City or town of residence: Highlands Ranch
Occupation: Financial specialist
Campaign website/contact information: Franceen.us, firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are you seeking this office?
I felt compelled to seek this office after my daughter’s friend, Kendrick, was murdered at STEM School Highlands Ranch. I want to do everything I can to make sure what happened at STEM never happens here again, and that our children receive a solid education that prepares them for life.
What makes you the best person for the job?
As a conservative, I’m better able to give voice to the majority of Douglas County taxpayers whose conservative views I share and whose values are not currently represented on the board. I also served as chair of the District Accountability Committee and was a member of the Fiscal Oversight Committee.
What can be done to enhance security at district schools?
Our children’s safety is of the highest importance, and we owe it to them to consider all options. I would expect the board to hear from experts of diverse backgrounds and perspectives before adopting a well-informed security plan. We know what’s been done so far failed, and a security plan based on politics is a threat to our children and a disservice to our community. At a minimum, we should look at making classrooms more easily locked-down in a crisis, making SROs more effective and proactive, and controlling and limiting points of access. I’ll consider all options.
What can be done to better address the mental health needs of district students?
Mental health starts and ends at home, and we must support our parents in providing a healthy home for their children. Teachers and schools can help by informing parents if they notice any behavior in the students the parents might not be aware of, and perhaps the district can offer additional resources and training for parents learning how to manage the mental health needs of their kids. If there are appropriate things the district can do, we should consider them. But we must always be conscientious of the fact that it’s the parents’ job to raise kids, not the district’s.
How has the proliferation of charter schools impacted the district?
Autonomous charter schools represent additional choices for parents, and more parental choice in education is a good thing. After my children attended neighborhood elementary schools, they graduated from STEM School Highlands Ranch, a charter school with excellent teachers. Other parents have found the classical approach of Ascent Classical Academy to be a good fit. And many others find neighborhood schools to be a great choice. One size doesn’t fit all, and students, parents, the district, and the community are better served when parents are able to find the right fit for their children, and charter schools offer parents additional options.
What is your assessment of Thomas Tucker’s job performance since becoming superintendent last year?
Superintendent Tucker has done a good job implementing the board’s agenda, but the board hasn’t always done a good job listening to the conservative parents and taxpayers who make up most of Douglas County voters. I believe Superintendent Tucker, the board of education, and the entire community would benefit from a board whose members more accurately reflect the values of the community they serve.
Would you be in favor of the reinstatement of a collective bargaining agreement between the district and the teachers’ union?
No. While I absolutely want to treat teachers well, a collective bargaining agreement either creates an unhealthy adversarial relationship between union members and the taxpayers or creates a perverted relationship of self-dealing between the union and school board members who should be representing all taxpayers and interests of the community.
What issue or issues must the school board make a bigger priority next year than it has in recent years?
Security and essential curriculum — especially the basics such as reading, writing, arithmetic and history. Public education should not instruct children on what to think but give them the tools and background to think for themselves and be successful in life. We need to rededicate ourselves to that.
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