Arun Puracken Arun Puracken

Arun’s Vision

Reduce overcrowding and balance school enrollment

My goal is for all families to have confidence that their student could receive the highest quality education in every school across the district. When families do not feel that way, you start to have overcrowding at one school leaving some others under-utilized. The vision that I have is to look very closely at school boundaries to ensure that students attend institutions that are in proximity to the communities that they live in without sacrificing the quality of academic programming and leadership they expect.

Effectively managing the process of administrative leave

In the 2016/2017 school year, over 800 of my colleagues were placed on administrative leave. The overwhelming supermajority were found to be innoncent of the severity of charges which were placed against them. It is completely understandable that as a result of some extremely severe cases of child abuse, neglect, and harassment, emphasis on mandatory reporting was at an all time high. However, there were some major errors and true negligence which contributed to these educators being out on leave and getting paid, while investigative processes dragged out way too long. I will work with principals to help streamline processes to ensure thorough investigations but in ways where students are less impacted.

Help minority and local business get contracts in school system

All too often, those companies which acquire contracts in our public schools have little to no vested interest in our county other than providing services. Often, the leadership of those companies do not live in our county. Their children do not attend our public school. Therefore, they don’t always shop and spend money in our community. It is important that we support local and minority business who can provide the same quality of work even though they may not have as extensive of a portfolio. Many of these business owners are products of our public schools and we should be able to bring equity to that process of selecting vendors and contractors.

Prioritizing school renovation and improving maintenance budget

Every school in the district should have the facilities to deliver the highest quality education to students. These include clean facilities that have adequate heating, cooling, pest control, mold control, lead testing, deterioration, etc. Ensuring building maintenance is not just for cosmetic purposes. It is to necessary to ensure complete safety for our students and should be made a priority. All schools must have necessary maintenance and restoration across the board.

Broaden restorative practices throughout district and create community schools

Not only am I a classroom teacher, but I am a proud member of the Prince George’s County Educators Association (PGCEA), the labor union which supports “educators” in Prince George’s County Public Schools. The time for teacher voice in the decision making in public schools is now. We are the people that are on the front line every day that serve students, families, and educators in our community . Restorative practices and community schools are inititatives being pushed by educators just like me in our union and I am a firm believer in supporting them.
Restorative practices is a philosphopy and “framework for building community and responding to challenging behavior through authentic dialogue, coming to understanding, and making things right.” Restorative practices can be very helpful in shifting the culture of the schools in District 9 to strengthen them internally prior to outside interventions being put in place. I am a firm believer that the answers are in the room and restorative practices are examples of that. That leads to the idea of community schools and creating spaces where the school truly functions as the hub of the community uniting all stakeholders to improve student outcomes inside and outside the classroom. Ultimately, I am a firm believer that educators like me deserve a seat at the table when it comes to decisions on public education.

Strengthen and continue bring academic speciality and vocational programs

Our school system has some phenomenal academic specialty and career-centered vocational programs. It is important however that there is equity in terms of program placement across the county. I plan to advocate for biotech, law, language immersion, and middle college programs to come and sustain in our district. Additionally, vocational programs such as barbering, cosmetology, and automotive can be important for many of our students as a way to gain a valuable trade and be ready for college and career.