Election Guide 2013: Randall Homan
Occupation: business education/woodshop teacher, Soroco High School
Hometown: Bridgewater, N.J.
Years in Steamboat: 3
Family: sons Mason, 11, and Davis, 7
Civic involvement: Steamboat Springs School Board member, South Routt Educational Endowment Fund 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. As a member of the Steamboat Springs School Board, we have been looking at how the tax would affect our district. So far, the best analysis I have received is from Roger Good. And to paraphrase Roger’s analysis, “If you want to increase funding for schools statewide then this is a good bill. If you want to increase funding for SSSD then this is not a good bill.” As of today, I will stay neutral until we as a board vote on the amendment.
Q. The Steamboat Springs School District spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from the half-cent sales tax for education on teachers needed to maintain its smaller class sizes. Is this the best use of the money? If you don’t think so, what do you think should be the funding priorities from this tax for education?
A. I do think this is a good use of the half-cent sales tax in kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms. Smaller class sizes help teachers connect with their students. Data has proven that highly qualified, effective teachers are important to student success, and having smaller class sizes improves student success. I believe this is an important factor in achieving students’ growth.
Q. Students in the district consistently score above state averages on standardized tests, and the district has been ranked among the top 10 percent in the state academically. In what ways do you think the School Board can help to foster even more academic growth? Where would you like to see improvement?
A. The School Board can help foster more academic growth by looking at how the district is ranked in the nation and how we compare against private and charter schools. We should then look at the top and compare and look at the academic standards they have in place. The School Board should then urge the district to incorporate the standards that will dovetail with ours to help student achievement and make our students global 21st century learners.
Q. In what specific ways do you see yourself impacting your school district as a School Board member?
A. My 18 years’ experience as an educator (assistant principal, teacher and technology facilitator) will help the School Board navigate all the tough decisions that need to be made to steer the Steamboat district to keep improving its already distinguished student achievement.
Q. The school district wants to oversee its own special education program and end a long relationship with the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services that manages this program for several rural districts. District officials say the move will create more efficiencies and result in cost savings. BOCES worries it would hurt other districts. Do you agree with the district’s move, and why?
A. This is a touchy situation for me as I work for one of the districts that might be hurt if Steamboat pulls out of BOCES. BOCES has just hired a new director. I would like to see the Steamboat district give the new director a chance to change the way BOCES provides its services to them. Wait a year and see if the special education program services improve, if not, then yes it is time to move on and do what is best for the stakeholder of the Steamboat district.
Q. The school district has endured an athletic funding crisis in recent years as it costs more to shuttle students to sports. To mend it, the district will implement higher fees and cut back on some programs. What should the future of athletic funding in the district look like?
A. Athletics are an important part of schools, and athletic funding is always a problem. As a former coach, I can attest to the fact that athletics are one of the reasons that some students stay in school. Higher fees and cut backs are never the answer, maybe we need to revisit business and corporation involvement in athletics to help supplement the shortfall in funding.
Q. How can the School Board foster more parent involvement in the school district?
A. The School Board is actively concerned about community engagement and is implementing an approach to actively reach out to community groups and attend their meetings and hold conversations about the school district and how we should approach the school district’s hot topics. Open houses and town hall meetings inviting parents and the community in to talk about school-related issues is another approach to engage parents to be more involved in the district. As a School Board member, I will always advocate open conversation and try to recruit active participation of parents and stakeholders.
Open-ended statement: Complacency is our enemy. As a School Board member, I will strive to keep Steamboat Springs School District moving forward. Our district is ranked among the top 10 percent in the state academically, but where do we stand nationally and internationally? We as a School Board must be diligent in providing guidance and the tools to the stakeholders to keep us at the top, not just in the state of Colorado but also nationally and internationally. As we deal with increasingly difficult budget issues, we must keep our eyes on the ball and balance what needs to be done to ensure that our students are getting what they need to succeed in a global economy. With my extensive experience in education, I will help the Steamboat Springs School Board go all-out to help our students be global 21st century learners and leaders.
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