Election Guide 2013: Medora Fralick
Years in Hayden: 15
Family: husband, Ross; son, Ian; and daughter, Ryan, both Hayden High School graduates
Civic involvement: Community Agriculture Alliance board; Routt County United Way board; Hayden Congregational United Church of Christ Christian education; Hayden Valley Elementary SIT; Routt County 4-H leader; First Impressions of Routt County board member; Yampa Valley Land Trust board member; Routt County Agricultural, Youth and Heritage board member; Routt County Fair board member
Q. Voters here will decide in November whether to approve new statewide tax increases to provide more funding for public education (Amendment 66). Do you support this ballot initiative? Explain why.
A. I support Amendment 66 for several reasons. As a state, Colorado is behind the nation in funding of public education. This is a trend that is costly and dangerous. The strength of our public education system affects not only outcomes for our youth who are competing for places in higher education and the workforce but also affects the desirability of our community and drives our property values. We must continue to invest in our education systems to strengthen the end result as well as overall economics. History and research prove that investment in quality education is money well-spent with positive returns. Amendment 66 will establish a minimum level of funding, with measures of effectiveness as well as provide increased funding for preschool and kindergarten programs. For Hayden, it will help offset a sunsetting mill levy, as well.
Q. The Hayden School District receives a mixed bag of test scores each year on the state’s standardized test. What do you think the School Board’s role should be in helping to improve these scores?
A. I believe that the School Board is responsible for setting the policies and governance that support the principals and staff at all levels to provide effective learning environments for all learners. This is complex and multifaceted but comes down to allowing the staff who are teaching our children every day to use creative means to educate more effectively. This means helping to create a sense of importance to learning and testing among our students and their parents. It also means being open, as a board, to “nontraditional” means of instruction. We need to reward our successful educators, celebrate our successes and hold ourselves and everyone involved in the system accountable to measurable outcomes.
Q. Last year, the Hayden School Board barely rejected a proposed split schedule for its schools that would have added more class days at the secondary school level but kept the elementary schedule the same. Are you satisfied with Hayden’s school calendar? Explain why or why not.
A. The School Board never should have been presented with a split schedule for the district. A unified schedule should have been presented. This is controversial, but I strongly believe that a split schedule would have had negative impacts on the Hayden community and the district. I am supportive of extending the school calendar. Our academic achievement, test results and overall performance can be improved upon. Our calendar for 2013-14 has 158 student contact days (two of which are parent-teacher conference days). The state average is 180. If we were consistently scoring strongly on the standardized tests, if we were consistently exceeding our own expectations and excelling in our academic achievement, I would not question the calendar so much, but the bottom line is that we are not. We need to be willing to adapt to our current circumstances and situation and not be stuck in the past.
Q. In what specific ways do you see yourself impacting your school district as a School Board member?
A. I am passionate about our youth and education. I see myself as being willing to look at situations on a broad level, putting the time in to educate myself and being able to work as a team member, not the lone ranger. I am not coming into this race with a specific agenda but rather to continue the work of the existing board to provide a safe and effective learning environment for all learners in our district.
Q. What do you see as Hayden School District’s greatest needs, and how would you work to address them as a School Board member?
A. I believe that attracting and retaining excellent staff is a need. We need to find creative ways to support our teachers and staff so that we can retain them and create consistency for our students. I believe that the School Board, along with the superintendent, need to market our district to identify and secure nontraditional funding to help with this effort. I also believe that providing our students with a physical environment that is conducive to learning is important, which again, takes capital, and I believe the board should be involved in identifying some of the funding sources, which may not be mainstream.
Q. What do you see as Hayden School District’s greatest strengths?
A. The Hayden School District’s greatest strength is its personnel. Our people, for the most part, are a dedicated, caring, professional group. We need to celebrate our staff and their successes at the same time we work to improve in our less successful areas. We have some of the most incredible teachers I have come across, and we need to find ways to keep them in Hayden.
Q. How can the School Board foster more parent involvement in the school district?
A. The School Board can help foster more parent involvement by being cheerleaders in the community for education. The parent apathy, which transfers to their students, can only be overcome by instilling a sense of importance and pride in the parents. This may come through more parent education programs, increased opportunities for involvement and an overall increase in the amount of information disseminated in the entire community about the school district. Again, education is a community issue and affects each and every one of us.
Open-ended statement: I look forward to the opportunity to serve on the Hayden School Board. I am excited to be involved in the selection of the next superintendent. I want to be involved in setting the academic direction of the district as well as continue to support and grow the vocational aspect of the Hayden School District. I want the best education for our children, the best working conditions for our staff, and the best schools in the valley. My husband and I chose to educate our kids in Hayden, and now I choose to give back to our community.
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