District 51 school board: Lone candidate in District A has ‘skin in the game’’

Arvan “Jeff” Leany



QUICKREAD

Arvan “Jeff” Leany

Age: 54

Hometown: Fruita

Work: President of Starvin’ Arvin’s.

Education: Attended Mesa College, Brigham Young University and Ricks College.



Q: Why did you decide to run for school board this year?

A: I am running for the school board because I have a son in the 11th grade, a daughter in the ninth grade, a son in the seventh grade and a daughter in the fifth grade, skin in the game. I want the best education for them and their peers and hope to see that they receive the best education possible and see that our country has the great leaders it needs for the next generation.

Q: What is the biggest issue facing education in District 51 and how can the school board help to solve it?

A: The biggest issue facing our school district is the poor level of proficiency in math, writing, reading and understanding the greatness of our country. I hope to be able to work in the board to see an increase in those areas. We have a new evaluation system in Senate Bill 191 which, if used properly, can help with increasing teacher performance in the classroom. We will need to focus on making sure that students don’t move on until they grasp the concept and parents must be involved to motivate their children to be successful and not use the school as baby-sitting.

Q: A new teacher evaluation system is taking shape in Colorado. What is your opinion of tenure and are teachers and administrators (and possibly children and parents) lacking accountability?

A: We as board members must be bold and take Senate Bill 191 seriously, use it to the utmost of our ability to move standards to a higher level of education. Kids have no less of an IQ than did their parents in the past. We have allowed our country to fall into complacency and are paying the price for it today. The answer is higher standards and more hard work. As the old saying goes, “the harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Q: District 51 will receive $6,137 per student from the state funding formula this year. Does the district need more money, why or why not, and, if yes, how should the district attempt to get more money?

A: As a businessman I will look at the budgets of where all monies are allocated and give them the same scrutiny that I do in the running of a tight and efficient machine, to get the most horsepower with the least amount of fuel and run well. I believe in zero-based budgeting, which means we start with no increase over the previous year and look for areas of waste. We have to be frugal and I will search for those areas as I learn how the government does its accounting, which is vastly different from how business does its accounting.

Q: If the district has to cut $8–10 million this year, what are the first three areas you would examine for possible cuts?

A: I will look at properties, salaries, overlapping programs and all aspects of how the district uses its resources and recommend savings as they are found. I am used to operating a well-lubed and efficient business and will use my experience in successful running of my business to relate it to the school district and do my best to work with the other board members in bringing success to the students of School District 51.


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