Steamboat Springs South Routt School District voters have a choice between the old and the new on Election Day.
Longtime South Routt School Board member Linda Long is being challenged by Jules Palyo. Long has served on the board since 1994. If elected, this would be Long's fourth term. She is currently the board's secretary.
Palyo said he felt compelled to run for the board as part of his volunteer efforts.
"My wife and I both do a lot for the schools. We try to do our part to volunteer," he said. "I just want to do my part."
Palyo and his wife, Wendy, have lived in South Routt since 2000, when they purchased Backcountry Outfitters, a business they recently sold. The Palyos opened Flat Tops Ranch Supply in Phippsburg on Oct. 1.
The Palyos have three children attending school in the South Routt School District - Tristan, in eighth grade; Ian, in sixth grade; and Morgan, in third grade.
Palyo said one of his biggest concerns is focusing on elementary curriculum to create a "better flow of process."
"I've got a strong opinion on the district having a curriculum, particularly our elementary school," he said. "There's a structure in place, but it doesn't flow from year to year."
If elected, Palyo said he also would work with the board on ongoing budget issues.
"The budget's tough every year," he said. "I'd like to get more creative with that process."
Long said she has always faced an opponent for her district seat and that she's OK with whoever wins the election.
"It's up to the people," she said. "There are bigger issues that we need to be concerned about, whoever the winner is."
Long said those issues include the 3A and 3B ballot questions, which, if passed, would provide money for a new school heating system and funds for general operating costs. Long also thinks the South Routt Early Learning Center is an important project for the district and its communities.
Long said her experience is a valuable asset for the district.
"We have a young, dedicated board that, as a senior board member, I feel I can offer the leadership needed to get us through what's on our plate," she said. "My passion is still the youth and the families in this valley. We have to provide them the best education we can. How satisfying is that?"
Palyo said he wasn't running against Long for any other reason than he wanted to serve on the board.
"Unfortunately she's in my district and I want to have a seat on the board," he said. "It's a bummer because she's very hard-working. It comes down to that."
Superintendent Kelly Reed said the district would benefit from either candidate serving on the board.
School Board President Tim Corrigan agreed, saying he was glad to see a contested race. "I'm happy to see a contested election because it shows some interest," he said. "It helps get the issues out there and people arguing about them."