LONGMONT -- St. Vrain Valley School District Board of Education members have a difficult decision to make next week: Who will fill the seat left open by Rick Hammans' resignation?
Joie Siegrist and Arnold Hanuman -- both of whom live in unincorporated Boulder County, closer to Longmont than to Lyons -- interviewed for the job with board members on Wednesday night. District A, the vacant seat, represents approximately the Lyons feeder system and everything north of Colo. Highway 66 and west of County Line Road.
The school board will make its choice during next week's study session, a week earlier than previously planned, so the new director can be sworn in and participate on Feb. 22.
"This is a very serious decision," Bob Smith, who represents District C in northern Longmont, said after the interviews. "They both want to do the right thing for the right reason."
Debbie Lammers, the school board member who represents District B (basically the Niwot feeder system and southern Longmont), asked both applicants how they would make connections with the Lyons community.
Siegrist, who graduated from Longmont High School, said she has family connections to the school, where her aunt is the athletic director and from which two cousins graduated.
"I would be eager to go up there more often and meet more people and get a better feel for the community," said Siegrist, 42.
Hanuman, 41, said he, too, would make himself available in the Lyons community.
When questioned about budget priorities and expected funding cuts, the two applicants both said they have more to learn about the budget, but they had ideas about priorities.
"What happens directly in the classroom has to be a priority," Siegrist said.
Class size is important, but Siegrist said she would accept increasing class size if it meant keeping other programs, such as athletics, that help students become more well-rounded.
The district might need to look at putting another mill-levy override on the ballot to increase operating revenue, but she's not sure the community would support it, she added.
Hanuman said he would not touch class sizes in kindergarten through third grade.
The St. Vrain Valley School District Board of Education will choose the new District A director at its next study session, so that person can be sworn in and fully participate in the Feb. 22 meeting.
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15
Where: Silver Creek High School media center, 4900 Nelson Road, Longmont
Video of the interviews will be posted to svvsd.org later this week.
More information: The agenda is posted to stvrain.k12.co.us/boardOfEducation/meetingsMinutes/.
"We have to make sure kids, at their start, have the support," he said.
The school board needs to collaborate with the community and ensure the public understands the district's priorities, he said.
"It's going to be a difficult road ahead," Hanuman said. During an interview with the Times-Call on Tuesday, he also said the district might need to consider another mill-levy override, but he did not bring that up during Wednesday's interview.
Rod Schmidt, District F director, said after the interviews that he wishes both Siegrist and Hanuman could join the school board.
Both have valuable skill sets that would bring new and different talents to the school board, he said.
"I'm going to wrestle with that for the next week," Schmidt said.