Candidates emerge in Re-2 school board race
Garfield Re-2 won’t have to worry about filling the three board of directors seats up for election this fall; in fact, there will likely be a race to watch.
Four candidates filed petitions before the 1 p.m. deadline Friday in Garfield Re-2; guaranteeing a candidate in each of the three districts and setting up a race in District D, which includes Silt and areas of unincorporated Garfield County to the south and to the east.
Tara Rumery and Meriya Stickler both filed for the Re-2 District D seat, currently held by Scott Doherty. Stickler could not be reached for comment.
Doherty and Chris Pearson, board president and director of District C, are both at the end of their two-term term limit, while Patrick Burwell, director of District B, decided not to run for a second term due to what he referred to as too many commitments.
Jay Rickstrew, who is running for the district encompassing the east Rifle and the unincorporated area between Rifle and Silt currently represented by Burwell, knows the level of commitment that comes with a seat on the board. He previously served in the same position from 2003 to 2011 — a stint that included six years as board president.
For newcomers, there is a steep learning curve when joining the board. Rickstrew, the only candidate running in District B, said it took nearly two years just to gain a full grasp of the district’s finances.
Likely newcomers include Jacquelyn Johnson, a mother of three who works part time for the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. Johnson is running unopposed for District C, which includes south Rifle. As a parent with three children in Re-2, she felt compelled to make an investment in the district.
“I feel like I have the time for it, and if I have spare time I want to use it wisely,” she said, “and I think investing in the district and education … is a wise use of time.”
The same goes for Rumery, a Silt resident who — like Johnson — went through Re-2 as a student growing up. Her son starts kindergarten in 2016.
“I’ve seen lots of changes and would like to help make sure that the school board takes the district in the right direction,” she said.
Rumery and Johnson admit they have a lot to learn, but said they are ready and eager to take on the task.
The new board will have some tall tasks to fulfill. In addition to routine obligations, the new board likely will play an important role in selecting the district’s next superintendent.
Dave Lindenberg, former assistant superintendent, is currently serving in an interim capacity while the board evaluates its policies and procedures for such searches. When he was named to the interim position, following a separation agreement with former superintendent Susan Birdsey, the board stated Lindenberg would serve as interim for a minimum of two months. Rickstrew, who was part of two superintendent searches during his previous time on the board, said he expects the search to take some time.
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The city of Rifle plans to allocate grant funding for improvements to Railroad Avenue and Third Street.