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Ignacio School District, La Plata County, Colorado

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Restore the Balance (RTB) - La Plata Branch embarked on its first effort at non-partisan voter

education and enhanced participation by distributing a candidate questionnaire to the

candidates for the Bayfield and Ignacio school boards.  The election was cancelled for Durango 9R as there were no contested positions.   


Our democracy depends on informed voter participation and candidate willingness to share their positions on relevant issues.  The ultimate goal of this initiative is to encourage citizens to cast informed votes in upcoming elections by providing candidate responses to issues. 


RTB – La Plata Steering Committee, composed of 12 community leaders, convened a six-

member subcommittee including Steering Committee members, experienced educators and a

long-time voter education advocate.  This team developed a survey relative to support for public education, the role of school board members and agreement with the RTB guiding principles. We distributed the questionnaires to all school board candidates from Ignacio and Bayfield. 


The responding Ignacio School Board candidates, Ross Melton and Gina Schulz, in our

opinion, offered strong responses on the importance of public education, their role as board

members, and support for the Restore the Balance principles.  We thank these two respondents for their time and consideration of these important questions.  These two candidates received the full 100-point scoring upon evaluation.  

RTB will publicize the candidate’s full responses and our evaluation on our website https://www.restorethebalance.org/


We believe there is a reluctance to answer non-partisan questionnaires and that is influenced in part by the state of national political dialogue where extremism and a lack of civility is on full

display. The nonpartisan League of Women Voters La Plata County received a similarly small

number of responses to their survey of school board candidates; those results will be published on VOTE411.org effective October 9.


Looking ahead, RTB - La Plata will work to improve the participation and willingness of

candidates and elected officials to share their positions on relevant issues with the voters. 

We look forward to a broader candidate evaluation process during the 2024 primary and general elections, and possibly in the spring city council elections. This experience demonstrates the critical importance of informed voter engagement in our democratic process and the support across party lines of RTB Guiding Principles.



Ignacio School Board Candidate Survey Results 2023

RTB LP - 23 School Board Rubric
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Download • 19KB



GINA SCHULZ, Candidate Ignacio School Board

Restore the Balance School Board Questionnaire


Instructions: Thank you for responding to our questionnaire, we appreciate your time. Please

respond to the questions below in a few sentences, or about 150 words or less.


Goal 1: Measure support for public education


1. What are your thoughts on the importance of public education?

Education is the great equalizer and therefor it is vital that all children have access to quality free education regardless of socio-economic resources, location or demographic profile. It is vital that students in rural locales have access to similar resources as students located in more populated areas.


2. Why you are interested in serving on the school board?

I wish to serve the students, families and the constituents of my District to the best of my ability with integrity and accountability balancing the needs of all to bring the necessary educational resources to engage, empower and equip students, family and staff for success.


3. Public education is based on the principles of embracing diversity and fostering a culture

of equity and inclusion for all students. Do you support these principles?

Yes


4. Do you support the use of public funds to establish charter schools or programs that

teach one religious or ideological perspective?

I do believe in the Charter School Act C.R.S. 22-30.5-101 through C.R.S. 22-30.5-704) defining A charter school as a public, nonsectarian, nonreligious, non-home-based school which operates within a public school district. Schools that are religious or serve only one ideological perspective do not meet that definition and should not be afforded public funding via the charter school act.


Goal 2: Measure adherence to RTB principles


5. By now, you have read and considered the seven political principles we believe should

guide political conduct in Western Colorado.

a. Do you endorse each of the seven principles Restore the Balance believes should

guide political conduct in Western Colorado?

Yes

b. If there are one or more principles you do not endorse, please identify them and

explain why.

While I endorse #5 I believe it is an oversimplification of extremism - its psychological attributes, methodology and harm. As community members there is almost always more that binds us together than separates us and finding that common ground is where true change and growth can take place.


