Q. & A. with Jane Colby, South Routt School Board, District 2 candidate
South Routt School Board, District 2, running unopposed
Years in Oak Creek/South Routt County: 15
Family: husband, Steve Colby, one child, Alex, 12
Civic involvement: volunteer at school and through 4-H
Q. Why are you qualified to serve on the school board?
A. I have lived in the district for 15 years and my seventh grader has spent all of his education in this school district. The love of learning was a big part of my life growing up, and I want my child and others to also have a positive educational experience. Additionally, I have over 20 years of professional business experience that provides me a good understanding of finance, employee relations, marketing and business operations.
Q. What do you think is the most important issue facing the South Routt School District and what can be done to address it?
A. The most important issue is the declining enrollment. In order to be financially sustainable, the district needs to manage its finances to operate within the revenues allowed based on student counts. The existing school board has been addressing this issue on many fronts. Annual budgeted process – we have built a bottom-up budget tied to the mix of students and their needs. This has resulted in applying our teaching resources to the greatest needs, which may change every year. Gaining an understanding of the families in our community and what they want from the district. We are offering a wider variety of opportunities for kids — from additional sporting activities (a new cross country team), a new gifted and talented program, expanding our agriculture program (which attracts students from outside the district) and offering special studies and opportunities that leverage the natural resources in the area.
Expanding the preschool to provide additional daycare before and after the preschool day (which historically was 2.5 hours per day). This allows families who work a full day, to stay in district starting even when children are small. Seeking grants and community partnerships for expanding services for students with special needs, improving healthy eating and physical activity, and adding technological resources. Focusing on instructional techniques to improve student learning. Through grant resources and collaborative planning days, Soroco staff are identifying and implementing best teaching practices that we expect to yield significant improvements in academic achievement.
Q. What strategies would you suggest for the South Routt School District to address declining enrollment?
A. See response to last question.
Q. Would you support the South Routt School District pursuing district consolidation with Steamboat Springs? Why or why not?
A. I support considering any and all options that could result in students being better prepared to achieve their highest potential. We don’t have enough information to know whether consolidation would help or hurt our students, but we should find out.
Q. What role do you think the South Routt School District and/or school board plays or should play in the overall South Routt community?
A. The school district is the cornerstone of this small community in South Routt. While I have lived here for 15 years, my last eight years involvement with the school district made me at home in this community. Getting to know the special mix of people that make up this community through the schools has enriched me and my family. I love that I know and am neighbors with the teaching and administrative staff. It feels like a large extended family. The school board — through its policies and decisions on behalf of this district — affects the entire community. That responsibility is not to be taken lightly.
I think it is important for school board members to remember that we are here to serve the children and families of the district. Sometimes that requires difficult decisions or putting aside personal agendas. It is important for us to listen to the families that are part of this community and do our best to serve all the children, not just some of them.
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