David Ray: Douglas County School Board candidate, District F


City or town of residence: Parker

Occupation: Retired educator/current board of education president

Campaign website/contact information: davidrayforboe@gmail.com; www.davidrayforboe.com/

Why are you seeking this office?

I am a servant leader who loves children and the principles of a quality public education. I have served our district as an employee, as a parent, as board of education president, and have a grandchild entering public school in a few years.

I am in this office to ensure that all generations have a foundation for success.

What makes you the best person for the job?

Public education is my life-long commitment. I served as a teacher, principal, outdoor education director and counselor. I am proud of the momentum to recapture our previous reputation of one of the best educational systems for children. My running for a second term provides stability for our staff and students in maintaining this positive direction.

What can be done to enhance security at district schools?

First and foremost, we need to rely on the experts and those who have chosen public safety as a career, to drive our policy decisions and implement evidence-based practices.

This has resulted in a comprehensive approach that is continually enhanced, which includes: an SRO program partnered with local law enforcement agencies; investing in resources that promote mental wellness; continually assessing school cultures; implementing programs that promote acceptance and removing bullying and violent behaviors; ensuring the effectiveness of threat-assessment protocols; encouraging bystander reporting; sharing information inter-district as well as with social service agencies; and maintaining a cohesive partnership with law enforcement agencies.

What can be done to better address the mental health needs of district students?

Mental wellness is as critical as any other area of our students’ development (e.g. physical, academic, social). Improving how we address this area is through financial investment, professional development/education for all staff and community, and systematically assessing the health of our school cultures. In four years, the board has doubled the funding allocated to mental health support. Most importantly, we need to listen to our students who have incredible insights about what support they need. I serve as the liaison for our Student Advisory Group made up of representatives of all our high schools. These monthly meetings keep me connected to the needs of our students.

How has the proliferation of charter schools impacted the district?

Having a portfolio of diverse schools has always been the vision of this district, and charter schools definitely enhance this vision. This portfolio includes neighborhood, charter, alternative, online and magnet schools. In order to ensure that all of these options can be maintained, we need to be strategic and intentional. The district is currently working with a boundary and capacity consultant to mitigate student enrollment concerns. In addition, we have improved processes for when new schools are proposed. I believe the continued efforts to operate as a “school system” as opposed to a “system of schools,” will result in decision making that ensures all schools are able to thrive.

What is your assessment of Thomas Tucker’s job performance since becoming superintendent last year?

I know of no other superintendent who has had to face more intense issues during his first year, than Dr. Tucker: advocating for the passage of a bond and MLO that provided desperately needed funding; building partnerships with local business to increase trade, career and tech opportunities for students; accessibility to both staff and community in order to restore trust; navigating a tragic school shooting; and creating a foundation for a strategic planning process that is responsive to everyone vested in public education and our 68,000 students. Needless to say, Dr. Tucker’s performance has exemplified exceptional leadership!

Would you be in favor of the reinstatement of a collective bargaining agreement between the district and the teachers’ union?

The issue around a CBA raises more questions for me than answers. I would welcome a conversation to understand what teachers feel we are not addressing that would warrant a CBA. At the same time, I support the board’s code of ethics of remaining apolitical while considering multiple perspectives and voices regarding what is best for our students.

What issue or issues must the school board make a bigger priority next year than it has in recent years?

Assessing safe and positive school cultures to ensure effectiveness of practices. Monitoring students’ mental wellness and the effectiveness of recently increased counselors. Implementing employee council recommendations for compensation and benefits to continue the trend of increasing staff retention rates. Ensuring a well-articulated K -12 curriculum is in place that promotes growth and achievement for all students.


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