Finances will be a major issue for the five candidates running for the Bayfield School Board.
Four of the candidates are running for three four-year terms, and one candidate is running uncontested for one two-year term. All board members are elected at-large.
The election comes as education is experiencing deep funding cuts. More cuts in state funding are likely next year, and this year, the district has about 30 students fewer than it budgeted for, which means it will receive $150,000 to $200,000 less than expected in per-pupil revenue. The board also will be tasked with creating the districts next strategic plan, which will provide an overarching direction for Bayfields schools for the next three to five years.
Name: Levi Mead
Occupation: Part-owner of Horizon Environmental Services Inc., an environmental compliance business.
Mead graduated from Bayfield High School in 2000 and now has two children in the district. He has spent time volunteering in the schools and coaches youth football, where he receives a lot of feedback from parents. Running a small business gives him a good financial background and experience in fiscal responsibility, he said. The district needs to focus on keeping kids in school and can improve its communication with parents, whether through the Internet or bulletin board, he said. There also needs to be more transparency and accountability within the district, he said.
The shaky financial situation of the schools would be a focus of his work, he said. If cuts do need to be made, Mead suggested looking for parent funding and business scholarships to help fund athletics and extracurricular activities.
Technical classes that teach students a certain trade should be expanded at the schools so students have more options after graduation, he said.
As the district begins work on the strategic plan, one focus should be making smart investments and creating budgets that can adapt to changing financial times, Mead said.
Name: Timothy Stumpf
Occupation: Network administrator with the Southern Ute Indian Growth Fund
Stumpf has three children in Bayfields schools and has spent time volunteering at the schools. The boards biggest challenge will be to give its students a proper education while dealing with expected shortfalls in finances, he said.
The school district and the board could do a better job figuring out how to communicate and solicit involvement from the community, Stumpf said. People should be encouraged to attend community meetings and board meetings, for example, he said.
In the realm of technology, the district should focus on teaching students how to effectively communicate using computers and especially social media, he said. Students also need more training in using online sources, he said. The district could use more classes that focus on a specific trade or skill, he said.
The board is the main link between the community and the school district, and the board needs to know what residents and nearby businesses have to say, he said.
Name: Janie Hoover
Occupation: Owner of Bayfield Insurance
Hoover has three children in the districts schools and one who graduated from Bayfield High School this year. She volunteers once a week in the schools.
The district needs to communicate better and make parents feel more welcome to participate in their childrens education, Hoover said. Transparency is another area of improvement, she said.
While the school board should let teachers and administrators do the work of running the district, the board has a role in holding them accountable, she said. She acknowledged she will have a lot to learn as a board member.
Bayfields strategic plan should emphasize training for teachers and should align the policies of every school in the district, Hoover said.
As the district faces more cuts to its funding, Hoover suggested it focus on rearranging dollars to make permanent repairs to infrastructure rather than short-term patch jobs.
The district can better prepare students for life beyond high school by making technology a bigger part of students education, she said.
Name: Mike Derrickson
Occupation: Owner of Derrico Computers, a computer consulting company
Derrickson has one child in the district and one who graduated from Bayfield High School. He was appointed to the Bayfield School Board in 2010 to finish the term of a departing member. Derrickson said he makes his decisions based on what is good for policy, what is fiscally responsible and what is good for the kids. The districts infrastructure needs to be updated but not at the expense of letting the budget get out of line, he said. He would like to add more vocational classes.
Kids are coming out of school learning to read and write and do algebraic equations, but are they coming out of there with the skills to go to work? Because not every kid wants to go to college, Derrickson said.
The boards responsibility is policy-making, Derrickson said. Parents or students need to try to solve problems at the level where they start before the board should address them, he said. When it comes to curriculum choices, the board may discuss and help direct the process but should not make those decisions directly, he said.
Name: Don Mooney
Occupation: Project manager with Axis Health Systems
Mooney has two children in Bayfields schools and is a longtime member of the district accountability committee. Mooney said he would support asking the community for a tax increase or, if necessary, charging fees for extracurricular activities to help make up some of the districts budget shortfall rather than making more cuts.
Were pretty much down to the bones, he said.
He would like to see facilities improvements become a part of the districts strategic plan but emphasized that the plan should reflect the communitys desires for the district.
He has mixed feelings about Senate Bill 191, the educator-effectiveness law that will be implemented in schools by 2014. He struggles with the idea that half of teachers evaluation is based on student achievement because some factors are beyond teacher control, he said. On the other hand, tenure is an outdated mode and needs to go away, he said.
Testing should be evaluated as to the cost and benefit of the district. Is more data really going to help us? he asked.