Routt County has 9 school board positions up for reelection in November
There are 2 seats in Steamboat, 3 in Hayden and 4 in South Routt
Nine different school board positions across Routt County are up for reelection this fall, and the window to get your name on the ballot is currently open.
There are two positions on the Steamboat Springs School Board, three positions on the Hayden School Board and four positions on the South Routt County School Board that will be on the ballot for the Nov. 2 election.
“The number one thing that I look for in a school board member is a learner,” said Rim Watson, superintendent of the South Routt County School District. “One who is willing to be involved in intense conversations that are designed to be educational for all of us to learn and then make the decision in the best interest in all of our students.”
Watson said it is really important for school board candidates not to come to the role with a preconceived agenda but instead be willing to engage with other perspectives to arrive at the best decision.
Christy Sinner, superintendent for the Hayden School District, agreed, saying that the school board is a very policy-driven role and a good candidate would be open to discuss ideas.
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“It is not a private agenda type thing at all, because we do follow policy,” Sinner said. “That looks at all aspects of our education system from preschool all the way through graduation.”
A good school board candidate would also be a good team player, Sinner said, because, while they are five individuals, they need to be able to operate with a common goal.
Sinner said in Hayden the board needs to be able to focus on the various needs of their students, as some are really focused on technical education programs the school offers, while others are more focused on graduating and continuing their education.
“It is really focusing on meeting our students’ needs where they’re at and what their desires are,” Sinner said.
Interested candidates need to go to the respective district offices and pick up a packet that includes information on how to get on the ballot. This requires getting a number of signatures that varies based on district. South Routt candidates need 25 signatures, Hayden candidates need 50 signatures, and in Steamboat, 100 signatures are needed.
These signatures need to be from voters registered to vote within the respective district boundaries and returned to district offices by Aug. 27.
Watson said this year’s election could be particularly important for the district because he will be retiring in June 2022, and school board members will be tasked with replacing him.
“That is a big deal for the South Routt School District,” Watson said.
Both Watson and Sinner said their districts generally have enough people running to fill all the open seats, but they are not always competitive. Watson said there is generally at least one person who runs for each open seat. The last election in Hayden saw five candidates run for three open seats, Sinner said.
“Since I have been there, it has been a pretty stable board,” Sinner said. “From my understanding of the history from before I got here, there hasn’t ever been a vacancy that they have had to appoint of fill because nobody ran.”
Steamboat Springs is the only municipality in the county that will hold an election to fill vacancies on its council in November. There are four seats open, one in each of Districts 1, 2 and 3 and an at-large position.
Yampa and Oak Creek will hold elections in April 2022. Hayden just held town council elections in 2020.
“We have always had issues with trying to fill the town council,” said Sheila Symons, town clerk in Yampa.
Symons said it took months to fill a recent open position on the council, and she suspects one current member may not run for reelection this spring. Symons said she anticipates starting to look for interested candidates in January.
There is an open position on the Hayden Town Council that is expected to be filled during a special meeting Wednesday, though Town Manager Matt Mendisco said the council could take more time to fill the vacancy.
Mendisco said the town opted to forgo a special election for the vacancy because the town did not budget for an election this fall and doesn’t have anything else for voters to decide.
This appointed council member would serve until November 2022 when that seat, another council member position and the mayor’s role will all be up for reelection.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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