Three seek seat on Storey school board

Facing the beginning of a new school year with no high school principal, no lunch services and no music program, eight candidates still want to serve on the Storey County School Board.

All seats are up for election this year but only one race will require a vote in the primary election on Sept. 5.

Cathylee James and Ed Murkovich are seeking to unseat incumbent school board member Carol McCracken.

James began attending school board meetings regularly three years ago when her son Skyler, now 7, started school.

"I know how things work now," she said. "There have been many times when the board's decisions were not in the best interest of our children."

She is particularly concerned about the recent budget cuts that eliminated various programs throughout the district.

"It's not just the loss of our music program," she said. "I believe we're losing track of our most basic priorities."

Mother of two, James said she is a children's advocate.

"I believe in trying to speak up and do the best I can for children," she said. "I'm especially interested in their education and well-being."

As a reporter for the The Comstock Chronicle she said she has covered many events relating to the schools and she has a teaching degree.

Not only is she interested in education but she also likes the area.

"I really love Storey County," she said. "I think it's a really wonderful place to raise children."

McCracken, incumbent, also likes living in Virginia City. Wife and mother of two, McCracken is seeking a second four-year term on the board.

"The school district is going to make great strides forward," she said. "I would like to see the progress and move forward with it."

During her tenure as school board trustee, she has seen two superintendents and various fellow trustees come and go.

She was a member of the board that approved recent budget cuts that made up for a $500,000 shortfall and she said all of this experience makes her a better candidate.

"I've seen a lot of turnovers," she said. "I have the courage to stand by my convictions even though at times they've been unpopular."

She said the biggest challenges facing the board will be to raise test scores and to balance the budget.

McCracken can see a solution to the debt through the promise of the tax revenue generated through the Tahoe Reno Industrial park.

"Over the next two to three years, we expect to have several million influxed into our budget annually which will provide for great change," she said. "Our current budget cuts are very temporary."

However, retired teacher and administrator Murkovich said the budget should be of primary concern.

"The school board has gone into disarray over the last few years," he said. "The financial system is fouled up beyond belief."

Murkovich taught social studies in Virginia City for nearly 30 years and for three of them served as principal and as superintendent for a short time.

"Being an educator is important work," he said. "I've just always liked being around kids. They're eager and they have a sense of humor. They're just fun to work with."

His two children also went through the Storey County School District.

"I think someone with some experience in the schools and who is a parent can really do some good on the board," Murkovich said.

He said as a board member, he would look at the positive aspect of the district.

"The school board has to start accentuating the positive things that the students, parents and community members in this district do," he said.


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