The ballot for the 2017 Park County School District RE-1 School Board elections has been mailed. This election is a mail only-ballot. If you have not received your ballot, contact the Park County Clerk and Recorder’s office at 719-836-4223. The ballot must be received by the clerk’s office no later than Nov. 7, by 7 p.m. A postmark does not count.

There are also three drop off/drop box locations available throughout the county: in front of the county annex 501 Main Street, Fairplay; Bailey Motor Vehicle Office, 59865 U.S. Highway 285, Bailey, and Platte Canyon Fire Protection District, 153 Dellwood Drive, Bailey (at the top of Crow Hill.)

A sample ballot for all areas can be found online at http://www.parkco.us/DocumentCenter/View/2435.

The candidates were asked three questions by The Flume and asked to keep their answers to 100-150 words.

1) Give The Flume your background, including any information or organizations you are associated with that you believe are important for people to know for your candidacy.

2) School finances are a big issue with the school district; how will you address this issue?

3) The quality of education is important to everyone; how can the school board work to improve the quality of education our children receive?

Some answers were edited for length.

Kim Bundgaard

1) I am currently a member of the Park County RE-2 District Board of Education. I am a 25 year resident of South Park, and a property owner for 31 years. Both of my sons are graduates of the South Park High School.

One of my sons is a professional photographer in Colorado Springs and the other is a partner in a financial consulting firm in Singapore. I have five grandchildren and I am very invested in their care and education.

I have spent the majority of my career in education, with additional stints in social services and public health. I earned my bachelor’s of arts at Saint Olaf College in Minnesota and my master in education at Utah State University.

I received my education administration credentials through the University of Northern Colorado. I am currently semi-retired working with the Mountain Board of Cooperative Educational Services as a consultant in special-education, and I am attempting to launch a career as an artist.

2) A large part of my career has been spent in public education in Colorado. I have developed an understanding of the intricacy of Colorado school finance and the conflicting expectations of Colorado constitutional amendments that impact financial options for the state Legislature.

I understand the limits of title funding and special-education funding from the federal government and the impact of that on local districts and local dollars.

I am aware of how important it is for the board of education and the Colorado Association of School Boards, along with the superintendent/Colorado Association of School Executives, to continue to advocate for all funding sources for schools which include state per pupil revenue, small rural, special populations, grants, as well as the other federal dollars potentially and inconsistently available from Payments in Lieu of Taxes and Forest Reserve.

At a local level the BOE needs to be firmly committed to solid fiscal management of our funds and long-term strategic planning to make it possible for us to meet our financial obligations in the future … .

3) The role of the BOE is to provide the foundation on which the professional educators can build in providing for the best possible quality education for all of the students that attend school here PK-12th grade.

The BOE must provide this kind of foundation through strategic planning to address all of the areas identified in the BOE’s Ends Policies, which include solid financial management.

Working through the BOE’s one employee, the superintendent, they can support the attraction and hiring of qualified personnel, the acquisition of appropriate technology and curriculum, the engagement of our parents and community, the relationships with our two charter schools in Lake George and Guffey.

Larry Foster

1) I attended Purdue University. I have been a Park County resident for 10 years. I have a 12 year old daughter in middle school. I have over 40 years of management experience with major food companies [including], Kraft Foods, Frito Lay, Keebler Bakeries and Rudi’s Bakeries.

[I have] intensive experience in managing million dollar budgets, setting up goals and managing unions.

At the present time I am the president of South Park Seniors, Inc. We operate a thrift store for the community and have a free senior lunch program on Wednesdays for seniors. This subsidizes our operation. We are not affiliated with any other organization. I have been with the organization since December 2014 and have been treasurer and now president.

I do the grant writing and help manage the operation. At present we are adding an addition to give us more thrift store space. I have been the general contractor and we are building this building with volunteer labor.

2) School finances weigh heavily on every body’s mind. No one likes an increase in taxes. The board needs to handle this money wisely. It is time for new people with new ideas to sit on the board.

We need to look very hard at what grants are available and even look at corporate grants that are available and there for the asking.

We need to look hard at energy management and maybe it might be less expensive to out-source our maintenance, custodial, food preparation and transportation.

A lot of these positions are hard to fill and there is always a shortage of personnel. Do we use the biomass heating system anymore? Maybe this is something we can sell to help us meet our budget.

3) I feel it is time for a change we are taking as a school. We need to give our students different options in education. I would like to see industrial arts programs brought back so our students have other options besides college to help enter the job market.

This school had a building class years ago that built a house a year during the school years. Industries everywhere are desperately needing help. Companies will help sponsor programs for various skills.

