Absence speaks louder than words It was interesting to attend the school board candidates forum this past Monday at the Ute Indian Museum. Although I was expecting to learn something about each of the candidates and the issues facing our local school district, it was a surprise to see three very noticeable and deliberate “no shows” from some of those vying for positions on the board: Andrew Neal, Cortney Loyd and Dawn Schieldt. The event was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Uncompahgre Valley Education Association — both non-partisan entities. As a former teacher in the Montrose County Schools, I know how important it is to have the most committed and qualified people serve on this important board. Visibility and a willingness to answer questions is a way to show this commitment. The education of our children and the well-being and best interest of our schools should never fall victim to obstructionist politics. The only agenda a board member should have is serving the district’s schools and our local community to make them the very best they can be. After this evening’s “no shows”, I can’t in good conscience vote for any of the three missing candidates. Absence and speaking by proxy seems to be a habit with these individuals. I encourage friends to vote for Alice Murphy, Sara Fishering, Eric Kelly and Steve Bush — far and above the best of those running for seats on our school board. I have no idea what these candidates’ political affiliation might be. Party affiliation is irrelevent. It is most important to know that each of these people will work hard and will be present to insure that Montrose County schools provide a quality education for our youngsters. John L. King Montrose Support the candidates who show up I attended the League of Women Voter’s and Uncompaghre Valley Education Association’s School Board Forum at the Ute Museum on Monday night. I was interested to attend a non-partisan forum (unlike the one held by the Montrose County Republicans at the Cowboy Church). It was well attended and would have been a great way to get to know those running for our School Board. Only, there were four of those running who chose to not attend. Kudos to Alice Murphy, Sara Fishering and Eric Kelly for showing up. Shame on you to the others who could not find time in their busy schedules to show up. As noted by Dennis Anderson’s Editorial in the Saturday Montrose Press, there are three candidates running as a “slate”. Although each had their own opening remarks read by Kay Alexander, they did their closing remarks as a group. The school board is not a club. It is not a popularity contest. It is an independent board that determines the policies of our schools for our children. Why would we want to vote in three individuals who are incapable of doing one on one interviews with the Daily Press, insisting they must be interviewed as a group? Why would we want to vote in a group that will always vote the same way, and are not independent critical thinkers? One of the questions asked by a person in the audience was regarding attendance. Both Sarah Fishering and Eric Kelly stated they had only missed one and two meetings respectively. The “slate” of candidates have missed at least that many school board forums. It appears that they are not taking the election to a public office as high importance. Why would the voters think they will show up at the school board meetings? (If one is absent, will all three be required to be absent?) After listening to Alice Murphy, Sarah Fishering and Eric Kelley, I would strongly urge the residents of Montrose County to vote for these individuals. The school board is an intricate part of our county and needs to have individuals who are concerned about the safety and well being of our students. What the school board does not need is three candidates who are too scared to show up and face the public unless all members of their club can all be in attendance. Bobbie Kuns Montrose The school board election isn’t actually non-partisan The Montrose School Board Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters at the Ute Museum was disappointing. With eight candidates running, only three attended. In addition to lack of candidate participation, the league moderator stifled public debate under the pretense of non-partisanship. Across America, school boards are now receiving well deserved criticism for promoting policies that have turned our public-school classrooms into “progressive” Democratic indoctrination centers rather than educational institutions. The League promotes itself as non-partisan and that is fine. However, that does not mean that individual candidates are non-partisan. One candidate, Eric Kelley, in his opening statement mentioned that he had biases, but did not elaborate. Since he brought up the subject, it should have been open to discussion, especially since such biases are now under debate across the land. Marxist “Critical Race Theory” and other Democratic propaganda are being aggressively taught in many of our public schools. Is this happening in Montrose? The public has a right to know, especially when one candidate declares that he is biased, but then leaves the obvious question unanswered. However, when I asked the question, “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?”, I was immediately shut down by the League moderator. Saying, under the guise of non-partisanship, “You can’t ask that question, so sit down and be quiet! True, the law requires school board elections to be non-partisan, but it also requires schools to be politically non-partisan. It is very hypocritical to insist upon the former and then ignore the latter as was done by the league moderator last night. Every question permitted, allowed each candidate to offer bland, scripted answers. Consequently, there wasn’t an iota of difference between the three “club members” who showed up last night. The league’s forum utterly failed to provide meaningful answers to critical questions. Michael Martin Montrose Editor’s note: critical race theory is not taught in MCSD schools. Parents still have power in MCSD I’ve had the opportunity to hear the school board candidates speak three times at three different venues. Sarah Fishering