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Lewis-Palmer School District 38 - District 4

Lewis-Palmer School District #38 has one open, 4-year term Board of Education Director for District 4 position.

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  • RYAN GRAHAM

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    RON SCHWARZ

Biographical Information

In what ways have you been involved in public schools, and how will you address the most pressing challenges for your district? (100 word limit)

What will you do to ensure equity among schools in your district, accounting for varying needs of students and families? How do you ensure that the district's budget reflects these values? (100 word limit)

How do you balance school choice when encountering the challenges of changing enrollment? (100 word limit)

What role should the arts, STEM, athletics and workforce training play in public education, and how do you balance their funding?

How will you balance meeting the academic needs of students, and also meet their emotional/social/safety needs?

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Background We have lived in the District for 27 years and both of our children went through D38 from K-12. They graduated in 2011 and 2014. Both my wife and I have been involved in several volunteer activities to assist teachers, students and administrators. Additionally we have worked extensively with youth athletics, Boy Scout, Girl Scouts USAFA Cadet Sponsor program et. al. One highlight was the 5 foreign exchange students we hosted from 2009 - 2014. I was asked by members of the community to run for the open seat in sub-district 4. Before agreeing to do so, I embarked on a learning mission and held live meetings with: student body groups from both high schools, teachers, board members, 3 D38 Superintendents, home and private school families, conservative and liberal thinkers. It was after these sessions that I recognized the opportunity to bring our community together, as everyone wants what is good for our kids: a safe, positive, productive learning environment. I'm currently a VP of a Veterans Non Profit and a Business Consultant. Most of my professional life (+30 years) was in the technology field as an individual contributor and leader of large teams generating substantial revenues annually. These experiences have taught me a lot about listening; managing large budgets, mapping people to their passions, developing systems that achieve results and building things that scale and last. I've built teams from the ground-up, taken over existing groups to enhance their performance and built new lines of business. For the school district, this will be valuable in terms of meeting the current challenges of: student population, talent drain, physical safety and community trust. Ultimately, the students stand to gain or suffer from our actions. We need to deploy all our resources so they have every opportunity to flourish, discover their passions, and become quality contributors to our community and country.
Contact e-mail ron.h.schwarz@gmail.com
Contact phone 719-338-4416
I’ve been a local school volunteer for over 20 years in a multitude of areas: guest speaking, hosting foreign exchange students, fund raising and advising.

My vision is to unify the community to achieve three results:

- That our students and graduates become positive contributors to their peers, community and our country.

- That our students are qualified to compete on the stage of their choice, act with integrity, a strong work ethic and respect for others.

- That our district serve as “the” example of how to do it right, and how to make it last.
My professional experience with large-scale finances will serve this area well.

To achieve equity, I would first study the current spending methodology and the results it has delivered. Then, I would map these results to what Colorado law requires a school district to do. Once this analysis is complete we can then determine how equitable the budget allocation’s results have been, what our options are, and move forward on delivering both equity and lasting quality.

Our Declaration of Independence says, “all men (and women) are created equal”… hence, each child deserves a fair shot.
Our public education system is nearly a century old; some level of educational choice is healthy. Any alternative forms of public education should provide our children with the opportunity to:

Flourish

Uncover their passion(s)

Become a contributor to their community and country

The biggest challenge we face is ensuring that all public schools are held to some minimum standards of excellence aligned with their funding model. This would allow each school an equal opportunity for success and the community the chance to hold them accountable to it.
Funding balance vs. what role STEM, workforce training and athletics might play, are very different topics.

D38’s size provides a unique opportunity for our children to try many activities on the path to discovering their talents and passions. The arts and athletics teach practical skills and valuable life lessons. STEM expertise is a core driver of economic activity (good, high paying jobs). All are critical components to providing a strong foundation for our next generation of contributors to our community and our country. Funding should be based on community interest, state and national mandate and professional/vocational needs in the marketplace.
Balancing academics with societal and physical safety needs is clearly an art versus a science. Student and faculty physical safety is non-negotiable nor should it be compromised. We should do what it takes to protect our people!

Students’ academic needs vary greatly and must be coupled with the district’s legal obligations based on Colorado law. I’m in favor of ensuring some fundamentals are established early in order to maintain a high level of academic performance. Early childhood reading is an example of this. It represents a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together and deliver lasting results. It can be made available to all, for free.

Regarding emotional needs and social pressures, I am not a psychology professional. Partnership with families is clearly needed here. Unfortunately, this is a national challenge with multiple causes. The staff(s) must be available and armed with an assortment of tools to ensure they can move quickly and have a lasting impact.