Seven in running for one School Board seat

Seven candidates plan to vie for one seat on the District 51 School Board next Tuesday.

Three candidates — Arthur Gardner, Heidi Hoffman and John Williams — submitted their names for consideration on Tuesday, the last day the district accepted applications. Williams, 64, is an attorney who does some work for John Hendricks and Gateway Canyons.

Gardner could not be reached Tuesday afternoon. Hoffman did not respond Tuesday afternoon to calls for comment.

Williams said he decided to run for the District C seat left vacant last month by the death of Harry Butler because he has always had an interest in public education and its economic impact on the community. He has served on the school district’s long-term planning committee, was part of the 2012-13 series of Explore D51 classes, and has campaigned for bond issues and mill levy overrides aimed at raising tax money for local education.

“I think District 51 is headed in the right direction in a lot of ways. I’d want to continue a real focus on (helping children reach) literacy by the third-grade level,” Williams said.

Some areas he would like to work on trying to improve, he said, include looking at better ways to compensate teachers and ways to bring down the number of high school graduates who are ill-prepared for college and need to take remedial courses to catch up to college level.

Gardner and Williams will join four other candidates in an interview forum Tuesday with existing board members. Hoffman will not be available for the interview forum. The other applicants are former District 51 School Board members Pat Kanda, RP Services Chief Financial Officer Richard Langley, former Grand Junction City Councilwoman Laura Luke, and Realtor and Colorado Mesa University instructor Mike Moran. Board members will interview the six candidates and vote to appoint one Tuesday evening. If board members tie during voting, Board President Greg Mikolai gets to pick a winner, according to state statute.

The appointment will last through what would have been the end of Butler’s term in November. Candidates can begin turning in applications next month to run for school board seats in districts C, D, and E in the Nov. 5 election.


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