Q. & A. with Ronald ‘Rod’ Olinger, South Routt School Board, District 5 candidate
South Routt School Board, District 5
Occupation: Outside sales — Probuild Lumber Co.
Years in South Routt: 11 years
Family: Wife and two teenage daughters
Civic involvement: In the past I have been a member of a municipal planning commission and church council member. Currently, I am active as a volunteer 4-H leader/livestock judging coach for the Routt County 4-H program. I am also active as a member of Concordia Lutheran Church.
Education: Bachelor of science degree in animal science with minor in ag economics, Colorado State University
Q. Why are you qualified to serve on the school board?
A. I believe that my education and past work experience both in South Routt and outside of it allows me to bring skills and assets to the school board position. As a result of my education, I have an understanding and appreciation for what our students face as they work to prepare for higher education. For 10 years, I worked at Colorado State as a research associate, and more recently in the capacity of maintenance director for the South Routt School District for six years. In both work capacities, I managed a team of people as well as a budget. I have experience in purchasing, facilities and maintenance.
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. I am concerned about the fiscal stability of the school district. As the ending fund balance has continually decreased so has our enrollment. This is a trend that can’t continue. In small districts, fewer people have to play multiple roles. I bring an understanding of the reality of what this looks like.
Q. What strategies would you suggest for the South Routt School District to address declining enrollment?
A. I realize as many others do that South Routt is a great place to raise children. We have great schools with great teachers and staff. I think that we need to capitalize on the areas in which we are strong, continue to work on things that can improve and not apologize for what we have to offer in the South Routt School District.
Q. Would you support the South Routt School District pursuing district consolidation with Steamboat Springs? Why or why not?
A. I would not support consolidation at this time. I do not see how consolidation would be beneficial to either district or their students.
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 South Routt School District plays a major role in the community as it brings together several smaller communities in our part of the county. Our students come from McCoy, Burns, Toponas, Yampa, Phippsburg, Stagecoach, Oak Creek and the surrounding areas; it is the school district that brings us all together. Furthermore, district facilities are widely used for a variety of community events such as sports, school functions, 4-H events. As the largest buildings in South Routt, the facilities are also commonly used for funerals, community meetings and programs. The school board itself has a responsibility to the community in oversight of the school district and its facilities. The board is responsible to ensure that our schools provide a safe, healthy and high quality education for our students, while doing so in a fiscally sustainable way.
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I have been skiing about 15 years now, learning to Nordic ski in gym class in elementary school and grew up Alpine skiing at Okemo Mountain in my home state of Vermont. I’m by no means a daredevil but I am comfortable on Alpine skis and my ability to get around in them.