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Adams 12 Five Star Schools Board Candidate Survey
Q1 - Do you support a parent’s right to choose the public school they feel is the best fit for their child? Why or why not?

Amira Assad-Lucas:  I do support a parent choosing a school that they feel is the best fit for their child. I encourage all parents to become educated about the schools for their children.

  
Brian Batz:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Daniel Garcia:  YES! I believe that education is very important for a child, and the parent is primarily responsible to look out for their best interests. A parent should be in touch with who teachers their kids and what they are being taught. A part of that should be where a child goes to school. I, MYSELF, have a 1st grader attending a charter school.

  
Jessy Hamilton:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Stephanie James:  I do support a parent's right to choose the public school that best meets their child's needs. This is due to several reasons; charter schools open up a wider range of curriculum options for children.  For example, if a child does not seem do learn well using the Everyday Math curriculum, they may opt to go a charter school that utilizes something such as Singapore math. Additionally, some charters may have a special focus that is especially appealing to some students, such as arts or sciences. 

  
Jeff Jasica:  Yes. School choice is important to many parents, and I respect that right to choose a public school that parents feel will best serve their student' needs.

  
Norman Jennings:  My wife and I enrolled our kids in district choice/magnet schools because they were the best fit for our family. Charter schools serve a similar function and the competition from charter schools makes our district magnet and neighborhood schools better as well.

  
Jamey Lockley:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Laura Mitchell:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Seth "Isaiah" Thomas:  Yes, I support a parent's right to choose the pubic school they feel is the best fit for their child because a parent knows their child's skills and abilities best. A parent is the first person that nurtures their child and knows personality, character and their child's learning style. 

 

Teresa Thomson Walsh:  I strongly support a parent's right to choose. Parents know their students best and are therefore in the best position to assess a good fit for their children.  

 


Q2 - Which of the following describes your familiarity with charter schools? (Select all that apply).

Amira Assad-Lucas:  I can name one or more charter schools in Colorado. I know someone who works at a charter school in Colorado. I know a student who attends a charter school in Colorado. I have heard the term “charter school.”

  
Brian Batz:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Daniel Garcia:  I can name one or more charter schools in Colorado. I know someone who works at a charter school in Colorado. I know a student who attends a charter school in Colorado. I have heard the term “charter school.”

  
Jessy Hamilton:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Stephanie James:  I can name one or more charter schools in Colorado. I know someone who works at a charter school in Colorado. I know a student who attends a charter school in Colorado. I have heard the term “charter school.”

  
Jeff Jasica:  I can name one or more charter schools in Colorado. I know someone who works at a charter school in Colorado. I know a student who attends a charter school in Colorado. I have heard the term “charter school.”

  
Norman Jennings:  I can name one or more charter schools in Colorado. I know someone who works at a charter school in Colorado. I know a student who attends a charter school in Colorado. I have heard the term “charter school.” I have visited several of our district charter schools in the four years I've been on the board and gotten to know many of their leaders and board members.

  
Jamey Lockley:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Laura Mitchell:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Seth "Isaiah" Thomas:  I can name one or more charter schools in Colorado. I know someone who works at a charter school in Colorado. I know a student who attends a charter school in Colorado. I have heard the term “charter school.”

  
Teresa Thomson Walsh:  I can name one or more charter schools in Colorado. I know someone who works at a charter school in Colorado. I know a student who attends a charter school in Colorado. I have heard the term “charter school.” All four of our children have attended or are currently attending a charter school. I served on the Board for the Westgate Community Charter School.   


Q3 - Which of the following best describes your level of support or opposition toward charter schools in Colorado?

Amira Assad-Lucas:  Neither support nor oppose.

  
Brian Batz:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Daniel Garcia:  Strongly support.

  
Jessy Hamilton:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Stephanie James:  Somewhat support.

  
Jeff Jasica:  Strongly support. Charter schools serve a valid need in our District, and I support those schools that our Board has thoughtfully reviewed, approved of and chartered. These students are Adams12 students too.

  
Norman Jennings:  Strongly support.

  
Jamey Lockley:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Laura Mitchell:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Seth "Isaiah" Thomas:  Somewhat support. There are charter schools that serve students with different needs such as Stargate Charter School which serves Gifted and Talented students. 

  
Teresa Thomson Walsh:  Strongly support. I believe we can best meet the needs of segments of our students with a variety of school choices, including strong charter schools. I also believe given that charter schools must recruit and work to retain their students, there is a level of responsiveness to the parents lacking in traditional neighborhood schools. Finally, it is possible to create innovative charter schools because of the flexibility in governance and hiring that is beneficial to the district. Successes in a smaller charter school can be replicated in other district schools. 


