Election 2017: Q & A with Brian Hoza, Hayden School Board candidate
Steamboat Today: Do you favor the school district’s pursuit of a bond issue to help secure a BEST Grant from the Colorado Department of Education, which would enable the construction of new middle and high schools? Why or why not?
Brian Hoza: I absolutely do support the bond measure. Hayden schools are in desperate need of upgraded facilities to secure adequate teaching and learning environments, ensure safe and healthy settings, improve operational and staffing efficiencies and enable more efficient and effective fiscal management of resources and capital. This measure would actually improve the entire Preschool through 12th grade facilities for future generations.
With the aid of “BEST Grant” funding, HSD can completely re-set educational facilities and opportunities for the entire K-12 school system for essentially the same amount of funding that would be necessary to remodel existing facilities with continued design deficiencies. Passing this measure would allow us to either proceed immediately if the funding request is eligible to move up in the current funding cycle due to election outcomes; or, place the district in a position to request consideration in the next one to two years with pre-confirmed support from our community.
ST: As the school district pursues a $22.3 million bond issue to help fund the new middle school and high school, do you have any concerns about the district’s tax base given the evolving circumstances in the national energy and power sectors?
BH: Hayden School District has the necessary challenge of solving a $22.3 million problem regardless of whether we opt to renovate existing structures or build a new structure to meet the educational needs for the community for generations to come. The future health and vibrancy of the Hayden community is contingent upon our community choosing to move all of Hayden (town and education) initiatives forward to prepare for continued growth and development.
All tax-supported entities will continue to experience the challenges associated with evolving industrial, economic and occupational impacts realized through eventual change factors, including energy and coal production. Meeting the educational needs of our community will continue to be a primary force in sustaining our economic sustainability. The opportunity to meet this need now is certainly far more feasible than delaying for increased costs, losing ideal grant support of over $40 million at no cost to the community and guarding against projected possibilities.
ST: Are you concerned with the challenges small school districts in Colorado face in recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers? Please describe.
BH: Educators continue to be one of our most valuable resources to support, promote and protect. The shortage of teachers does impact small, rural school districts the most. Meeting teacher needs while continuing to meet or exceed academic expectations will rely on our ability to find more creative and future-oriented methods of recruiting, growing our own, building incentives, diversifying our curriculum through community or dual-enrollment partnerships and enlisting support of our local communities to develop affordable living options for teachers.
ST: What qualifies you to serve on the Hayden School Board?
BH: I have served for over 35 years in various aspects of education from working with young children all the way up through higher education. In addition to contributing nearly 16 years on the Hayden School Board and NW BOCES Board, I have served in advocacy and teaching/training roles that have included child advocacy, teaching, college student affairs leadership and parenting five children, plus over 18 years of foster parenting with my wife and family. My experience also includes crisis management, juvenile mediation, student conduct, housing, student activities, dining services, facilities construction and management, enrollment support services, academic support services, life skills education and awareness and substance use issues and prevention; as well as serving on numerous inter-governmental, interagency and community partnerships.
ST: In what academic or programmatic area do you think the school district should focus more resources?
BH: Hayden School District most importantly needs to move academic competency and achievement forward through strong curricular alignment, effective school and classroom management and continued support of programs preparing our youth to be college and/or career ready. To these ends, it remains important to maintain strength and increase vitality of vocational programs that support our students and communities in our region. General education needs to maintain highly qualified teachers and classroom rigor to achieve higher standards. Building and maintaining strong partnerships with local and virtual community colleges is essential to providing diverse and robust course offerings. At the same time, we are increasingly challenged to adequately support programs that meet the needs of greater numbers of learning and developmentally challenged students. And key to all of these needs is the importance of increasing and enhancing early childhood facilities to sustain needs of more young families in Hayden and the West Routt region.
BH: Schools and educational opportunities are two of the most significantly impactful assets key to support and enhance the economic health and sustainability of any community. Hayden and the West Routt region are at a pivotal point in our history to position ourselves to provide strong, full-service neighborhoods while protecting the small town community environment we value. Educational leadership provided through our board of education and Hayden School District administrators they support are critical. I am committed to continue to serve as a school board member of the district team to work through the critical issues of our near future that can sustain our needs for future generations. Increasingly challenging educational finance issues in our school district, as well as nationally and in the state of Colorado, will continue to require diligent leadership and very critical and difficult decision-making. If re-elected, I will do my very best to support the needs and interests of our kids, families and communities.