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|October 8-November 3, 2009
• Vote 2009 Index
• Vote 2009 Q&A 1
• Vote 2009 Q&A 2
• Vote 2009 Q&A 3
• Vote 2009 Boulder County Ballot Issues
• Vote 2009 City of Boulder Ballot Issues
• Vote 2009 Other Ballot Issues
• Vote 2009 Layfayette City Council
• Vote 2009 Longmont City Council
• Vote 2009 Louisville City Council
Boulder Valley School District
NO: John Kettling
YES: Lesley Smith
John Kettling, 59, has 18 years of experience in Boulder Valley Schools as a lab advisor as well as 32,500 volunteer hours working with kids on engineering projects. Kettling is the 1998 Impact on Education winner. Kettling says he supports teachers having a professional pay scale so that the teaching profession can achieve upward mobility. Kettling wants to help Columbine School become a thriving neighborhood school. Kettling says he has definite opinions on floor polishing and playground monitoring, as well as having CAD systems for students and teaching seventh graders research-level calculus.
Lesley Smith, 51, was vice president of the board in 2007, BVSD stratification task force member in 2005, and former president and former vice president of Community Montessori’s PTA. Smith spent 15 years at CU as a research scientist focusing on environmental issues and is currently the director of a $2.5 million NSF grant to support science education in BVSD. Smith says she has a passion for all levels of education and feels that she is a seasoned board member with leadership skills. Smith says state funding is a top priority while maintaining quality programs.
Although both Lesley Smith and John Kettling are active in BVSD, Smith impresses us with her current position as director of multimillion-dollar grant that supports science in the district. Vote for Lesley Smith for BVSD District B.
Boulder Valley School District
NO: Tom Miers
YES: Jim Pllicita
Through raising his three children, Tom Miers, 55, was involved with Eisenhower Elementary, Douglas Elementary, Platt Middle School and Fairview High School for 22 years. His wife teaches in BVSD. Miers agrees with the districts visions and goals and he says he wants to provide a solid educational foundation for children that will prepare them for life’s challenges. Miers says this is done through maintaining the quality of education and teachers, while providing resources and improving morale and trust. Miers says key issues are school finance, trust and morale as well as closing the achievement gap and addressing special needs of all students.
Jim Pollicita, 60, has been a volunteer to school districts in the past: the Blue Ribbon Task Force on school finance and Master Plan Liaison Committee in Hamilton, Ohio. Pollitica is also a two-year volunteer on BVSD’s accountability committee. Pollitica has volunteered at Coal Creek Elementary and Louisville Middle School. Pollitica says it’s a critical time for public education and that the district’s key issue is sustaining overall student achievement. Pollitica says that these difficult financial times call for careful stewardship of available resources and collaborative approaches to issues. Pollitica has 30 years of experience in public and private education as a program developer and administrator, working with programs, pupils and teachers.
Miers is active in BVSD, but Pollicita’s 30 years of experience in public and private schools outweighs Miers’ experience.
Vote for Jim Pollicita for BVSD District E.
Boulder Valley School District
NO: Louise Benson
YES: Jennie Belval
Jennie Belval, 53, has 16 years experience as a parent, educator and volunteer in the district, having both of her children graduate from Boulder Valley Schools. She has been the Talented and Gifted Coordinator at Aspen Creek K-8 since 2001. She has worked at the district level as a district accountability Representative and as a member of the New Century Graduate Steering Committee and the Capitol Improvements Planning committee. She is currently the Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee chair. Belval believes that BVSD needs to address the achievement gap and still make sure that higher-end students are challenged. She thinks the district should work collaboratively with educators and the community to make dollars stretch, develop cutting-edge uses for technology and improve relations with teachers.
Louise Benson, 59, ran for City Council in 2007 on school, health care and over-regulation issues. Benson believes that the top priority is closing the achievement gap with proven programs. She believes that small neighborhood schools promote achievement, safety, climate and community. Benson believes in modernizing with optional programs like 6-12 online education and a five-year, state-funded HS/AA degree program. Benson says there needs to be restorative discipline and school board and district responsiveness.
She supports a salary scale for teachers when the economy improves. Benson has more than 20 years of community service ranging from volunteering at schools to serving on the the health board.
We agree with Benson’s idea of restorative discipline and a salary scale for teachers, but Belval has worked for the district and has first-hand knowledge on Boulder Valley’s schools. We also admire her devotion to TAG students, whose needs are often underestimated. Vote for Jennie Belval for BVSD District F.
St. Vrain School District
YES: Debbie Lammers
NO: Alexander Sharp
Debbie Lammers, 57, previously worked in the legal field before moving to Colorado. Lammers has 12 years of experience as an active volunteer in with St. Vrain schools. She has been on various PTO boards, was on the district’s Ballot Campaign Committees, chair of the Community Bond Review Committee, and is currently the president of the Niwot High School Education Foundation Board of Directors. Lammers says that the school district is facing the challenge of higher student performance expectations along with critical funding concerns. Lammers says that curriculum options are essential to student achievement. She says that teachers and other employees are entitled to compensation increases.
Alexander Sharp, 46, says education is the foundation of that future and that the country has no chance to compete effectively and efficiently globally without strong public school systems. Sharp says the key issues are fiscal responsibility, student achievement, wellness of teachers, staff and students, as well as strong community interaction and involvement. Sharp says that being in the military for 27 years has taught him about how to work with a team. Sharp says that since he has lived in the area for a little more than two years that he comes to the position with out any preconceived ideas or bias.
Alexander Sharp is aware of many key issues, but Debbie Lammers boasts 12 years of experience in St. Vrain’s schools ranging from PTO involvement to serving on the district’s committees, proving her dedication to the school system. Vote for Debbie Lammers.