is a great candidate and conservative. I appreciate that she brings a new perspective because she was raised in the United Kingdom. Sarah and her husband are entrepreneurs in Montrose and stay with their family whose children are enrolled in MCSD. Eric Kelley is a conservative business owner who has been on the Western Slope his whole life except when he served his country for six years in the United States Army. Eric and his wife have two children, one who has gone off to college after graduating MCSD and another who attends Montrose High School. Alice Murphy brings a wealth of knowledge to the board because she was a teacher right here in Montrose County for 35 years. These candidates all showed a fundamental understanding of the complexities of running a school district. Most importantly, every one of them spoke about what is best for children. The “slate” was completely different. Their platform is based on the false premises of Critical Race Theory, Comprehensive Sex Education, and masking. These don’t happen. The third pillar of their platform is opposition to mask mandates. We do not have a mask mandate. Why is this a campaign platform? The “slate” has a radical agenda that has yet to come forward. They are running on a platform that is not true, and they know it is not true, yet they still run on it. This strategy appears to be a desperate reach from tea-party radicals to win an election. Furthermore, the “slates” campaign slogans are nothing more than shallow cliches. “Give Power Back to the Parents,” when was it taken away? I see parents every day in our schools volunteering in the classroom, attending PTO meetings, giving feedback to our teachers, and, on occasion, at a school board meeting. The “slate” never stepped for in a school board meeting until they decided to run for the position. Where have they been? Did they not want the power before now? We need different people from different walks of life to make a well-rounded school board. Electing three candidates who have been radicalized at the Cowboy Church and who have identical ideas is not helpful and not diverse. Vote for Eric Kelley, Jeff Bachman, Steve Bush, Alice Murphy and Sarah Fishering because having the most yard signs does not qualify you. Edward Lewis Montrose Support candidates with ‘agendas’ After a careful review of the information available on the Montrose School District Board candidates, I easily concluded that Cortney Loyd, Andrew Neal, and Dawn Schieldt best represent me as a parent, my daughters, and the teachers. For example, one area of concern to me is the possibility of our children being forced to be vaccinated in order to attend public schools. I know each of these three will defend individual constitutional rights and freedoms. A recent writer (Wayne Quade) accused these three of having an “agenda” and fostering “group think.” That is ironic because after reviewing the incumbent board’s meeting minutes with regards to consent, it shows that over the last 1.5 years this board has a 100% agreement rate with Superintendent Carrie Stephenson’s recommendations. I believe it is imperative to have new board members we can trust to not automatically agree with the superintendent and the dictates of Governor Polis. Why would anyone run for an office without an “agenda”? Here are the agendas I fully support: Cortney: to advocate for students and parents. Dawn: to stand for safe and appropriate curriculum, our constitutional rights, and limiting big government overreach. Andrew: to champion giving the power back to the parents who should be the ones to decide what is best for their children. If that is groupthink, I’m all in. These three candidates have been clear where they stand on issues, while I am uncertain where the opposing candidates really stand. For example, Sarah Fishering regularly attends conservative women’s meetings, but also spoke at the recent abortion rally here in Montrose. When asked her view of abortion, she indicated that her position on abortion has nothing to do with serving on the school board. I disagree. I want to know where our board members stand on relevant issues like abortion, critical race theory, sex education, and how our nation is portrayed. Another writer (Sue Zanol) suggested that being a parent doesn’t necessarily mean you have the critical thinking skills needed to be on the school board. Cortney and Andrew are successful business people and Dawn was the VP and sat on the board of a nonprofit for over ten years. Cortney Loyd, Andrew Neal, and Dawn Schieldt, not only have the critical thinking skills to help better our schools, but they each have the heart to stand for what is right for our children and the future of this country. Chanda Ouimet Montrose Proposition 119 too expensive Proposition 119 is an attempt to deal with a real problem in our public school system. There is insufficient public money available to address the needs of some children who have learning deficiencies resulting in their inability to receive an adequate education. It is a problem which needs to be addressed. The way to accomplish this is to go to the “heart” of the problem which is at the classroom level at the earliest time such deficiencies are discovered. The treatment for such deficiencies such as tutoring should be coordinated and consistent with current classroom work in an attempt to maintain the student in his/her current grade. Our classroom teachers are often the “first responders” and are capable of identifying students with problems and are capable of coordinating outside instructional support with a provider. Proposition 119 would establish a new state-wide agency with new procedures attempting to address this problem. Perhaps it would work but only at high administrative cost. It is hard to imagine that only a small portion of total tax money would ever reach the point of need — the student. Why try to reinvent the “wheel” when good school districts and professionals are already in place at a local level where the needs presently exist? Let’s address the issue by providing the local district with the funds needed to accomplish the task in a more efficient manor. Please join me in voting NO on this proposition. Thomas F. Cheney Montrose

