1. Is the district in need of greater funding for capital projects, maintenance or other expenditures, and if so, what would be your preferred means to acquire those funds?
In Colorado our schools’ capital needs and large maintenance projects are funded by both annual transfers from the general fund and bonds which require us to ask voters for their permission to spend funds. The annual transfers from the general fund usually cover only small maintenance projects. Thompson voters approved a bond in 2018 and those projects are scheduled to be completed in 2023, so to fund any new schools or large remodel projects additional funds would be needed. There are areas of the district that are growing, Berthoud for example is experiencing rapid growth and that means more students. Do we add on to schools in order to create more room or do we need new buildings? Either way, in Colorado these major projects are funded from bond funds and I would support asking for bond funds. I also support looking at specific maintenance bonds. As an electrician that works on big projects, I know surprises can happen like boilers breaking. We need to be financially responsible and be prepared.
2. How can the district attract and retain quality teachers?
Listening to our teachers is always a good start, what are they asking for? I believe we need to provide fair wages for our teachers. I would like to see our teachers pay rates comparable to surrounding districts. Pay is not the only incentive to attract and retain quality staff. We must provide solid leadership for our teachers. Continuing to provide professional development is always a plus. It has also been brought to my attention that student discipline has been a factor in not retaining teachers, so we need to make sure our students are behaving in every class. Another area we need to address is filling the hard to fill roles in our district such as bus drivers, special education teachers and paraprofessionals. These people among many others play a crucial role in supporting our general education teachers and we must provide the staff and policies our teachers need to feel supported in all ways.
3. If elected, what is an example of a specific policy that you would support to improve the lives of students, faculty, staff or families?
My focus is and always will be on our students’ quality of education and the opportunities we provide for them and their academic success.
An example of a policy that I support is Section E : Support Services, but specifically under the safety aspect of the policy. Safety and security is a topic that we always have to put at the forefront. We must strive to have our kids feel safe and secure as well as our teachers and staff. I want parents and guardians to feel comfortable that their kiddos are safe in our schools. Safety and security are areas that Thompson School District has recently grown in. I see the district’s focus and I know that they are working on good things. I will make it a priority to ensure our facilities are safe, our policies are robust, and we have great training in place, so everyone is and feels safe.
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