Constituent Question

Jon Kanas sent this email query.

I have a question for each candidate for which I have not heard a response to date.  I would appreciate your assessment of my concerns and  response to my question at your convenience:

  • I believe that the recent confrontations between the school district and the newly "empowered" communities in Weld County represent a significant drain of scarce school district time and resources.  The two most recent squabbles concern development fees and establishing a charter school.  The demographics and interests of these communities in Weld County differ significantly enough from the rest of the district that these types of "local control" squabbles will persist for the indefinite future.  I would prefer that the resources currently addressing these squabbles be redirected to address the complexities (distribution of debt, allocation of assets) and propose the process for the establishment of a new school district for the Weld County communities.
  • As a parent of two public school students, and a resident of Longmont,  what is your position on splitting the St. Vrain Valley School district into two distinct and autonomous districts.

Here was my response to Mr. Kanas.

As I am learning more about the issue of splitting up school districts, there seems to be both a philosophical and a practical answer to your questions.  Let me start with the philosophical:
I believe that the communities that make up the St. Vrain Valley School district would be better served by smaller school districts.  For me, this is not a reflection of poor relations between communities.  Even under the best of circumstances, it is very difficult for 7 school board members and a handful of administrators to understand the needs and interests of 45+ schools and eight municipalities.  This will become more of a challenge as the area grows.  The economic efficiencies we gain by being one district may be offset by what we lose in terms of civic representation and how responsive we can be to the specific needs of various schools and communities.
From a practical standpoint, what I am learning is that it is extremely difficult to break up a school district.  When Broomfield community leaders chose to form their own county, they did not attempt the same with a school district.  I need to learn more to understand all that is involved.  Meantime, I believe we need to take a good hard look at what is the best management structure for a district this size.  I think we can develop a better approach than we have now.
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