Election 2014: Carson City school trustee candidates say district moving in right direction

Stacie Wilke

Stacie Wilke

Candidates for the Carson City School Board touted the school district’s strategic plan as well as student performance during Thursday’s forum hosted by the League of Women Voters.

Incumbents Ron Swirczek and Stacie Wilke, representing districts 1 and 3, respectively, attended the forum, along with Ryan Green, who’s running for District 4. None of their opponents showed.

Jim Bathgate, candidate for District 1, sent in a written statement, saying he was unable to attend because he was teaching a class at Western Nevada College. Jeff Cherpeski, on the ballot for District 4, said Thursday via phone he has withdrawn from the race.

Candidates answered questions about the strategic plan, implemented in 2012 at the urging of trustee Ron Swirczek after a series of community meetings. Moderator Robert Morin asked a question from the audience for the candidates to name their favorite part of the plan.

“Of the five goals defined by the community, they are all equally important,” Swirczek said. “I like it all.”

Wilke’s response was similar.

“It’s like asking you which of your kids is your favorite,” she said. “I feel invested in all five.” Green said, “My favorite part was getting the community involved.”

A firefighter and Carson High School graduate — and former Mr. Carson High — Green said he likes the direction the district is going and wants to increase the intensity.

“I will make a positive change,” he said. “I will increase the speed of change. I get tired of hearing things like, ‘the wheels of government turn slow.’ That’s crap. If it’s a good idea, we need to do it.”

Wilke, a 1983 Carson High School graduate, is serving for the second time on the board.

She said the board’s leadership has brought about accomplishments, such as implementing the strategic plan, being awarded the nationally competitive $10 million Race to the Top grant and rolling out an initiative to put a mobile device in the hands of every student in the school district.

“This is an exciting time in our school district,” Wilke said. “This is a great city. I’m lucky to be here and to be involved.”

Swirczek said he would like to see the strategic plan he championed come to fruition.

“I’ve got a passion for just going in and making things happen,” he said. “I would like to continue to engage the community and to thank them for adding value to our students’ lives.”

All three agreed Common Core set standards for students to achieve, but the school district is interested in achieving beyond the standards. They also agreed they’d like to see more parental involvement in schools.

In his written statement, Bathgate, an economics teacher and father of 8-year-old twins, said he’s well poised to take the role.

“I have a passion for teaching and have worked with students of all ages and backgrounds,” he wrote in his statement. “I believe that my background as a college professor and stay-at-home dad provide a unique and valuable perspective that is not currently represented on the school board.”

David Carter, running against Wilke in District 3, didn’t attend.


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