Absence speaks louder than words

It was interesting to attend the school board candidates forum this past Monday at the Ute Indian Museum. Although I was expecting to learn something about each of the candidates and the issues facing our local school district, it was a surprise to see three very noticeable and deliberate “no shows” from some of those vying for positions on the board: Andrew Neal, Cortney Loyd and Dawn Schieldt. The event was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Uncompahgre Valley Education Association — both non-partisan entities.

As a former teacher in the Montrose County Schools, I know how important it is to have the most committed and qualified people serve on this important board. Visibility and a willingness to answer questions is a way to show this commitment. The education of our children and the well-being and best interest of our schools should never fall victim to obstructionist politics. The only agenda a board member should have is serving the district’s schools and our local community to make them the very best they can be. After this evening’s “no shows”, I can’t in good conscience vote for any of the three missing candidates. Absence and speaking by proxy seems to be a habit with these individuals.

I encourage friends to vote for Alice Murphy, Sara Fishering, Eric Kelly and Steve Bush — far and above the best of those running for seats on our school board. I have no idea what these candidates’ political affiliation might be. Party affiliation is irrelevent. It is most important to know that each of these people will work hard and will be present to insure that Montrose County schools provide a quality education for our youngsters.

John L. King

Montrose

Support the candidates who show up

I attended the League of Women Voter’s and Uncompaghre Valley Education Association’s School Board Forum at the Ute Museum on Monday night. I was interested to attend a non-partisan forum (unlike the one held by the Montrose County Republicans at the Cowboy Church). It was well attended and would have been a great way to get to know those running for our School Board.

Only, there were four of those running who chose to not attend. Kudos to Alice Murphy, Sara Fishering and Eric Kelly for showing up. Shame on you to the others who could not find time in their busy schedules to show up.

As noted by Dennis Anderson’s Editorial in the Saturday Montrose Press, there are three candidates running as a “slate”. Although each had their own opening remarks read by Kay Alexander, they did their closing remarks as a group. The school board is not a club. It is not a popularity contest. It is an independent board that determines the policies of our schools for our children. Why would we want to vote in three individuals who are incapable of doing one on one interviews with the Daily Press, insisting they must be interviewed as a group? Why would we want to vote in a group that will always vote the same way, and are not independent critical thinkers?

One of the questions asked by a person in the audience was regarding attendance. Both Sarah Fishering and Eric Kelly stated they had only missed one and two meetings respectively. The “slate” of candidates have missed at least that many school board forums. It appears that they are not taking the election to a public office as high importance. Why would the voters think they will show up at the school board meetings? (If one is absent, will all three be required to be absent?)

After listening to Alice Murphy, Sarah Fishering and Eric Kelley, I would strongly urge the residents of Montrose County to vote for these individuals. The school board is an intricate part of our county and needs to have individuals who are concerned about the safety and well being of our students. What the school board does not need is three candidates who are too scared to show up and face the public unless all members of their club can all be in attendance.

Bobbie Kuns

Montrose

The school board election isn’t actually non-partisan

The Montrose School Board Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters at the Ute Museum was disappointing. With eight candidates running, only three attended. In addition to lack of candidate participation, the league moderator stifled public debate under the pretense of non-partisanship.

Across America, school boards are now receiving well deserved criticism for promoting policies that have turned our public-school classrooms into “progressive” Democratic indoctrination centers rather than educational institutions. The League promotes itself as non-partisan and that is fine. However, that does not mean that individual candidates are non-partisan.

One candidate, Eric Kelley, in his opening statement mentioned that he had biases, but did not elaborate. Since he brought up the subject, it should have been open to discussion, especially since such biases are now under debate across the land. Marxist “Critical Race Theory” and other Democratic propaganda are being aggressively taught in many of our public schools. Is this happening in Montrose? The public has a right to know, especially when one candidate declares that he is biased, but then leaves the obvious question unanswered.

However, when I asked the question, “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?”, I was immediately shut down by the League moderator. Saying, under the guise of non-partisanship, “You can’t ask that question, so sit down and be quiet! True, the law requires school board elections to be non-partisan, but it also requires schools to be politically non-partisan. It is very hypocritical to insist upon the former and then ignore the latter as was done by the league moderator last night.

Every question permitted, allowed each candidate to offer bland, scripted answers. Consequently, there wasn’t an iota of difference between the three “club members” who showed up last night. The league’s forum utterly failed to provide meaningful answers to critical questions.

Michael Martin

Montrose

Editor’s note: critical race theory is not taught in MCSD schools.

Parents still have power in MCSD

I’ve had the opportunity to hear the school board candidates speak three times at three different venues.

Sarah Fishering is a great candidate and conservative. I appreciate that she brings a new perspective because she was raised in the United Kingdom. Sarah and her husband are entrepreneurs in Montrose and stay with their family whose children are enrolled in MCSD.

