding Measure K financials and the progress of the various projects. I think the team is doing an excellent job of managing the program. It’s great to see that they are constantly working to become more efficient.
One recent example is the creation of a customized software program that produces quarterly financial reports and readily tracks all of the associated expenditures. This effort demonstrates one of the ways that we can make Measure K dollars go further by working smarter.
The Citizens' Oversight Commmittee meetings are open to everyone, and it would be great if more community members could become involved in the process.
Q: What is your career and educational background?
A: I earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from CSU Northridge, an MS in Civil Engineering from Loyola Marymount University, an MBA from Pepperdine University and a doctorate in Education from CSU Long Beach. I worked in the private sector for almost 20 years-- at Union Oil Company in their offshore operations, at Rockwell International in their space shuttle main engine program and at RR Donnelly as the director of Operations. I came to CSU Long Beach seven years ago and am currently the director of Facilities Management.
Q: How does the condition of school facilities at CSULB compare to LBUSD?
A: Education is the backbone of our society and the facilities play a very important role in fostering academic success. At CSU Long Beach, we have some of the same issues as LBUSD—lots of deferred maintenance and modernization needs but not enough funding available to readily bring all of our buildings up to accommodate the current multimedia approach to learning. When upgrades do occur, there is a noticeable positive impact on the learning process, so it is imperative that we keep the focus on improving the school sites in the most effective and efficient way possible.