The Sopris Sun is publishing responses to questions posed to candidates running for the Roaring Fork School District (RFSD) Board of Education. This is our final installment of candidate questionnaires. Moving forward, The Sun will be covering candidate forums.
Phillip Bogart and Lindsay DeFrates are candidates in District C, which encompasses the south and east sections of Glenwood Springs, Spring Valley and western Missouri Heights.
Background and Motivation:
My four children are my primary motivation to run for the school board. I want to invest my time in ensuring they receive a quality education in a safe environment and feel that I can have the greatest impact on our schools as a part of the school board. I feel that all kids deserve the same, and that my efforts will have a positive impact on all kids in our school district.
I have been in the hospitality and lodging industry for over 18 years. During this time, I have made a career of leading people towards goal achievements in order to ensure the success of my company. I oversee budgets and monthly financials while ensuring that our guests and owners are happy with our performance. All of these practiced skills and experiences have prepared me well to serve as a school board member.
Educational Vision and Priorities:
We need to ensure that our teachers have the support that they need in order to provide quality education. They should be focused on the core curriculum and held accountable according to our students’ test scores and grades, as well as classroom observations. I will work with the other board members to ensure we have effective policies in place to accomplish the goal of increasing student success and will work through the superintendent to ensure we meet or exceed our goals.
I will advocate for quality history and civics curricula as well as math and English curricula proven to improve understanding and scores. I am also committed to moving away from the “Rights, Respect, Responsibility” sexual education curriculum that was recently adopted.
Budget and Fiscal Responsibility:
Our budget review process should be completed during school board meetings as opposed to work sessions. We must ensure the full budget review process is recorded and proper meeting minutes are kept and available for community member review. Keeping this information from our parents and other community members is contrary to Colorado’s open meetings law.
I look forward to working with the district and other school board members to pursue all possible options for funding. I also believe that our budget should be student-centric, and expenses can be managed at the district level to ensure we meet our objectives.
Community Engagement and Communication:
I would like to proactively send out school board meeting minutes so parents and community members do not need to search for this. I also plan to host regular community feedback sessions where I can invite community members to share their thoughts and opinions with me, in-person, directly and without time restraints. I also would like to keep community members informed of committee involvement opportunities.
Equity and Inclusion:
All students should have an equal opportunity to quality education through our school district. We should partner with parents and caregivers, as well as other community members, to provide any support needed. Bullying and harassment cannot be tolerated and should be dealt with quickly and effectively. Understanding and empathizing with others is key, as is allowing dissenting opinions without persecution for nonconformity. Free speech and differing convictions should be celebrated.
I would seek to help develop an effective tutoring program that is easily accessible to all students in any home situation, and after-school programs that allow students to interact with each other, volunteers and potential employers. Offering assistance through these programs will help students plan for and prepare for successful futures.
Superintendent Accountability, Evaluation and Housing:
I feel that the superintendent should be held accountable for the district’s testing results as well as the terms of his contract. The district’s adherence to our budget and the effectiveness of expenditures in relation to student success also play a role in the success of a superintendent.
The superintendent’s salary should be evaluated to ensure that he or she is receiving a fair and appropriate wage. It is important that the superintendent understands our community’s concerns by being a part of this community. We should focus on expanding available affordable housing for teachers and allow the superintendent to take advantage of this benefit if necessary.
Learn more about my campaign at: www.phillipbogart.com