“The school board election next month is one of the most important local contests in this election cycle. Yet it is hard for most of us to know which candidates we should vote for because very little information is available about the candidates’ respective platforms. At Save Our Students in District 51, we chose to address this problem for our members by interviewing each of the candidates at length. I believe we may be the only group in the valley that has done so.
For those of you who are not familiar with SOS, we are a grassroots organization made up of more than 300 parents, educators and concerned citizens working to support public education in District 51. We take the time to understand the complex issues facing the district, engage in discussion within our group to reach a consensus and then try to share what we have learned.
Based on our interviews with the candidates, we have found that, for us, the choice for each open school board seat is clear. We will be voting for current School Board President Greg Mikolai, John Williams and Tom Parrish.
Mikolai has been a smart and balanced leader on the school board over the last four years. He has proven his ability to quickly grasp the complex issues facing the district, to ask intelligent questions, and to make sound, rational decisions. From observing him at school board meetings over the past few years, we have been impressed by the depth of knowledge that he has acquired.
John Williams has been very active as a volunteer helping kids in District 51. He has been a part of the Chamber of Commerce’s 500 Plan, has been a board member and fundraiser on the District 51 Foundation Board, and has served as the chair of the D51 Explorer Program – a program organized by the district to educate key decision-makers in the valley on the details of operations in District 51. John is innovative without losing sight of the fact that each change must be carefully considered to avoid sacrificing the hard-won progress the district has made over the last decade. In short: John gets it.
And as for Tom Parrish, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who knows more about the operations of District 51 than he does. He has been a teacher and principal at several schools in the district, as well as an administrator who oversaw a “pod” of elementary schools, middle schools and a high school. He has more than 30 years of experience in the district and will hit the ground running with a wealth of knowledge that will enable him to ask the right questions, find solutions and help move the board toward making the best decisions for our kids.
Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. We hope our conclusions regarding the candidates will help you in deciding which candidate deserves your vote. If you’d like to learn more, we’d encourage you to attend the PTA/PTO-sponsored School District 51 School Board Candidate forum on Thursday, Oct. 3 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Grand Junction City Auditorium located at Rood and 5th Street