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RANGELY | The Rangely School District Board of Education called a special meeting to order at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7. Samuel Tolley, Jason Cox, Sarah Nielsen, Todd Low and Superintendent Matt Scoggins were present at this meeting. The only business at this meeting was to interview the candidates who applied to fill the vacant board position and make the appointment. Casey Ducey and Ryan Torsell were the only two candidates who applied.
The candidates answered the following six questions:
What motivates you to want to become a board member?
Ducey: “I’d like to continue to serve the community. I have children in the schools, and I think it’s important to have parents on the board. In two years, I don’t quite think you learn anything, and you need a little more time to grasp everything.”
Torsell: “Participation within the community and I also have kids in the school district. I have one kid that deals with BOCES substantially and is on an IEP. Overall I think the school district is doing a great job and I would just try to continue that tradition.”
What do you see as the board’s roles and responsibility?
Torsell: “To be a voice for the parents, the community, and the teachers of the district. To be a good example to the students and try to do volunteer work. Be accountable, responsible, be active, and show up to the meetings and educate yourself.”
Ducey: “To ensure the kids and teachers have the right schools to do their jobs. Make sure that district money is spent appropriately. Make sure you are there to ask and answer any questions throughout the community pushing towards the right person if they cannot find that answer.”
What qualities and behaviors should board members exhibit?
Ducey: “Be involved in the community and schools. Make sure that you are visible throughout the district; going to events and games. Answer any of the parent’s questions or concerns. You are the voice for the community in the school district.”
Torsell: “Good character including honesty and integrity. Be available and make sure the community knows where you’re at and be willing to talk to them. Whatever their concerns are make sure they are addressed at the board level if needed.”
What kind of relationship should board members have with their community, parents, and families?
Torsell: “Make sure that you are honest, have good character, and integrity. I think one of the biggest things is to be approachable and make sure that you aren’t intimidating people. Have an open-door policy. Be ready and available.”
Ducey: “You should listen to what people have to say. You need to be out there especially around the schools when you can. Be the voice and ears for what the concerns are.”
How can you contribute to a successful board meeting?
Ducey: “I believe having new and fresh ideas. I have old school values. Be here and be part of the community.”
Torsell: “Study the agenda. Follow the rules from the state. Try to fill yourself with as much knowledge as you can about whatever topics are coming up at the next meeting or whatever you have heard around the community. Make sure the district is doing the right things to help the students learn.”
What are the basic requirements for a successful school board membership?
Torsell: Be a registered voter, be able to attend the meetings, and be a liaison for the community, students, and teachers.”
Ducey: “Be there for the teachers. The students and teachers are the most important thing I believe. Do whatever you can to make the year successful for the teachers and students.”
Tolley asked the board members if they had any questions. Low asked if there were any concerns or issues in the school district, within our control, that we could fix or remedy? Anything that you see that could be better?
Torsell: “As of right now I don’t. Obviously funding and pay scale is out of the boards control and are going to be there. As far as personnel and what’s going on in the district to my knowledge is going well. It hasn’t always been like that for me but as of right now I think it’s pretty darned good.”
Ducey: “I’d like to see and get the appropriate teachers in. We have such a hard time bringing in teachers. I know we have tried to do certain things to bring them in, but money is the biggest thing we deal with trying to up the pay scale.”
During closing statements Ducey said “I felt like my two years here was cut a little short. It takes longer than two years to understand this whole process and how things work. I feel like I need more time to understand how policies and how everything comes together. I would like another opportunity to continue. Torsell said “I’d love to be a board member with you guys but at the same time I believe Casey is a great advocate as well. I’ll respect your decision either way but, in my eyes, there is two good candidates and you’re going to win either way. Thanks for the opportunity and keep plugging away.”
Tolley thanked both the candidates and stated that he and the board appreciated them stepping up before the official appointment was made. The board agreed collectively that both candidates would be an asset to the school district. After some open deliberation and concern about adding a third new board member (joining Low and Nielsen in their first year) or take a seasoned board member Low moved to appoint Casey Ducey to the vacant position until the next regular school board biannual election in November 2021. The motion for appointment was seconded by Cox and all board members voted for Ducey’s appointment. The meeting was adjourned at 6:48 p.m.
By Roxie Fromang | Special to the Herald Times