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ELECTION PREVIEW: State education board, CU regents

October 13, 2010

Two candidates are running for the State Board of Education District 5 seat in Colorado Springs, and three candidates are vying for a single at-large position on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

The state board members are elected from Congressional districts on a partisan basis for six-year terms. The board appoints the Commissioner of Education, approves the state education budget, creates policies and regulations regarding public pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade education and supervises adult basic education and public libraries.

There is a vacancy In Congressional District 5 because Peggy Littleton resigned to run for El Paso County commissioner.

Board of Education candidates are Karl Beck, 46, a Colorado Springs Democrat who is studying to be a teacher, and Paul Lundeen, 51, a Monument Republican and investment advisor.
Beck said top issues are a too-short school year, poor U.S. performance in science and math education, the high school drop-out rate and peer bullying.

He’d like to see high schools start later in the day to take into account teen learning and sleep patterns. He also wants less teaching to the test and more opportunity for teachers to be creative, and opportunities for more music, arts and electives in the classroom.

Lundeen said the old model of education is “not serving us well.” He’d like to see more innovation so the U.S. can regain the top spot. The charter movement is significant, but only one small piece of what is needed to create a 21st century education system, he said.

He noted that competition has made U.S. businesses the envy of the world, and bringing those practices into education would increase quality. He called for putting aside special interests and outdated institutional barriers to get more focus on student achievement.

The election for an at-large seat on the CU Board of Regents is statewide. The board oversees the $2.7 billion system, setting a vision for the campuses, and is responsible for finances, hiring a president and keeping administrations accountable.

Steven Bosley, 68, a Broomfield Republican, has been on the board since 2004 and has served two terms as chairman.

The financial crisis at CU makes experience and good decisions critical to the future quality of the universities, Bosley said in an e-mail.

“I am currently the board member with the most extensive strategic business, finance and leadership background. ... This is not a time for politics; it is a time for clear thinking and financial competence.”

Bosley said he is committed to never balancing the budget on the backs of students and taxpayers, but will instead advocates strategic cuts, probing programs for redundancy and capitalizing on income sources, such as outside research funding and private support.

He said he wants to see continued community support for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and noted the positive impact UCCS graduates have on the community.

“Providing opportunities for more students to attend UCCS is key to the future prosperity or the region and our state,” he said.

Melissa Hart, Democrat, is a University of Colorado Law School professor. Hart, 41, lives in Denver and teaches in Boulder.

She said the perspective of someone in the classroom would contribute to wiser decisions.

“CU needs to be looking at how is can be serving communities all over Colorado,” she said.

Tuition is a key concern, and Hart said more creativity is needed to address the issue rather than ongoing tuition increases. She also said that she wants to see the faculty, staff, administration and students have a voice on the Board of Regents.

Hart said more could be done to emphasize the “amazing” things at UCCS, especially the programs that are bringing together the university and community colleges.

The regents must work to keep a great education affordable and accessible, she said.
Jesse Wallace, a Denver Libertarian, graduated from University of Colorado at Denver about five years ago. Wallace, 29, runs Notion3, an advertising and web marketing company.

He said friends encouraged him to run, and he is seeking to make positive change, not a political career. Wallace said he has not accepted campaign donations and isn’t spending money on advertising.

His grassroots campaign depends on attending events and talking to people.

The most important issue facing the board is the fiscal health of the system, he said. “More money doesn’t mean a better education,” he said. Wallace said simple things including vendor contracts and benefit packages should be reviewed for possible savings.

Wallace said he would like to see the system offer more classes to the community, and an extension of the law school to another campus to better serve students. If elected, he would push textbook publishers to shift to an electronic platform so students can cut costs.

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