Ken Mauldin: Restore faith, confidence
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
I’m running for school board to help create a more open, collaborative and inclusive model within our district. I hold a BBA in economics, and I have 18 years of experience as a CEO in the professional education industry that I can apply to help our district.
Since the last board election in 2019, we have observed the following conditions in our community:
1) The superintendent, along with a complicit school board majority, not only ignored, but covered-up school safety complaints from staff, students and families for years. The board only acted when the incompetence and corruption became unsustainable — after the concerns were communicated to the broader community through public comments in a board meeting.
2) A district teacher, in a public forum, openly wished death on entire families in our community for political differences.
3) We recently learned that almost 50% percent of our fourth graders, almost 60% of our sixth graders, and almost 50% of our eighth graders aren’t operating at grade level math.
When both our superintendent and our school board were covering up school safety concerns, there was no reason to believe anyone in district leadership would respond sensibly to any other serious concerns brought to their attention. The situation created a lack a faith, and damaged the community’s confidence in the board.
Other areas of concern include child care for district employees and current board policy that presumes to tell stakeholders and board members what they can and cannot say in a school board meeting.
The child care issue is impacted by both access to resource and resource allocation. I have a proposal that addresses both elements of the challenge. The Mountain URA was developed years ago to address blight in the ski mountain area of the community through re-allocating tax receipts from the original tax jurisdictions to the URA. The URA currently takes away approximately $1 million annually from school district tax receipts to address blight on the mountain.
After we’ve moved the Arnold Barn and addressed traffic infrastructure by building three roundabouts, I propose the community recognize there is no remaining blight on the mountain that justifies taking $1 million away from the district every year. Further, if City Council closes the URA, I propose that the school district utilize funds from this $1 million of restored annual funding toward the child care issues facing district employees.
Regarding district public comment polices; the district policies that attempt to control speech and attitudes during our public meetings have been used to facilitate a cover-up of stakeholder concerns in the past, and the community should reject the idea the board can compel them to surrender their First Amendment rights in a school board meeting. Stakeholders in our community have the right to redress the board of a grievance in a board meeting, and on the public record, because that’s why we have school board meetings.
I think we should work together to re-align or re-baseline the relationship between the community and our school district. With the resources available in our community, we should have a much higher performing district than we’ve experienced for the last several years.
As a board member, I will do my absolute best to advocate for all stakeholders and moderate a community-wide discussion that includes and considers everyone’s ideas. I will consistently advocate for transparency, accountability, and work to return our district to the high performing organization our community and students deserve.
Thank you for your consideration of my ideas. I look forward to working together and building a better, more open, and effective school district for our community.
Ken Mauldin is a candidate for Steamboat Springs Board of Education.
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Editor’s note: Steamboat Pilot & Today has asked each of the local candidates in the 2021 Election on Nov. 2 to participate in a Q&A to better inform voters, asking the same questions related to…