I am for higher education but the students need other options. We need to end bullying in our schools because of this we are losing a lot of students to home schooling and other schools.

We need to look at various programs and start meeting with parents, teachers and students. We need new faces on the board that have the vision to achieve this vision.

Bobbi Gore

1) Park County has been my home for 17 years. My involvement with the RE-2 School District has been as a parent and community member for the last nine years. I have two students in the district.

I am running for the school board because I am a parent and have an interest in the education my children are receiving, because I believe our community deserves a strong school, and because our district has gone through changes in administration and funding challenges that call for increased community leadership.

My priorities are that our schools continue to improve the quality of education provided, successfully overcome funding challenges, and network effectively with community members.

2) Uncertainty around student counts, government funds, and potential legislative changes have made it difficult to budget with confidence.

Years of experience working in nonprofit management has taught me to provide quality outcomes in times of uncertainty, when resources are in short supply, and in the midst of increasing demands.

I have established the personal and professional relationships necessary to engage others in pursuing our mission and helping to present our story to a larger audience.

I have proven competence in fiscal oversight. As a member of the board, I would expect to assist the superintendent in identifying the resources that best align with our district goals, provide advocacy and ensure contracted agreements are met.

3) Increased regulations have resulted in a focus on short-term results (passing this audit, performing well on the next assessment) and creating plans as a solution. Continual change of tools used to measure the results has fractured the focus. Returning the focus to long-term results and real achievement would better serve our children.

Gary Jurgemeyer

1) I have a bachelor of science degree in secondary education from the University of Kansas. I also have 25 and more years in corporate management with Mobil Oil Corporation and I am a small-business owner of a college recruiting company and I have six years in county government as a information technology director for Dallas County, Texas.

I am an ad hoc volunteer, which simply means my time and energy are directed toward specific needs.

As such, I have spent time working with the Salvation Army, South Park City Museum, South Park Food Bank and various community events. I am also quite active with the South Park Community Church.

2) This is a complex issue. It would be presumptive to assume that the current school board is not doing everything they can to control expenses and look for additional revenues.

So I won’t go there. What I will do is continue to work with local, state and federal entities to try and obtain additional revenues.

I will also work hard to try and get private resources to invest in our schools and students. I’ll work diligently with all the parties invested in our schools to try to find every efficiency possible in our operating budget.

3) Let me begin by saying I am extremely proud of the RE-2 schools. We have great [children] and great staff that accomplish outstanding things, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities. Here’s my five point plan:

1. Compensate our educational staff commensurate with the value they add to our community.

2. Encourage parents to invest in the success of their students.

3. Fix whatever is necessary so parents don’t feel the need to home school their [children].

4. Provide a safe and secure environment for education ... .

5. Sports and extra-curricular activities should be encouraged and supported. The educational experience should be an enjoyable one.

Welles Tonjes

1) I am married and have one child still living at home. My wife works for the school and our youngest child attends there. I have approximately 40 plus years in law enforcement. Fourteen of those years were involved primarily with juveniles and schools. I was a school resource officer and Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer for approximately 10 of those years and the other four I was involved in juvenile processing and records.

Being an SRO/DARE officer, I was involved with prevention, intervention and enforcement in relationship to juveniles. I sat on the Colorado Association of DARE officers board for four years and then two years on the DARE Colorado board.

I currently work part time for the school district as a substitute teacher. In addition, I volunteer at the school with the South Park Activities Association and other activities. I have no fancy degrees or business experience other than small business associations.

2) As far as school finances, there are no easy answers. I believe a lot of the answers lie within the current school budget and unnecessary expenditures, such as programs that are special interest based.

I think that we are missing out on opportunities for increasing teachers and staff salaries and benefits because it seems to me that the school district is always attempting to move money around and find money at the last minute for things that are needed.

The school teachers and staff are expected to live on Park County wages at metro area cost of living plus expenses.

The school board needs to look into long term contracts and a budget that are at least three years out.

3) In regards to quality of education for the students, I think there are three areas that will help maintain what we have and at the same time improve what we have.

First improve salaries and benefits for the teachers and staff … the second being that whether we want to admit it or not, one of the things that we sometimes over look is that our students do receive psychological and physical bullying.

Addressing this issue helps the students that are there for an education and the teachers and staff can then spend time teaching instead of having to deal with this.

The third thing is drug abuse. It doesn’t take a genius to see which students are in school because of their connections and partying … . The school district has a lot of committed individuals who worked whole-heartedly for the betterment of our students and safety of it.

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