Q4 - In your view, what role should charter schools play in providing parents and students choice in their public school options?

Amira Assad-Lucas:  I believe in the role they currently are playing. As stated above, I believe a parent and student should have the right to choose the best educational path for their family or him/herself.

  
Brian Batz:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Daniel Garcia:  Information about a school, their curriculum, and style of teaching should be made public in an easy to understand manner. Parents should do their due diligence to make sure they are choosing the right place for their children.

  
Jessy Hamilton:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Stephanie James:  I think charter schools are a good option for students who desire a different curriculum or focus, especially as many schools are forced to cut special programming, so long as all students are held to the same high standards.

  
Jeff Jasica:  Charter schools are best positioned to address needs not currently being effectively met by existing schools. Their presence can spur additional innovation within the District.

  
Norman Jennings:  Charters provide unique and/or challenging academic programming to families. The charter schools in Adams 12 provide Core Knowledge, language immersion, Gifted and Talented, and twice exceptional programming. Some have a unique niche and others compete directly with neighborhood schools and district magnet programs. As a result our district has responded with unique and niche offerings including STEM, Gifted and Talented, fine arts, and academically rigorous programs at each of our comprehensive high schools.

  
Jamey Lockley:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Laura Mitchell:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Seth "Isaiah" Thomas:  The role that the charter school should play in parent's and student's choice is what fits the best interests and needs of the child. 

  
Teresa Thomson Walsh:  I most strongly support grass roots not for profit charter schools. I believe charter schools can create innovative learning environments. I also believe that a strong and healthy district has a combination of traditional, magnet, and charter schools.  

 


Q5 - In your view, do charter schools help improve educational opportunities for all public school students or do they negatively impact the educational opportunities for students in traditional public schools?

Amira Assad-Lucas:  This depends on the student and family, since all students' needs are different.

  
Brian Batz:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Daniel Garcia:  Help. And there are studies that prove that.

  
Jessy Hamilton:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Stephanie James:  This is an interesting question. I understand that the  per pupil funding follows the student, so there may be an argument that by creating more charter schools the district loses money. However, due to the overcrowding problem in the northern part of the Adams 12 district, I am inclined to think that charters improve educational opportunities merely by their ability to take on students that would otherwise attend the "public" school and further increase class sizes. Adams 12 also has some very successful charter schools such as Stargate. I think their success demonstrates that charter schools, if designed and conducted well, can improve our district.

  
Jeff Jasica:  Effectively chartered schools can improve the educational opportunities for students by offering special programs. Per above, they can also help the District identify and address under-served populations.

  
Norman Jennings:  In our district, the competition from charter schools has led to the district improving its program options.  All students win when schools have to improve and compete for the hearts of parents and kids.

  
Jamey Lockley:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Laura Mitchell:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Seth "Isaiah" Thomas:  There needs to be evidence to support whether a charter school is improving the educational opportunities for all public school students or negatively impacting opportunities. I don't have the evidence yet either way to declare whether charter schools improve or negatively impact student opportunities for students in traditional public schools. 

  
Teresa Thomson Walsh:  Adams 12 is an excellent example of a charter school improves educational opportunities. After the success of Stargate Charter School in providing gifted education, the district created a gifted program at Hulstrum. Successful charter schools offer educational opportunities for those students and influence the district to improve.

 


Q6 - Do you support the creation of more charter schools?

Amira Assad-Lucas:  Maybe – if there is a strategic growth plan in place.

  
Brian Batz:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Daniel Garcia:  Yes.

  
Jessy Hamilton:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Stephanie James:  Maybe – if there is a strategic growth plan in place.

  
Jeff Jasica:  Maybe – if there is a strategic growth plan in place. I support the creation of charter schools and retention of the existing charter schools in our District provided they are serving their students well and achieve results per the state education standards, they address a need not being effectively met by the District schools, they are parent-led, and they are financially sound non-profits.

  
Norman Jennings:  Maybe – if there is a strategic growth plan in place I'm assuming the question means the charter school has to have a strategic growth plan in place so that they can have a successful launch and gain stability within the first few years of existence.

  
Jamey Lockley:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Laura Mitchell:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Seth "Isaiah" Thomas:  Maybe – if there is a strategic growth plan in place. We have enough charter schools in our district to meet the needs of our students. They have the ability to meet the needs of our district students that are not being met in the traditional public schools. I am concerned that there seems to be an increasing number of charter school applications from out-of-state that take away much needed tax revenue from our existing in-state charters and traditional public schools. If they are not transparent or do not meet the guidelines set forth by the state Charter School Institute and the Colorado Department of Education then I do not support adding those types of charter schools. 

