Many of you already have received your ballots for this fall’s election. Some of you already may have submitted your mail in ballot.
For those of you who have not, I would suggest that the school board election is by far the most important local decision you will make when you cast your ballots this fall.
The good news is that Steamboat has been recognized as one of the best school districts in the state of Colorado. This brings a great challenge. While many Colorado districts aspire to becoming accredited with distinction, we already have arrived at the starting line of excellence and our journey to national recognition is now just beginning.
The bad news is that Colorado is not in the top tier in the U.S., and the U.S. is not in the top tier worldwide.
Our top challenge is defining a new standard that goes beyond Colorado that engages our community, our school district and our school board to set meaningful attainable goals to become competitive on a national and international stage.
My previous career allowed me to travel globally, work with corporations, business leaders, as well as hire people who were products of their countries education system. It is essential for leaders of today’s schools to have a global view of the competitive landscape our students will be entering. My background and experience give me a unique perspective that will be essential if we are to accept the challenge of becoming a world class school district.
In attending school board meetings, as well as my role on the education fund board, there are two topics I would like to address.
Any discussion surrounding challenges throughout the next few years must include school finance. Historically, Steamboat voters have been generous to our school system when presented with a well-reasoned need.
Much discussion today surrounds Amendment 66, and while I oppose this because of the financial impact to local taxpayers, a more forward-looking view of education funding specifically for Steamboat Springs should be considered.
Currently, our schools continue to see an increase in enrollment year over year. Assuming this trend continues, we may very well be faced with the need to expand school facilities. If our schools need additional funding, this should be a public process with the residents of Steamboat Springs brought to voters on a local basis rather than in through a statewide discussion. As a school board member, I will strongly advocate for local control.
One of the most passionate discussions in recent months is the controversy surrounding Common Core, a new national standard. One area that can be addressed locally is academic standards.
Our school district will tell us that our standards currently are much higher than what is required by Common Core — let’s remember that we are accredited with distinction. That puts us in a different position from many districts in Colorado.
As a member of the school board, I would bring my global experience to begin a discussion that establishes a local standard of educational excellence that we could define as “World Core.” Our community is uniquely positioned to call on well-traveled community members to define a set of standards that meet the national and global challenges.
Thanks for your vote.