Monday night the four candidates running for the two open seats on the Bozeman School District Board of Trustees—Lauren Dee, Amber Jupka, Tanya Reinhardt, and Lisa Weaver—met with the public to discuss a range of issues of concern to parents and voters.
Here's a look at some of the questions raised and how each candidate responded:
Teacher retention with Bozeman's current high cost of living
“We have to continue to work creatively, but I feel like our board has already jumped on that and our district has jumped on that and we know where we are headed,” said Jupka.
“The salary is capped, and so we do have to be creative. This is where the district is looking into things like in-house daycare,” said Dee.
“Provide a culture where teachers want to come to work because those salaries are capped,” said Reinhardt.
“Relieve the stress, increase the staffing, so they can love their jobs again,” said Weaver.
Critical race theory in Bozeman schools
“That's the bottom line, it's not going anywhere,” said Weaver.
“It's important that we teach acceptance and a wide range of views. I believe that we must teach all of history, the good and the bad, and I believe that each student and their family should feel welcome,” said Jupka.
“We need to teach various opinions and various ideas and various experiences of history,” said Dee.
“It's not a part of our curriculum and there are no plans for it to be a part of our curriculum; those statements are exactly true,” said Reinhardt.
The role of trustees in establishing curriculum
“We need to be up with the times, we need to support those teachers, it is important that we collaborate and work together,” said Dee.
“Curriculum without teachers who are comfortable using it will fall flat, and so making sure that teachers are a part of that process from beginning to end is essential,” said Reinhardt.
“Relying on the intelligence of the people who sent us those recommendations and trusting that they fit the parameters of the policies and the goals,” said Weaver.
“Make sure that we are voting on something that is consensus-driven, and something that is good for the whole school community and that has our teachers' backing,” said Jupka.
On opportunities for parental involvement
“Taking advantage of the opportunities that the district provides to go in and meet the teachers immediately,” said Reinhardt.
“If you can be in the classroom, that is the best thing,” said Weaver.
“Volunteering is a huge part of how you can give if you have time,” said Jupka.
“Open communication, so when the hard conversations have to happen, if they have to happen, that you already set down a foundation,” said Dee.
The election is set for May 3.