Kids Voting: District E candidates
Greg Mikolai and Rose Pugliese are the two candidates in the running for the District E District 51 School Board seat. Both grew up outside of the valley but have an interest in the local school system.
Mikolai, a producer with Rocky Mountain PBS, thinks one of his strengths is being able to find solutions to more than one problem at a time. “Before I throw the stone, I make sure there are three or four birds lined up on the fence,” he said.
Pugliese, a lawyer, also believes that instead of thinking of funding cuts, the board should be looking for efficient ways to save money. “We need to be responsible and work within the budget,” she said.
Pugliese would also like to see more accountability in students and urges them to break the mold. “We need to encourage the schools in our district to strive for excellent performance,” she said.
Mikolai believes it is not only the responsibility of the students, but the encouragement of parents that adds to success as well. “School and teachers don’t take the place of parents. I want to do whatever I can to encourage parents to be more involved in students’ education,” he said.
Mikolai also said that the progress of a student should not be judged on just the yearly CSAP and NWEA testing and thinks problems will be caught more quickly if students’ progression is tracked throughout the year, rather than just glancing at annual tests.
Pugliese also believes that too much emphasis is placed on the assessments. “I would like to focus on using the business community to show students different career paths, whether it be technical careers or academic careers,” she said.
Mikolai also believes in livelihood programs for high school students. Through his work at Rocky Mountain PBS, he has been part of a Homework Hotline that included occupational help.
Pugliese admits that she is not as familiar with the school system. “I’m learning,” she laughed.
Visiting classes and talking with teachers are a few of the things on the top of Pugliese’s to-do list.
Mikolai says he visits schools every day with two sons in school and a wife who is a kindergarten aide.
Katherine Gibson is a freshman at Grand Junction High School who is reporting on election issues for The Daily Sentinel in conjunction with Kids Voting of Mesa County.