School board petition begins

No challengers yet for seats in Hayden, South Routt

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— In recent years, races for Hayden and South Routt school boards have seen little competition.

In the first week of the petition period, which began Wednesday, it appears the upcoming Nov. 3 election may be no different. Four seats are up for grabs on each board. Thus far, only incumbents have expressed interest in holding on to their positions.

In Hayden, open seats include those occupied by Board President Brian Hoza, Kurt Frentress, Patty Bruchez and Vance Fulton. In South Routt, the seats of John McCollum, Gena Hange, Willie Smith and Joel Harris will be up for election.

State law requires that any interested candidate must be a resident of the district he or she will vie to represent for 12 consecutive months before the election. A candidate must have a nomination petition signed by at least 25 registered voters living within the boundaries of the school district, and only one person is allowed to circulate a petition.

Petitions can be picked up from each district's election official - Jnl Linsacum in Hayden and Lori Lombardi in South Routt - in their respective administration building. Petitions are due back to Linsacum and Lombardi by 4 p.m. Aug. 28.

In Hayden, Frentress and Fulton confirmed they will run.

"I just want to keep concentrating on things that are important to our School District, student achievement, finances," said Frentress, a fourth-generation Hayden rancher. "I'm just real comfortable with our board. We get along well and trust each other. It's a good board."

Fulton is an engineering technician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Steamboat Springs.

"One of the priorities for me is the (Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center) as far as getting that paid off," he said. "Trying to continue getting quality teachers with declining enrollment, that kind of seems to be a problem this year and in the past. Quality education with a limited budget, that's always a challenge."

Hoza said he likely would seek re-election but that he still is contemplating his decision.

"I certainly am highly committed to the work we're doing," said Hoza, dean of student affairs at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus. "Hayden is a fantastic community and an awesome school district. Anything I can do to support that matters to me. It's a huge responsibility. It's an important role."

Bruchez declined to say whether she would run. Linsacum said Friday afternoon that no candidate had picked up a petition.

Hoza, who represents District E, and Bruchez, who represents District A, each have served on the board since 2001. Vice President Frentress represents District C and has been a board member since 1995. Fulton represents District B and was appointed to the board in 2007.

Running for the Rams

In South Routt, Hange, Smith and Harris confirmed they will run and have picked up their petitions, Lombardi said Friday.

"I deeply care about the South Routt School District," said Hange, who works for Northwest Graphics in Steamboat. "We've seen a lot of good things the last four years. I would like to continue to see more things happen. Budgetary things are the biggest. Making it not only through this year but next, with the economy the way it is."

Smith is a drywall contractor in Phippsburg.

"It's been a good few years. We've made a lot of changes with the district," he said, citing the new superintendent and administration, and development of the South Routt Early Learning Center. "I just want to continue that, keeping things where they are."

Harris is the owner of Rocky Mountain Pet Resort in Yampa.

"In the short time I've been on the School Board, we've gotten a lot done," he said, citing the district's new biomass and geothermal heating system and the early learning center. We've made great strides in advancement of student achievement. That's been (Superintendent Scott) Mader's and this board's pet project. I want to continue that. It's been really rewarding and quite an education for us all."

McCollum was out of town and couldn't be reached for comment.

Treasurer Hange, who represents District 2, and Smith, who represents District 3, were elected to the board in 2005. Harris was appointed to represent District 5 in April 2007 and was elected later that year to retain the seat. McCollum was appointed to represent District 1 in May 2008.

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