West Grand candidate question – week 6

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Five candidates submitted their petitions to run for the November election. Of the three seats, one held by Michele DeSanti was term-limited. Travis Hoesli was up for reelection but also gave up his seat early to move to North Carolina. The third seat is held by Jeremy Bock, and he is seeking re-election. Others throwing their names into the hat are Bryan Klotz, Jess Buller, Rebecca Guthrie, and Rhonda Shearer.

Those elected will join current board members Everett “Shorty” Lemon, Jessica Smiley, Michael “Mitch” Lockhart, and Shawn Lechman.

November’s election will be a mail-in ballot, and according to Grand County Clerk and Recorder, Sara Rosene ballots will be sent out on October 11.

The Grand Gazette will be featuring each of the candidates in a weekly forum where a question is answered by each candidate. The public is encouraged to send questions to [email protected] gmail.com.

Candidates appear in the order they will appear on the ballot.

1. How would you prioritize the annual budget? Explain the reasons for a reserve and what percentage of the budget you feel should be in the reserve

2. Hypothetical Question – The district has a one-time $100,000 surplus in the budget, how would you recommend it be used?

3.What makes you the ideal school board candidate and what can your constituents consistently expect from you if elected?

Rebecca Guthrie

Rebecca Guthrie

How would you prioritize the annual budget? Explain the reasons for a reserve and what percentage of the budget you feel should be in the reserve. The board and administration, in my opinion, have done a excellent job of prioritizing the past budgets. We cannot say for sure how to prioritize as I would need to review the increase in our costs, including healthcare, emergency building maintenance, food service, etc. A balanced budget and maintaining our reserves is highest priority. Reserves are important to ensure continued daily activities if there are gaps in funding. I would like to see a 6 month reserve for WGSD.

2. Hypothetical Question – The district has a one-time $100,000 surplus in the budget, how would you recommend it be used? I would want to have staff and administration input first. There may be programs that have been underfunded or a new program development. Given the events of this week I would certainly consider a portion to safety

3. What makes you the ideal school board candidate and what can your constituents consistently expect from you if elected? My professional business experience will be positive for budgeting, personnel and communication strategies. The ever changing climate at our schools requires us to educate ourselves on the changing times. I will continue to challenge myself and approach situations with the empathy the district encourages between the students.

Jeremy Bock

Jeremy Bock

  1. How would you prioritize the annual budget? Explain the reasons for a reserve and what percentage of the budget you feel should be in the reserve.

    The Superintendent prepares the budget and the Board at that time may comment or change certain aspects of it. We have policies that help direct him when building the budget. We have to have a healthy reserve to keep operating. We use our reserves and replenish when the State sends us our funding. 50% of the budget, in my opinion, should be in reserves.

    2. Hypothetical Question – The district has a one-time $100,000 surplus in the budget, how would you recommend it be used? We can put it towards some of our capital projects to help speed them up or put it in reserves. Just because we would have a surplus doesn’t mean we have to spend it.

    3. What makes you the ideal school board candidate and what can your constituents consistently expect from you if elected? Born and raised in Kremmling and also a West Grand graduate, I know and understand the goals and expectations coming from a small town and school. As a parent of a West Grand student I strive to help provide the best learning environment for our students, and all the right tools for our teachers and staff. As a current member of the board I feel it’s important to be available for the concerns of our students, staff, and parents. I believe being trusted with your kids is one of the highest honors, and I don’t take that lightly.

Bryan Klotz

I would assist the board in prioritizing the annual budget, helping to ensure that the safety and development of our children is always our top priority. The reason for a reserve fund is to ensure our District is capable of absorbing any unforeseen operational cost as well as taking on any capital repairs or improvements. I feel a margin of 7-10 percent of the annual budget should suffice for this reserve.

I could think of a thousand things to do with a hypothetical budget surplus of $100,000. One terrific idea would be to use the money for field trips. Another suggestion would be to improve our industrial arts classrooms. While the list could go on, I feel its important to collect all the information and prioritize options to most effectively serve our kids.

I love our kids, our schools and our community. given the opportunity I would consistently serve constituents with integrity and zeal, always putting our youth first, and holding strong to our core values and traditions.

Jess Buller

Jess Buller

It looks like this is the last week of questions. Thank you to all the West Grand stakeholders who provided questions over the last couple of weeks. I am hopeful that my answers have shown my commitment to serving the greater community through representation on the West Grand Board of Education.

Prioritization for the annual budget must be in alignment with the goals and objectives of the district. Our superintendent should present to the Board each year a clear picture of where the district ended up the year prior and what implications that has for the year ahead. This should include everything from academics to facilities to staff morale to student culture, and everything in between. If budgetary decisions do not align with what is presented, board members must ask questions and seek clarification prior to voting in the affirmative. A reserve fund is necessary for unexpected expenditures that may occur down the road. Replacing a bus, HVAC breaks down beyond repair, etc. It has been my understanding that a solid reserve fund would hold about 4-6 months of operating cost for the district.

If we had a one-time surplus in the budget, I would suggest an overall upgrade to the restrooms and locker rooms at the high school – to include functional toilets and sinks and doors on the stalls.

Over the last couple of months, I have heard from a number of West Grand stakeholders who have questions about the “why” and the “what” of operations at the schools. It is disheartening to me that they don’t feel they can talk to district personnel or that they are frustrated when they are not given an answer to their question. I must admit that I have questions myself. To be fair, I am not as connected to the school as I was in my former position and I know that there are often many layers to decision making. As your representative on the WG board of education, however, I will have the opportunity to bring your concerns and your questions to the surface. As your elected official, you can expect active participation at board meetings and related activities. As a father of four children enrolled in WGSD, a business owner and an active community member I want for nothing more than a successful school district. All the work I do on your behalf as a member of the WGSD school board will be to reach that measure.

Rhonda Shearer

Rhonda Shearer

The first thing that you need to make sure is that you have a balanced budget. I would rather see a budget that is conservative and saves money. Any expenditures that benefit the youth and allow us to retain quality teachers are my priorities.
The reserve is meant to cover the expenses of the school district should it not get any revenues for a specific period of time. While I do no know what the requirement is for amount in reserves, I would like to see more than that amount.

If the school were to get a windfall amount of money, I would like to see the bleachers replaced at the football field. They are unsafe with the bottom of them being open. I do not know what other items are on the list of needs the school has, but any safety items would be a priority.

I feel that I am an ideal candidate because I have a vested interest in the district. I will always do what I feel is in the best interests of the youth in the district, which is what it should be about.

**Candidates appear in order of how they will appear on the ballot **

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