Goal 3: Understand strategic leadership and community partnerships


6. What are your three top priorities if elected to the school board?

1. Increase community engagement

2. Create & support policies for student success & teacher retention

3. Fiscal responsibility


7. After a year of service on the school board how will you evaluate your effectiveness or

success as a board member?

While there is a significant learning curve year 1 both a functional and narrative assessment can be completed based on participation and performance metrics. If we increased parent and community participation across all domains (conferences, community surveys, family activity nights, etc) I would be extremely happy.


Goal 4: Measure understanding of process for curriculum revision


8. If a parent or group of parents requests specific curriculum changes or that books are

removed from school libraries, what is your role as a board member in responding to

the request?

Districts have a chain of command internally and community based. Each

school has a building accountability committee and there is a district accountability

committee all of which should be made aware of and review significant requests and/or

complaints . After those committees have deliberated it is their responsibility to bring

recommendations to the School Board at which time a decision can be made based on a

careful review of all facts, policies and public hearings. Personally I find book bans

repugnant. If a district truly believes and adheres to differentiation in the classroom

more often than not if a parent or student has serious misgivings about a book or lesson

a student can be given an alternative assignment that still meets state standards.


Goal 5: Understand policies that impact staff recruitment and retention


9. A school board’s ability to work effectively together influences many things including

staff recruitment and retention. What school board policies or actions support

attracting and retaining outstanding faculty and staff?

Pay, Benefits and Effective leadership. Leadership should be developed at every level of the organization and training should be a priority. While a chain of command in an organization is extremely important there should never be a time when staff feels as if they have lost their voice. The saying “nothing about us without us” means engaging community, staff and students and creating an environment where they feel participation is both encouraged and valued.


Gina_Schulz school board candidate 2023
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Download • 20KB


ROSS MELTON, Candidate Ignacio School Board

Restore the Balance School Board Questionnaire

Instructions: Thank you for responding to our questionnaire, we appreciate your time. Please

respond to the questions below in a few sentences, or about 150 words or less.


Goal 1: Measure support for public education


1. What are your thoughts on the importance of public education?

Public education is one of the best investments our country can make.


2. Why you are interested in serving on the school board?

I want to work with the Ignacio School District administration, staff, and community to make Ignacio Schools the best. I will push for policies focusing on high-quality outcomes for all Ignacio students.


3. Public education is based on the principles of embracing diversity and fostering a culture

of equity and inclusion for all students. Do you support these principles?

Yes

4. Do you support the use of public funds to establish charter schools or programs that

teach one religious or ideological perspective?

No


Goal 2: Measure adherence to RTB principles


5. By now, you have read and considered the seven political principles we believe should

guide political conduct in Western Colorado.

a. Do you endorse each of the seven principles Restore the Balance believes should

guide political conduct in Western Colorado?

Yes

b. If there are one or more principles you do not endorse, please identify them and

explain why.


Goal 3: Understand strategic leadership and community partnerships


6. What are your three top priorities if elected to the school board?

a. Drive the best outcomes for Ignacio School Students in math and science.

b. Improve teacher retention.

c. Support non-traditional school classes, such as welding, agriculture, and personal

finance.


7. After a year of service on the school board how will you evaluate your effectiveness or

success as a board member?

a. I will measure my effectiveness by how many teaching positions are open at the

beginning of the school year.


Goal 4: Measure understanding of process for curriculum revision


8. If a parent or group of parents requests specific curriculum changes or that books are

removed from school libraries, what is your role as a board member in responding to

the request?

I will use information from school staff, public, federal and state laws to work

with fellow board members to make the best decision for students.


Goal 5: Understand policies that impact staff recruitment and retention


9. A school board’s ability to work effectively together influences many things, including

staff recruitment and retention. What school board policies or actions support

attracting and retaining outstanding faculty and staff?

a. I will work to align and sustain resources, such as professional development and

pay, to attract and keep teachers.

b. I will work to have constructive and collaborative relationships with fellow board

members and school staff.


Ross_Melton school board candidate 2023
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Download • 20KB

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