  
Teresa Thomson Walsh:  Yes.

 


Q7 - What do you believe is the proper role for a school district and a district board of education to play in relation to the charter schools in their district?

Amira Assad-Lucas:  I believe the proper role is dependent upon the contract or agreement set forth between the charter school, school district, and board of education.

  
Brian Batz:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Daniel Garcia:  The board needs to keep the chartered schools accountable. Not all charter schools are equal. And without supervision, a school can get off track quickly.  

  
Jessy Hamilton:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Stephanie James:  Another interesting question that is particularly relevant in Adams 12. Last year, several parents were very upset with their charter school for several reasons. They came to the Adams 12 board to voice their concerns, as they felt that their children were being treated unfairly when they tried to work with their charter principal and board. I felt that because some of their concerns dealt with student safety, the district should have investigated the school more carefully upon renewal because these children are still in the Adams 12 community, however the board did not seem to be willing to investigate their concerns. Additionally, with the success of some charter schools I think it would be worthwhile for a district board to ask why more parents are leaving public schools for charters? What lessons can we learn from these schools? I would like to see more dialogue between charter and district boards to share ideas that may be helpful for all schools.  

  
Jeff Jasica:  The District and Board should play an active role in the review and approval of charters ensuring they have effective parent-led leadership, produce results per the state standards, and are financially sound in serving their populations.

  
Norman Jennings:  The district boards' job is to authorize, monitor the performance of charter schools, monitor adherence to the contract between district and charter, and evaluate the charter for reauthorization. The district's job is to monitor performance and contract adherence, offer support and assistance when needed and to avoid undue influence or involvement in the charter's affairs. Occasionally the district has to tell charter parents that it is not the district's job to rush in and try to fix a perceived problem.

  
Jamey Lockley:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Laura Mitchell:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Seth "Isaiah" Thomas:  As a school board director I will always seek the input from as many stakeholders as possible, and this includes charter school parents, students and operators, so I can make informed decisions. The school boards role is to monitor charter school performance and to allow the charters time to fulfill their contractual agreement with the district. 

  
Teresa Thomson Walsh:  A Board must carefully review an application for a charter school, and if the school has support and a strong business plan, the district should not only approve a charter application or renewal, but actively support the public charter school.

 


Q8 - Do you believe districts have a responsibility to equitably include their charter schools in the distribution of local funds related to facilities (bonds) and operational expenses (mill levy overrides)? Why or why not?

Amira Assad-Lucas:  I feel this depends on the school district and the agreement between the charter school, school district and board of education.

  
Brian Batz:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Daniel Garcia:  Yes, but everything needs to be done in balance. There's a reason that these are not traditional public schools.

  
Jessy Hamilton:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Stephanie James:  At this point in Adams 12, I could not support this. Our classes, particularly in the northern region, are incredibly crowded and we desperately need bond money to build two new K-8 schools in this area. Therefore, I do not think our taxpayers would want the bond money to also be divided among charter schools.

  
Jeff Jasica:  Yes. These students are our students and should share in funding increases that the local voters approve of.

  
Norman Jennings:  Adams 12 included money for our charter schools in our last bond and mill levy ballot measure. Unfortunately we were not successful. If re-elected to the board I will ensure that practice is continued in future ballot measures.

  
Jamey Lockley:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Laura Mitchell:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Seth "Isaiah" Thomas:  I am still learning about the current laws that govern charter school facilities and operational funding. 

  
Teresa Thomson Walsh:  Clearly a district should be equitable in distribution of local funds. The students attending those schools are from households that pay taxes, vote for the bond, and support the district. Students in a district charter school are no less worthy of district support.

 


Q9 - Please feel free to provide any additional comments or viewpoints regarding school choice and charter schools in the state of Colorado that you were not able to cover in your responses above.

Amira Assad-Lucas:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Brian Batz:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Daniel Garcia:  My kid goes to a charter school; she loves it. I have always been in support of such schools. I think traditional, public schools can learn a lot from the styles and formats used in successful charter schools. 

  
Jessy Hamilton:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Stephanie James:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Jeff Jasica:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Norman Jennings:  I have many friends with kids in charter schools and I frequently ask them how their kids are doing. They almost always say they are very happy with their choice and their student is doing very well.  What's not to like about that?

  
Jamey Lockley:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Laura Mitchell:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Seth "Isaiah" Thomas:  I believe we have an opportunity to work with the existing charter schools to provide our children with the very best education opportunities. 

  
Teresa Thomson Walsh:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question. 

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