Gilbert School Board Candidate

Bio and Background

Gilbert High Graduate 1986

Married to Gilbert High Graduate

Four Children Attending or Graduated from Gilbert Schools

Member of GPS Strategic Plan Core Committee

Member of GPS Citizens Budget Committee

Executive Committee for Gilbert Music Matters, music education advocacy.

Music Teacher for Seven Years, One Year at Gilbert High School.

Instrumental Music Education Degree from Arizona State University

Land Developer, Music Producer, and Technology Entrepreneur

Social and Fiscal Conservative

Contact Jason:


School Board Election Update:

(Posted Summer 2012)

Dear Friends and Family,

As you all know, I have REALLY been looking forward to running for the Gilbert school board. There are numerous needs at the schools and plenty of opportunity to help out. However, after much thought, I’ve decided this isn’t the right year for me to run. The primary driver to that decision is the need to make sure I don’t let my time and priorities get spread too thin. I plan to stay actively engaged, much like I have the past few years, but save the school board role for another time in the future.

Thank you so much for all your help and support as I’ve considered this. Gilbert schools are one of the most important assets to our community. In spite of many challenges, GPS is one of the strongest districts in the state. Let’s all keep working together to continue improving on decades worth of good and help our schools be the best they can and should be.


I'll leave my campaign info online as much of it remains relevant to issues facing schools in Gilbert.

Jason Barney for Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board - November 2012

Jason BarneyMy name is Jason Barney. I'm running for school board in the Gilbert Public School District in the November 2012 election. I'm a Gilbert High School graduate, married to a Gilbert graduate, and father of four Gilbert students. I grew up in Mesa. Gilbert has been my home since moving here in 1982. I've seen our town and our schools go through some amazing growth and transformation in those nearly 30 years. We can say with confidence that Gilbert and Mesa are among the most desirable places in the country to live and that our schools are a huge reason for that.

Why run for school board? Amazing doesn't happen by chance and it doesn't stay that way by chance either. I'd like to do my part to help us keep on the same great track we've been on for all these decades. Are there challenges in the district? With over 36,000 students, over 5,000 employees, and a budget well over $200 million, of course there are challenges. In fact, in the next few years, we'll be facing new types of challenges we haven't had to take on before. The funding model for public education in Arizona is more uncertain than ever, new national standards such as Common Core bring a new layer of demands and expectations, and in an increasingly competitive and global economy, we must provide Gilbert graduates with a skill set beyond what we have provided in the past. Solving hard problems like those will not happen by chance either.

Fortunately, we have no shortage of passion in our communities to support education and work together in overcoming those challenges. And, critically important, we have the best of the best teachers who bring their passion to inspire to the classroom. A school board member is simply a point of contact to channel and give voice to all that passion. This year there are several dedicated, capable, and experienced people willing to serve on the school board. There are four open seats of the total five. I have a set of life experiences and skills that I think would be a benefit to the Board. So, I'd love to have your vote.

Background and Issues:

Brief Background, Bio, History, Etc.

Detailed Background and Info Specific to My Role With GPS:
In March 2012, I applied for the vacancy left when Shane Stapley moved out of the district. Part of that application was a lengthy response to several questions. For a detailed look at my approach, views, and experience, download the PDF file with my answer to those questions: GPS Vacancy Application. There are a total of seven applicants for this spot, many of who have become good friends of mine in advocating for quality education in Gilbert. See the Arizona Republic article here. Gilbert is fortunate to have this many qualified, capable, and dedicated people ready to work.

Strategic Plan:
In February 2011, GPS began work on a five year strategic plan. I have been fortunate to be part of the Core Committee that took on the task of mapping out our strengths, weakness, and opportunities to take GPS to the next level. We are now in the final stage of authoring the implementation piece of the plan. Being part of that committee has been a fantastic opportunity for me catch the vision of opportunity and potential at Gilbert Public Schools. Probably best of all is the opportunity I've had to learn from dozens and dozens of our professional educators, parents, and community leaders why Gilbert schools are great and how to make them greater. That strategic plan will have no value unless we put it to work. As one of many authors of that plan, I would be an asset to the board in converting that plan from ink on a page to action and results. See the plan here. See the December 201 Arizona Republic article and the September 2011 article here.

The school board has two primary roles. These two roles are in a constant state of tension and competition with each other. On the one hand, the school board must ensure we are offering our young people the best education possible. That is how we create the foundation for our economy, quality of life, and opportunity for future generations. Very few investments could possibly produce greater returns than to teach our youth. The school board does this through policy direction toward curriculum, programs, and hiring criteria. On the other hand, GPS spends well over $200 million dollars a year of tax payer money, our money. The school board is the primary firewall protecting us, the tax payer. It has the critical duty to ensure that HUGE amount of money is spent properly, not wasted, and directed most effectively toward, teaching, the classroom, and the educational outcomes we expect when that $200+ million comes out of our family finances. If we seriously want serious education for our youth, we must fund it and fund it adequately. However, regardless of how important education is, every penny we take from households to fund education is nonetheless a burden on families. As a result, the school board must work constantly and vigilantly to ensure the proper balance exists between burdening families and investing in their future through education spending. Constant two way communication with the community is essential to keeping that tension in a stable balance. I recently served on the Citizens Budget Committee for GPS. That is a brand new process, and will hopefully become more effective in future years. But, I think that is an excellent way to bring the public in to engage and collaborate in making our spending choices more understandable. Forums like that ensure that both the parents of students as well as the tax payer has voice in how we prioritize that spending. See Arizona Republic article.

Prop 100 Sales Tax Extension:
I reluctantly supported it the first time as a temporary emergency measure. I do NOT support making it permanent. Read more for a detailed explanation.

2012 Budget Override:
What are the pros and cons of continuing a $17.6 million per year property tax for Gilbert Schools? Click here for more.