St. Vrain School District
NO: Strider Benston
YES: Robert Smith
Strider Benston has a bachelor’s in political science and master’s in humanities in philosophy and history from UCD and did graduate work at Cambridge University. He was a substitute teacher in Colorado for 13 years. Benston says he brings a fresh perspective to the district, since he was involved in the civil rights movement and was a labor organizer, community organizer and is passionate crusader for justice. Benston says the key issues are a respect for diversity and modes of teaching. Benston says that schools should focus on history in humanistic education. Benston says that a voice like his hasn’t been represented on the board yet.
Incumbent Robert Smith, 62, was appointed to the Board in November 2007. Smith has 35 years of experience as a senior health executive with a background in strategic planning, health care financing and contracting as well as quality improvement. Smith says that he is running because education is the foundational issue for assuring a stable present and viable future for our community. Smith says that key issues are defining student achievement targets, engaging parents and staff in achieving those targets in a diverse population and managing and operating capital expenses. Smith says the Board currently is pursuing specific measures of student achievement, engaging staff and addressing funding.
We like Strider Benson’s perspective and background, but Robert Smith is a seasoned board member who knows the district’s key issues and has a solid background in finance and planning, something the St. Vrain district needs right now. Vote for Robert Smith.
St. Vrain School District
Incumbent Dorinda Van Lone, 43, has been on the board for the past four years. Van Lone says she is running to ensure the completion of projects in the 2008 MLO and Bond initiative. Van Lone says the key issue is concentrating on equity in all schools in the district. She is running unopposed.
St. Vrain School District
Incumbent Rod Schmidt, 53, has four years’ experience on the school district’s board of education and served for four years on the Citizen’s Bond Review Committee. Schmidt says that budget cuts must be made due to state deficits and that this will force cuts both this year and the next year in spending. Schmidt says that every financial decision the school board makes must have the potential for long-term sustainability. Schmidt says that the district’s primary goals are raising the achievement levels of students, preparing all students in the district for post-high school education and career opportunities, as well as ensuring that the district continues to be a desirable district to work in. He is running unopposed.
Park School District
NO: Tony Paglia
YES: John Baudek
YES: Todd Jirsa
There are two seats to fill in Park School District.
Tony Paglia, 52, was appointed to Park School District’s board two months ago to take over Becky Johnson’s position and wants to continue to serve for the school district. Paglia served as administrator for 30 years. Paglia says he’s running for office because he’s retired and misses being involved with the schools. Paglia says the school district is in good shape and he doesn’t see the need for any changes in the next few years.
Incumbent Todd Jirsa, 48, is currently the president of the Board of Education and has been a Park School District Board member for six years. He was treasurer of Centennial Board of Cooperative Educational Services for two years, Park School District Accountability member for two years, Park School District Elementary accountability chairman for two years, and on the district’s finance committee for two years. Jirsa says that key issues are declining enrollment, erosion of school funding from the state and stagnating achievement scores. Jirsa brings 23 years of business experience and six years of school board experience to the race.
John Baudek, 67, says that the state’s financial situation creates obstacles for the school district and that he will be able to assist the district during these difficult times by working with administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students in the community to find viable solutions. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public administration and has served for four years as a Town of Estes Park as a trustee.
Although Paglia has 30 years of experience in Park School District, both Jirsa and Baudek see key issues that need to be addressed within the district, those being financial challenges, enrollment and poor test scores. Vote for Todd Jirsa and John Baudek for Park School District.
Thompson School District
Incumbent Dennis Breitbarth, 64, says that being on the board for four years allows him to understand the role of a school board member. He was a board member that approved many options: IB classes, Loveland Integrated Arts School and Core Knowledge. He wants to see these programs flourish. Breitbarth says he wants more effective instruction and to improve the achievement gap among students. He is the former president of United Way, board member of Larimer County Coalition Board and member of Mckee Medical Foundation Board. He is running unopposed.
Incumbent Leslie Young, 53, was appointed to fill a vacancy and is running because she believes in the educational process. Young says that the key issues are providing more learning opportunities with less funding and maintaining balanced learning opportunities for those who are college bound and those who will work in trades. Young says another issue is closing the gap between high performers and those who are struggling. Young taught on a Navajo reservation, was a School Resource Officer. She is running unopposed.
YES: Diana Greer
NO: Lori Hvizda Ward
NO: Sharon Olson
Diana Greer, 58, has 24 years of experience volunteering in Loveland schools and was president of two PTOs. Greer served eight years on the district accountability committee and a few years on Bill Reed Middle School and Thompson Valley High School accountability committees. Greer says that the district needs strong leadership from a person who isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions and make difficult choices. Greer says the key issues are funding, unacceptable graduation rates, drop-out rates, more challenge for talented students, migration of families to private schools, accountability of administrators and the promotion of family involvement.
Lori Hvizda Ward, 50, was on the Talent Development Services Advisory Council, Garfield Elementary and Bill Reed Middle School accountability committees. Ward also was a Garfield volunteer coordinator, classroom volunteer, spelling bee coach and PTO member.
Ward was two-term president on Loveland Preschool’s Board of Directors. Ward says key issues are stretching money while not cutting quality education and looking for creative ways to bring more money into the district. Ward opposes the opening of a new elementary school. She says that the building should be finished but not opened in the next year so economic growth trends can be assessed. She opposes closing any existing elementary schools.
Sharon Olson did not respond to Boulder Weekly’s request for information.
Lori Hvizda Ward is a well-rounded candidate with plenty of experience on committees and within the classroom, but Diana Greer has wide-ranging experience and addresses the key issues within the district. Vote for Diana Greer for Thompson School District E.
Leonard Sherman did not respond to Boulder Weekly’s request for information. He is running unopposed.
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