election 2017

Randy Mills, District D candidate for Douglas County School Board

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Randy Mills has lived in Castle Rock for 13 years. Prior, he lived in Highlands Ranch for 21 years.

Mills graduated from Munich American High School and completed four years at an apprenticeship trade school. He is the owner and president of LaMil Connections, Inc., a commercial electrical contractor in Douglas County

Contact: Randy@ElevateDouglas County.com

Campaign website: www.elevate douglascounty.com

Why do you want to serve on the board of education?

As a dad, business owner and tradesman, my experience will strengthen the board dynamic and build community trust. I offer a real-world perspective on enhancing vocational training and know it can open possibilities for our kids. I’m committed to servant leadership in the shared goal of delivering excellence in education.

Following years of dissension, what can be done to bring a sense of unity to the Douglas County School District community?

We must build community confidence in our processes, demonstrate civic decorum, and communicate effectively. Budgetary concerns expressed through community panels deserve thorough evaluation, thoughtful conveyance, and a proposed resolution. We must find market-based propositions for pay disparity and teacher compensation that truly reward effectiveness. We can find ways to develop these programs through Superintendent Kane’s good stewardship of taxpayer resources. We are grateful she found 21 million dollars in savings, but we have more work to do. We must confront the challenges of capital needs with thorough analysis and robust community involvement to gain voters confidence.

What are the most important traits to look for in the next superintendent?

Someone who encourages teachers to thrive, puts excellence in education first, structures curriculum for absolute results, and is accountable to our community. They must have the trust of not only the educators, but the community as well and must be supportive of teachers as they grow in their careers.

Should interim Superintendent Erin Kane be considered for the job on a permanent basis?

I praise the work that Ms. Kane has done to restore a positive culture within Douglas County School District. The last superintendent ruled with fear and intimidation and created a negative work environment. Kane has been a good steward of taxpayer dollars finding over $20 million in savings.

Is the increasing number of charter schools in Douglas County good for the school district?

If an approved charter school applicant is meeting specific child and parent needs and desires, of the parent-supported agreement, it would appear then, that Douglas County students welfare and benefit are served. Established standards should be met or exceeded. As a board steward, I would be respectful and attentive to the detailed CART recommendations of new applicants. 

Do you support the use of taxpayer-funded vouchers to pay for students to get an education at a private school?

Educational options are a strength of our school district. Surveys show most people in our community support charter schools, magnet schools, home schooling, online education (which our daughter utilized), special schools for those with disabilities and alternative schools for at-risk or working students. Not every school is a good option for every student and we must empower students and families to find the school that best meets their needs. Currently, there is not a Choice Scholarship program in effect and we owe it to everyone to see what the final ruling is to determine what makes sense for our District.

Would you be in favor of a larger influence by the teachers’ union?

There is no need to put a special interest group between employee and employer. Unions don’t drive excellence in education. I am confident we can and will care for our teachers and educators without inserting a third party between our teachers and our community representatives. Most school districts in Colorado are not unionized.

What can be done to allow the district to keep its best and most experienced teachers at a higher rate?

We are dedicated to the principle of pay for performance. The community survey shows 80 percent of our teachers believe performance should figure into their pay. Great teachers deserve great reward and this is a basic issue of fairness for those who give so much of themselves to make our schools remarkable. We need a candid discussion with teachers about how they wish to be compensated and they need to help flesh out the details of the compensation system. The current approach is perceived by some to be unfair and requires an unwieldly burden of paperwork for minimal remuneration.

Would you support a ballot measure to help the district pay for capital improvements?

This is a budgetary issue. The current situation is a result of not having structural reserves. Investing in our community provides safe and functioning environments for our children, teachers, and leaders to serve in the educational capacity they’re committed to. Tending to capital improvements, enacting innovative solutions to our budget and infrastructure issues and being financially accountable builds trust with our community. Only after we have earned back the trust of the community can we propose funding measures. Capital improvements need to be evaluated and discussed with the input of various committees, which may result in some tough decisions.

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