Re-2 board candidate cites school discipline as issue
NEW CASTLE, Colorado – The challenger for the only contested seat on the Garfield School District Re-2 board of education says more needs to be done to improve student discipline in the schools.
“We’ve had significant problems in Re-2 with discipline, and kids disrupting the classrooms,” said Dr. Lee Krauth of New Castle, who is vying for the District E school board seat now held by Elyse Hutchinson.
“I would like to change that, and there doesn’t seem to be the policies in place to change that,” said Krauth.
He said his concerns grew out of experiences his wife had volunteering in their first-grade son’s classroom at Elk Creek Elementary School last year.
“I feel we have great facilities and good teachers, but we need to give the teachers the tools to be able to perform their jobs without being baby-sitters,” Krauth said. “Teachers are frustrated, and we need to change that environment.”
Krauth, a neurosurgeon at Grand River Medical Center in Rifle who grew up in New Castle, declared as of last Friday’s deadline to run for the seat to which Hutchinson was appointed in June following the resignation of longtime Re-2 board member Anne Guettler.
Hutchinson, a freelance graphic designer with two children in New Castle schools, also declared as a candidate for the District E seat. She previously was president of the parent teacher association and was on the building accountability committee at Kathryn Senor Elementary School.
Hutchinson cited better communication between parents and the school district as a key issue.
“I feel it is important that parents play an active role in the education of their children, and I believe the district needs to have open and honest communication with the parents regarding everything they are doing,” Hutchinson said.
“I believe the district has set some worthy goals for the upcoming year and hope to be a part of achieving them,” she said, noting specific goals of attaining a 90 percent teacher retention rate and better community participation.
Krauth also called for a greater emphasis on academics, and creating a good learning environment is part of that.
“I’m very much in favor of sports, but I feel we should also be emphasizing academics and providing ways for high school graduates to make a living, with vocational training or secondary education. I think we’re failing in that on the academic side.”
Current Re-2 school board member Brad Moss of Rifle will go unchallenged in his re-election bid for the District A seat, as no other candidates declared for the west Rifle-area seat by the Aug. 31 deadline. However, Moss was forced to declare as a write-in candidate after he apparently missed the Friday deadline to turn in his nominating petition.
Therefore, his name will not appear on the ballot, just a blank line on which voters can enter his name. As Moss is the only declared write-in candidate, a single vote is all that would be needed for him to be re-elected, Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico said.
The Re-2 board seats now held by Jay Rickstrew, Chris Pearson and Scott Doherty are not up for election this year.
School board members are elected for four-year terms. Oct. 13 is the deadline for candidates to file Fair Campaign Practice reports on contributions and expenditures with the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Two other area school districts, Roaring Fork Re-1 and Garfield District 16 in Parachute, canceled their school board elections since there were no contested seats, Alberico said. Colorado Mountain College also canceled its board of trustees election as none of its seats were contested either.
Three special districts, the Grand River Hospital District, the Colorado River Water Conservation District and the Consolidated Metro District in Battlement Mesa, have all indicated they intend to have TABOR-related questions on this fall’s ballot, Alberico said.
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