Montrose and Ouray county voters don’t have many decisions to make during the November 2019 General Election. Ballots are short, just one to two pages, with school board candidates taking up a quarter to a half of the page space. To help voters make their decisions on who should govern policy at local schools, several forums have been planned by various organizations.  

In Montrose County School District RE-1J, where there are seven school board districts, voters will choose candidates for three districts. The Forum, a weekly community meeting featuring speakers from organizations and companies throughout the Montrose area, featured the school board candidates on Wednesday.

The next candidate event is a 2019 Election Program hosted by the League of Women Voters of Montrose County, featuring a presentation on State Ballot Issues CC and DD, school board candidate introductions, and a question-and-answer session. The event is on Thursday, Oct. 10 at noon at the Montrose Library Community Room, 320 S. Second St., Montrose. A school board candidate meet and greet will also be held at Divot’s Restaurant at the Black Canyon Golf Course on Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Candidates for one seat with a four-year term in District B, the area northeast of Townsend Avenue and Main Street, include DoriAnn Adragna, who is a mother of a preschooler. She is a psychologist and small business owner who lived in the school district from elementary through high school and returned in 2015. Incumbent Jacob H. Suppes and candidate Katie Dunn could not be reached for profile information before the newspaper’s print deadline. A write-in candidate for this district is Maria Trujillo.

“People can’t just write in any name on the ballot. Write-in candidates have to be certified before the election,” explained Laurie Laird, administrative assistant to the superintendent and school board.

Candidates for one seat with a four-year term in District D, the area east of Highway 550 from Main Street down to the south end of the district near Colona, are Shawn A Carroll and Cindy Brand. Carroll graduated from Montrose High in 1982 and has been a real estate agent in Montrose since 1994. Brand has lived in the district for seven years, does accounting, and has two children and three grandchildren in the district’s elementary and middle schools.

No candidates are running for the open seat with a four-year term in District F, one of the smallest districts geographically, along Spring Creek Road between Townsend and 6100 Road. The seat is currently held by Phoebe Benziger who is term limited.

“After the new board is seated, they have 60 days to appoint someone to fill this seat, or as long as it takes to fill it,” Laird said.

The candidates for one seat with a two-year term in District G, the other smallest district that encompasses downtown Montrose and east to 6700 Road, are incumbent Stephen Bush, Dru-Anne Weaver, and Melody Gillette. None of them could be reached by print deadline.

In the Ouray School District R-1, three candidates are vying for two seats with four-year terms and one unopposed candidate is running for a two-year seat. The community can hear from the candidates at the 2019 Election Candidate Forum on Monday, Oct. 14 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Ouray Community Center, hosted by the Woman’s Club of Ouray County and Women in Support of Education. School board candidates speak at 7:15 p.m.

Running for the two seats with a four-year term, Aimee Vann is a mother of two Ouray schools graduates as well as three current students, and she is the program development coordinator at the Ouray Public Library who has lived in the district for 18 years. Sam Sills is a United States Postal Service clerk who has lived in the district for almost five years and has one child in middle school and one in high school. Mike Feeser is the third candidate listed on the ballot, but when reached for this article, stated he did not wanted to be included.

Nathan Disser, a climbing and outdoor adventure guide, is currently serving on the board. He is the only person running for the seat with the two-year term.

Two school board candidate events will be held in Ridgway School District R-2, where three candidates are vying for two seats with four-year terms, and one candidate is unopposed for a two-year seat. D3 Indivisible Colorado, a political action group for the 3rd Congressional District, is holding the Ridgway School Board Candidate Meet + Greet on Tuesday, Oct. 8 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Eatery 66, 520 Sherman St., Ridgway. The school district is also holding a candidate forum on Tuesday, Oct. 15 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Eagle’s Nest at the Ridgway Elementary School.

The candidates for the four-year seat include Valene Baskfield, who has lived in the district for 12 years, is mother of a middle schooler and a high schooler, and is a former school counselor who now directs a scholarship program for a foundation. John Countryman has lived in the district for five years, is the father of five students in elementary and middle school, and is a financial advisor and small business owner. Aimee Quadri, who was recently appointed to the school board to finish the term of a board member who left, grew up in Ridgway and moved back eight years ago. She has one child in elementary school, and is a grant writer for a local nonprofit.

Brian Patton, the unopposed candidate for the seat with the two-year term, has lived in Ridgway for a year and a half and is a father of two elementary schoolers. He is a utility locator, who responds to requests by property owners to identify the locations of underground phone, power and cable lines.