• October 19th, 2013

    Does Adams 12 continue down the path of improved student achievement and increased district accountability or does it revert to the old ways when unions controlled and restricted education?  Does Adams 12 continue down the path of improved student achievement and increased district accountability or does it revert to the old ways when unions controlled and restricted education?

    School board elections are oftentimes ignored by voters because, let’s face it, they are usually pretty boring.  However, in 2013 the Adams 12 Five Star Schools races are anything but as they pit parents seeking much-needed reforms in the district against the powerful teachers union wanting to keep the status quo.

    Times have been tough for public school districts as they, like everyone in the United States, has had to do more with less.  A stagnant economy is hurting everyone and tough choices have had to be made by Adams 12 just like all of us of had to do.

    After years of being simply an arm of the teachers union, the Board of Education rightfully sought a break toward independence in recent years.  The new, stronger, board is restoring accountability and responsibility to one of the largest school districts in the state.

    That of course has not been entirely well received.

    Last year we saw the District Twelve Educators’ Association (DTEA) attempt to flex its muscles when the board asked the union to share in the pain.  DTEA responded with bully tactics turning BoE meetings into a circus.

    The fact of the matter is that after years of poor stewardship, the current BoE has helped Adams 12 turn the corner.  Parents should be heartened that we now have the governance needed to ensure the children in our schools come first, not the unions.

    I offer the following rundown of the candidates in each race:

    School Director District No. 3

    David Elliott – Honestly it is tough to find out much about Elliott as he has no website or Facebook page.  I have to dismiss him due to lack of information.  District 12 Questionnaire

    Debbie Christensen – The only educator of all the candidates, Christensen brings a strong resume to the table.  Her biography indicates she will continue to push Adams 12 toward greater accountability to the real stakeholder – the parents.  Fiscal responsibility will be a keystone for Christensen while ensuring teachers and staff are empowered to do their jobs.  She was the only candidate to provide very concrete specifics as to what her vision is, one which should ring with Adams 12 parents.  Website | District 12 Questionnaire 

    Joshua Bastian – Partnering with the community and ensuring buy in with all involved are important to Bastian.  He believes management of finances and staff are crucial and as the husband of a teacher he has direct knowledge of what goes on in the classroom. Website | District 12 Questionnaire 

    Kathy Plomer – A longtime volunteer within the district, Plomer says she will, “Listen to and serve Adams 12 stakeholders.”  Beyond that, she is pretty short on specifics, preferring to speak in generalities.  What we do know however is that the union wants her elected in the worst way as the DTEA’s PAC dropped tens of thousands of dollars into Plomer’s campaign coffers.  Website | District 12 Questionnaire 

    Conclusion

    This race, in my mind, really comes down to Christensen and Bastian but I have to go with Christensen and ask other Adams 12 residents to do the same.  The stakes are high in this election and we need to coalesce around the candidate that has the background and the vision we need.  Quite simply that is clearly Christensen.  While the money the union has given her is impressive, Plomer would return the unions to their position at the top of the food chain – above parents, above students, above teachers, above education.  That cannot be allowed to happen.  Vote for Debbie Christensen

    School Director District No. 4

    Rico Figueroa – Appointed to the school board when Heidi Williams departed to become Thornton mayor, Figueroa has served well for the past year and a half.  He clearly understands that education is a partnership and speaks extensively to bringing together the administration, teachers, staff, parents, and students.  His message of working with rather than dividing should ring with voters. Website | District 12 Questionnaire 

    Amy M. Speers – Speers’ questionnaire on the district website provides so little worthwhile content, it is virtually impossible to know what she stands for.  Bizarrely she says she wants to, “bring back the accountability that the district once had.”  The problem is, there wasn’t any accountability or responsibility in the district up until new governance was put in office in recent years.  Why would parents want to go back?  Speers is the union backed choice backed by their big dollar corrupting influence.  Website | District 12 Questionnaire 

    Conclusion – His work unfinished, Figueroa should get the nod from voters in Adams 12.  During his tenure on the board he has shown he has the temperament and knowledge to make the tough choices while being beholden to no one.  Following her marching orders from the teachers union, Speers would turn back the clock and put the district on the wrong path.  No thank you. Vote for Rico Figueroa.

    Closing thought – The corrupting influence of money

    The money DTEA has spent on this election is nothing short of disturbing and I am highly troubled by it.  In fact, all residents within Adams 12’s boundaries should be.  Here we clearly see the undue influence labor unions seek to garner, most troubling at the expense of the education of children.  Another ‘rant’ is coming very soon on this topic so please check back.

    http://www.tonysrants.com/thornton/adams-12-five-star-schools-board-races-pit-reform-against-unions-and-their-big-bucks/

    Posted by Dana West @ 1:42 pm for Adams County Politics, Education, Elections |

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