With the dust finally settling on years of upheaval in Falcon School District 49, the six candidates competing for three available school board seats say they want stability, civility and unity moving forward.
"Over the past few years, our children have gone through a number of challenges due to overturning staff, changes in curriculum and the overall instability of the school district. As a community of parents, teachers and business leaders, we need to have a unified vision for our school district and fair reporting of our taxpayer investment," said candidate Chris Bombria, director of program management for Combat Training Solutions.
A lack of trust between the community and the D-49 school board still remains, believes candidate Kevin Butcher, who owns a commercial real estate company. He cites that as "the core challenge preventing the district from greatness," and said he wants to help restore that trust, "effectively engage the community in the education system" and "bring stability to the board of directors through effective governance."
Since 2011, the D-49 board has made massive changes, reducing central administration, reorganizing the entire district into innovation zones and hiring new leadership. Board members became known for having heated meetings, capped with instances of losing a quorum from members walking out, along with a restraining order and a recall attempt.
The going has been smoother over the past 16 months, said Tammy Harold, one of two board members who want to retain their positions on the five-member board.
Since June 2012, the last time a board member who quit was replaced, Harold said, "We've been able to communicate better with each other and realize the ultimate goal of a school board is to be there for the best interests of the students," she said. "There's no controversy right now."
At this point, Harold believes the board should take on more of a governance role.
"We need to not be involved in the day-to-day activities and let the three chiefs we have now run those operations," she said.
School overcrowding is her main concern.
"We're the second-fastest growing district in the state. This year, all but two of our schools have more students than the capacity they were built for. So every school in our district has modulars," Harold said.
Voters in 2011 rejected two tax measures to build new schools and expand existing buildings.
Henry Allen Jr., who was appointed to the board in June 2012 and who is running for re-election, said he wants to money allocated "to relieve the burden of parents paying additional fees, transportation and athletic equipment" and also favors teachers getting raises.
John Graham, who applied for the open seat Allen filled last year, has put his hat in the ring again. Graham, who has 28 years of experience working for the U.S. Marine Corps and Department of Defense, said he would like to see the board perform in a "transparent, inclusive and civil manner."
He cites empowering teachers, paying competitive wages, focusing on goals and policies, and encouraging involvement from stakeholders as areas needing attention.
The Rev. David Moore, pastor of Gospel of Grace Church International and a retired United States Postal Service supervisor, said if he is elected, his first priority will be "improving the education and job-readiness of our children."
He also wants to petition the state about "unequal funding."
"We are the 14th largest district in Colorado and are 177th out of 178 districts in receiving funding," he said. "Even now, we are at or exceeding capacity, and there has been no adequate funding from the state to address it. Equal funding is a necessity."
Henry Allen Jr.
Experience: D-49 board member since June 2012; has 24 years of military and 14 years of law enforcement experience
Occupation: Director of program management for Combat Training Solutions, a division of Cyalume Technologies
Education: Degrees in electrical engineering from the University of New Haven and management from the University of Phoenix
Endorsements: The Falcon Republicans, Falcon Teachers Education Association
Experience: 25-years in business and international expert in project management and organizational leadership; involved with the Falcon Middle School school accountability committee and the D-49 district accountability advisory committee; a Land Sharks coach, Watch Dogs volunteer and guest science teacher; El Paso County Sheriff’s Office wildland firefighter.
E-mail: email@example.com; https: /www.facebook.com/ChrisBombriaD49
Occupation: Commercial Rreal Eestate
Education: BS Landscape Architecture, Purdue University
Endorsements: Mark Waller, Colorado State Representative Pikes Peak Association of Realtors Home Builders Association
Experience: Served of Colorado Springs Planning Commission for two terms. Founding member, past Ppresident and current member of the Falcon Education Foundation. Recently appointed by the Falcon School Board to the Capital Planning Committee.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://www.facebook.comKevinButcherD49
Occupation: Executive Officer
Education: Associate’s degree in engineering science; bachelor’s in general studies; master of science in management, U.S. Marine Corps
Endorsements: Falcon Teachers Education Association
Experience: Parent of five children, that attend or have attended D-49 schools and have followed many local issues; 28 years leadership, operations management, facilitation and instructional experience in the U.S. Marine Corps and Department of Defense; experience building successful teams that work well together to accomplish our mission
E-mail: email@example.com; http: /johngraham3.com
Occupation: Small Bookkeeping Business Owner
Education: Rampart High School, 1985; bachelor’s in human resources, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, 1989; continuing education classes in accounting
Endorsements: Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, Falcon Teachers Education Association, Pikes Peak Association of Realtors
Experience: Served as secretary for two years and president for two years on Falcon School Board; PTA for 13 years, president for three years and treasurer for two years at Stetson Elementary, member of the building accountability advisory committee at Stetson Elementary, Skyview Middle School and Vista Ridge High School; member of the district accountability advisory committee, member of D-49 school of choice, media policy, character education, charter school review, boundary, finance, Stetson wellness and Vista Ridge planning committees; serve on Falcon Community Builders for Classroom board
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; http: /www.tammyharold.org
The Rev. David Moore
Occupation: Pastor; retired U.S. Postal Service supervisor
Education: High school graduate; military three years
Endorsements: Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, Andres Pico, City Councilman
Experience: U.S. Postal Service supervisor for 22 years; working with AFL-CIO-APWU, National Association of Letter Carriers
E-mail: email@example.com; http:/www.davidhmoore.net