Eric Kelley is a conservative business owner who has been on the Western Slope his whole life except when he served his country for six years in the United States Army. Eric and his wife have two children, one who has gone off to college after graduating MCSD and another who attends Montrose High School.

Alice Murphy brings a wealth of knowledge to the board because she was a teacher right here in Montrose County for 35 years.

These candidates all showed a fundamental understanding of the complexities of running a school district. Most importantly, every one of them spoke about what is best for children.

The “slate” was completely different. Their platform is based on the false premises of Critical Race Theory, Comprehensive Sex Education, and masking. These don’t happen. The third pillar of their platform is opposition to mask mandates. We do not have a mask mandate. Why is this a campaign platform?

The “slate” has a radical agenda that has yet to come forward. They are running on a platform that is not true, and they know it is not true, yet they still run on it. This strategy appears to be a desperate reach from tea-party radicals to win an election.

Furthermore, the “slates” campaign slogans are nothing more than shallow cliches. “Give Power Back to the Parents,” when was it taken away? I see parents every day in our schools volunteering in the classroom, attending PTO meetings, giving feedback to our teachers, and, on occasion, at a school board meeting. The “slate” never stepped for in a school board meeting until they decided to run for the position. Where have they been? Did they not want the power before now?

We need different people from different walks of life to make a well-rounded school board. Electing three candidates who have been radicalized at the Cowboy Church and who have identical ideas is not helpful and not diverse.

Vote for Eric Kelley, Jeff Bachman, Steve Bush, Alice Murphy and Sarah Fishering because having the most yard signs does not qualify you.

Edward Lewis

Montrose

Support candidates with ‘agendas’

After a careful review of the information available on the Montrose School District Board candidates, I easily concluded that Cortney Loyd, Andrew Neal, and Dawn Schieldt best represent me as a parent, my daughters, and the teachers. For example, one area of concern to me is the possibility of our children being forced to be vaccinated in order to attend public schools. I know each of these three will defend individual constitutional rights and freedoms.

A recent writer (Wayne Quade) accused these three of having an “agenda” and fostering “group think.” That is ironic because after reviewing the incumbent board’s meeting minutes with regards to consent, it shows that over the last 1.5 years this board has a 100% agreement rate with Superintendent Carrie Stephenson’s recommendations. I believe it is imperative to have new board members we can trust to not automatically agree with the superintendent and the dictates of Governor Polis.

Why would anyone run for an office without an “agenda”? Here are the agendas I fully support: Cortney: to advocate for students and parents. Dawn: to stand for safe and appropriate curriculum, our constitutional rights, and limiting big government overreach. Andrew: to champion giving the power back to the parents who should be the ones to decide what is best for their children. If that is groupthink, I’m all in.

These three candidates have been clear where they stand on issues, while I am uncertain where the opposing candidates really stand. For example, Sarah Fishering regularly attends conservative women’s meetings, but also spoke at the recent abortion rally here in Montrose. When asked her view of abortion, she indicated that her position on abortion has nothing to do with serving on the school board. I disagree. I want to know where our board members stand on relevant issues like abortion, critical race theory, sex education, and how our nation is portrayed.

Another writer (Sue Zanol) suggested that being a parent doesn’t necessarily mean you have the critical thinking skills needed to be on the school board. Cortney and Andrew are successful business people and Dawn was the VP and sat on the board of a nonprofit for over ten years. Cortney Loyd, Andrew Neal, and Dawn Schieldt, not only have the critical thinking skills to help better our schools, but they each have the heart to stand for what is right for our children and the future of this country.

Chanda Ouimet

Montrose

Proposition 119 too expensive

Proposition 119 is an attempt to deal with a real problem in our public school system. There is insufficient public money available to address the needs of some children who have learning deficiencies resulting in their inability to receive an adequate education. It is a problem which needs to be addressed.

The way to accomplish this is to go to the “heart” of the problem which is at the classroom level at the earliest time such deficiencies are discovered. The treatment for such deficiencies such as tutoring should be coordinated and consistent with current classroom work in an attempt to maintain the student in his/her current grade.

Our classroom teachers are often the “first responders” and are capable of identifying students with problems and are capable of coordinating outside instructional support with a provider.

Proposition 119 would establish a new state-wide agency with new procedures attempting to address this problem. Perhaps it would work but only at high administrative cost. It is hard to imagine that only a small portion of total tax money would ever reach the point of need — the student.

Why try to reinvent the “wheel” when good school districts and professionals are already in place at a local level where the needs presently exist? Let’s address the issue by providing the local district with the funds needed to accomplish the task in a more efficient manor. Please join me in voting NO on this proposition.

Thomas F. Cheney

Montrose