Election 2017: Q & A with Alicia Noland, Moffat County school board District 4 candidate
Craig Press: How long have you been a resident of Moffat County?
Alicia Noland: 36 years
CP: What is your current job or employment status?
AN: I have been employed full time with Memorial Regional Heath for the last eight years.
CP: What is your personal education?
AN: I have my associates in applied sciences with a major in radiology, from PIMA Medical Institute in Denver. I am a certified CPR instructor for the hospital.
CP: What is your experience with local education?
AN: I myself received a local education in Moffat County. I currently have two children in the school system, along with six nieces and nephews. I have helped in the classrooms side-by-side with the teachers and staff, volunteering in the classroom, bringing teachers visions to life and various projects, including the past two years of the fall festival for the community. I have seen the many needs of our students and teachers and the challenges that continuous change creates.
CP: If elected, will you vote in December to close a school? Why or why not?
AN: Yes, I will. As emotional as it is to the community, it is the fiscally responsible thing to do. Combining services and opening up unused spaces in the schools we have will help maintain and focus on programs and the quality of education.
CP: If a school is closed, how do you think the money saved should be allocated?
AN: It will be absorbed into the current shortfalls in the district to continue to maintain our other schools and programs.
CP: How do you think the district should meet capital needs? Will you support going to the voters to ask for a bond or mill levy increase?
AN: Capital needs are two entities’ in their own. As far as asking for a bond for capital needs like reconstruction, adding on to schools or building renovations, that will need to be seen with further evaluations. We need the brick-and-mortar buildings to be up to date to be successful.
Now, for a mill levy, this would be asking for money for our operational costs. For example, teachers’ pay/staffs’ pay. The savings from the school closure will meet our operational and curricular needs and allow for further growth for us.
CP: Do you think teacher pay should be increased, decreased or maintained? Why?
AN: Our teachers are our greatest asset to the district. We need to be competitive in pay, as well as advancement opportunities for them. Options to recruit and retain teachers need to be looked at. I find that step increases would be better suited for the teachers than a base pay increase. We currently cannot afford both.
CP: Do you think staff pay should be increased, decreased or maintained? Why?
AN: Yes, this should be looked at — increasing the classified staff. They are just as vital as our teachers. They provide essential resources for our teachers, so that they can have what they need.
CP: What one specific step do you think should be taken to help the district retain students lost to home schooling, online programs and/or other districts?
AN: Communication and trust with parents and teachers. The teachers need the assets needed to effectively be able to teach our students. Zach Allen has made some great strides in engaging the home school programs and Calvary Baptist in a shared schools program. This allows us to open doors to all students to vital educational resources.
CP: What specific steps should be taken to improve student performance?
AN: Engage the students from every level. From the principal to the janitors, every staff member needs to show the kids we are there for them. Use real world examples of why they are learning what they are. Bring passion back to learning.
CP: Briefly state why voters should vote for you?
AN: I have a vested interest in not only the school district, but in the community. I am a fourth-generation, out of five, to choose to live here. Again, I have two children of my own in the system and six nieces and nephews. I am passionate about looking to the future of Moffat County for our current students and future students. I am objective to the changes that are needed, and know that it is not going to be easy to make those decisions all the time; emotions will always play a part in changes that we may face. I will put in the time and effort that is needed to listen, investigate issues, and, along with the other six board members, try to accomplish a school that we are proud to call ours. This is about the future of our kids’ education and nothing else.
The Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office in Craig has some more fire in store for an area of Moffat County.