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Poudre R-1 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?

Nathan Donovan:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Susan Gutowsky:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Gavin Kaszynski:  Absolutely, yes. Unless I am elected, 2016 will be the first year in PSD when the Board will not have a parent with a child in our schools. I have a 2nd and 6th grader, so my children will be in our schools for many more years. I will be a representative for parents and will always uphold their authority in educational choices for their children.

  
Catherine Kipp:  Yes. Different students have different learning styles and different families have different needs. At least one third of our students in Poudre School District exercise school of choice options.

  
Rob Petterson:  Absolutely. This is all about educating each student in the way that best allows him/her to reach his/her full potential and graduate to a successful life and career.

  
Michael Pruznick:  Yes, because the state requires the district to offer both intradistrict and interdistrict schools of choice and the board must uphold that law.  

  
Carolyn Reed:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question. 

 


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

Nathan Donovan:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Susan Gutowsky:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Gavin Kaszynski:  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.” The community in Northern Colorado can be very proud to have some of the nation's top-performing charter schools, like Ridgeview and Liberty. We are very close friends with some of the parents whose children attend these schools.

  
Catherine Kipp:  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.”

  
Rob Petterson:  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.” My wife is a teacher at a charter school.

  
Michael Pruznick:  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.”

  
Carolyn Reed:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

 


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

Nathan Donovan:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Susan Gutowsky:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Gavin Kaszynski:  Strongly support. Anyone who is an advocate for public education should be a friend of charter schools. It just makes sense, and I am a supporter.

  
Catherine Kipp:  Neither support nor oppose. Like any other public school, I support all schools which do a good job of meeting the needs of their students.

  
Rob Petterson:  Neither support nor oppose. I seek neither to increase nor decrease the number of parent and teacher led charters in Colorado. Each charter application is a statement that some group thinks an educational opportunity is being missed and each must be considered on its merits. Again, the bottom line is the the education of the students, and we want to ensure that there are educational environments that allow all students to flourish.

  
Michael Pruznick:  Somewhat oppose. Charter schools are proof that the district is broken. The solution isn't to authorize charter schools to fix its problems for those few students whose parents have flexible work hours and reliable transportation. The solution is for the district to fix traditional schools for all students.  

  
Carolyn Reed:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

 


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

Nathan Donovan:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Susan Gutowsky:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Gavin Kaszynski:  Charter schools should be an option for all students.

  
Catherine Kipp:  I believe charter schools are especially appropriate if they bring options to students not otherwise available in their school districts.

  
Rob Petterson:  Charter schools may provide alternative environments in which certain students can thrive. As such, they are a part of the choice landscape.  

  
Michael Pruznick:  None. This role should be filled by magnet and option schools.  

  
Carolyn Reed:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

 


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?

Nathan Donovan:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Susan Gutowsky:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Gavin Kaszynski:   Charter schools help improve the entire education system. I sincerely believe that.

  
Catherine Kipp:  Different students have different needs and different families have different needs. I believe families make the best choices they can for their children given the resources and options at their disposal. It is my job as a school board member to make sure we are best able to meet the needs of all of our students and families.

  
Rob Petterson:  Charter schools may provide alternative environments in which certain students can thrive. As such, they are a part of the choice landscape. The bottom line is the education of the students, and we want to ensure that there are educational environments that allow all students to flourish. Further, charters and "traditional" schools should cooperate and learn from each other for the benefit of all students.

  
Michael Pruznick:  Charter schools negatively impact the educational opportunities for students in traditional public schools. The only reason that parents form charter schools is because the traditional public school is failing their children. The district should be solving the problem for all children, instead of for the small group of children that are privileged enough to be able to attend a charter school. Also, note that charter schools are providing a better education at a lower price than traditional school (6 of the top 10 middle schools, 7 of the top 10 high schools). It is critical that we understand why charter schools succeeded and bring this success into the traditional schools.  

  
Carolyn Reed:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

 


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

Nathan Donovan:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Susan Gutowsky:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Gavin Kaszynski:  Maybe – if there is a strategic growth plan in place. I do not support creating more charter schools simply for the sake of creating more charter schools. But where a need can be demonstrated and a strategic plan put in place I would absolutely consider a charter application, without bias or political prejudice.

