School candidates do not want the status quo |

School candidates do not want the status quo

Teri Vance
Ron Swirczek

The two candidates vying for the District One seat on the Carson City School Board pose the same question to voters, whether they want to keep the status quo or make a change.

“I get excited,” said incumbent Ron Swirczek. “I’ve not lost that passion to keep going. If the community wants it, then I want to do it.”

Challenger Jim Bathgate said he represents change on the board.

“If you’re not happy with the current situation, I offer something different,” he said. “I think I bring a fresh perspective.”

Bathgate, 43, spends most of his day home with his 8-year-old twins, whom he home schools. He also teaches economics and tutors at Western Nevada College. Although he said he hasn’t yet reviewed the district’s budget, he said his background in economics would benefit the board when making financial decisions.

“I think I’d be able to help that,” he said. “Are we getting the most bang for our buck?”

Swirczek, who retired from state audit, controller and finance positions, ran his campaign four years ago on the platform of creating a vision for the school district centered around partnerships with the community.

After several public meetings, the district penned a strategic plan, which became the basis for the $10 million Race to the Top grant.

Swirczek said he would like to see that process move along.

“We’ve come a long way, but for me that next step will be to make sure all 7,500 students have the opportunity to be involved and to learn beyond the classroom,” he said. “We’ve come a long way, but we’re not there yet.”

Bathgate said he supports the idea of community partnerships, but would like to see increased attention on academic achievement.

“I see a lot of students who come to the college fundamentally unprepared for college material,” he said. “I would like to make sure every kid who goes to college is ready for college has the skills to get a job right out of high school.”

Swirczek said mechanisms are being put in place to track student progress in real time to intervene earlier and remediate them right away.

“Nobody is in any way going to fail,” he said. “We’re going to stay with them.”