  
Catherine Kipp:  Maybe – if there is a strategic growth plan in place. It depends on the school. Does it bring something new to our school district? Will it benefit students? Does it have both a good academic and a good financial plan? These are some of the questions school boards must ask prior to approving new charter schools.

  
Rob Petterson:  As noted above, I do not have an agenda to create more charter schools nor to lessen their number. If parents and teachers feel there is an educational need not being filled, then perhaps that can or should be filled by a charter school. Each such application should be considered on its merits.

  
Michael Pruznick:  No – we need to stop adding charters and invest more resources into traditional public schools. Covered in my answer to other questions.

  
Carolyn Reed:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

 


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?

Nathan Donovan:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Susan Gutowsky:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Gavin Kaszynski:  Unfortunately the PSD Board has gotten this all wrong and created an environment that is unfriendly for charter schools. Partisan activists show favoritism for their allies while sending others to the state for review. That is just wrong. A school board should review an application based on its merits alone and not based on any political affiliations.

  
Catherine Kipp:  Charter schools have their own governing bodies, so the primary job of a school board is to determine whether or not to approve new charter schools. As mentioned above, some of the questions schools boards need to ask before approving new charter schools are: Does the school bring something new to our district?  Will it benefit students? Does it have both a good academic and a good financial plan?  

  
Rob Petterson:  In the course of considering charter applications and contracts, I believe that the Board as the agent of the district should consider the following philosophy. Each charter application is a statement that some people feel there is an educational approach or need that the district is not currently filling. PSD should examine each from that point of view. What is missing if a contingent of people feel the need for a charter school? Does PSD already offer something that the applicants are not seeing? If PSD doesn't offer it, should it? Can it? In other words, take the applications as learning opportunities for the district to improve its offerings as possible and as makes sense. Beyond that, each charter application should be considered on its merits according to the law. I also support the idea that there should be more cooperation and learning among the charters and the rest of the district. I understand that the school population profiles and some of the other constraints are not identical. So, some practices will not transfer as is. But, this does not mean that the charters have nothing to learn from the rest of PSD or that PSD has nothing to learn from the charters.    

  
Michael Pruznick:  The most important role for the school district and the board of education is to apply what is working in the charter schools to the traditional schools.

  
Carolyn Reed:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

 


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?

Nathan Donovan:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Susan Gutowsky:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Gavin Kaszynski:  Absolutely, yes. The charters in our community are a model for success and deserve equitable treatment. We should emulate their successes, not hamper them.

  
Catherine Kipp:  Our district currently has a facilities committee up and running to discuss facilities needs for a potential bond on the election ballot in November of 2016. We have a member of our local charter school community who has agreed to sit on this committee. PSD is definitely looking at including charter schools in the 2016 bond election.

  
Rob Petterson:  District authorized charter schools should be invited to participate in any mill levy or bond discussions that are being considered by the district. To the extent that they choose to participate in and formally support Mill Levy elections, they should get the proportional dollars as a part of the district. Bond elections are more complicated because the charter facilities are not owned by the district and the bonds are not based on the faith and credit of the charter but rather the district. So appropriate legal arrangements would need to be negotiated in order to support charters being part of a bond.

  
Michael Pruznick:  This is a trick question. Equitable simply means fair. Of course charter schools should get their fair share. The real question is how to define fair given that charter schools get many waivers to operate. The issue is further complicated by the fact that each charter school is different, offering its own unique solution, thus fair may be different for each charter school.  

  
Carolyn Reed:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

 


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.

Nathan Donovan:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Susan Gutowsky:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Gavin Kaszynski:  I believe a school board should reflect its community, and I don't think it is healthy at all to have a school board that has no members with children in school. That has not happened in Poudre in at least three decades, but that is exactly what will happen in 2016 unless I am elected.

  
Catherine Kipp:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

  
Rob Petterson:  My wife has worked at a charter school (Ridgeview Classical Schools) since 2002. Our sons went to "traditional" public schools and I have volunteered in the district for 13+ years. So, I understand charter schools and their relation to PSD very well.

  
Michael Pruznick:  It's not that I object so much to charter schools, but that I object to the district ignoring the problems with traditional schools. Stopping charter schools is one way to force the district to deal with its problems. I'm open to other options that would allow charter schools to continue to grow.  

  
Carolyn Reed:  Candidate elected not to respond to this question.

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