Colorado Springs School District 11
Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot.

Morgan Chavez

  • Contact Information:

    E-mail: morgand11schoolboard@gmail.com Website: fb.me/MorganD11SchoolBoard.com Phone: 719-930-0040 Education: Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, UCCS Occupation: Senior Service consultant, Progressive Insurance

  • Why are you running for school board and what makes you the best candidate?

    I am running for school board to be a fresh, progressive voice for the community. I believe I am the best candidate because I will bring a new energy and I will serve with compassion. I am an advocate for truth and knowledge. I know the value education has and I am committed to supporting parents, teachers, and support staff on all levels. I am a firm believer of open and free communication between the board and the community.

  • What are the most pressing challenges for your district this year and how will you address them?

    The most pressing problem the district is facing right now is the budget shortfall. This leads to teacher pay that is not competitive to be able to retain the most talented teachers. I am worried this will ultimately cause a teacher shortage. I am hopeful this will be able to be addressed by passing the proposed Mill Levy. If the Mill Levy fails the board should work with our state representatives to address the funding at the legislative level.

  • How will you address the effect of reduced public school funding resulting from the imposed “negative factor?”

    The obvious answer for an immediate budget solution is to get voters in the district to pass the Mill Levy that is on the ballot. If the Mill Levy doesn’t pass the board should work closely with our state representatives to find a funding solution. The Colorado economy is rebounding now from where it was in 2009 but the schools haven’t seen any corresponding rebound in our funds from the state. If the legislative option doesn’t pan out the only other option would be further cuts to the budget but only where it would have the smallest impact to learning.

  • What is your position on public school choice? Should taxpayer dollars be used for private school choice?

    I love all the options that public school choice has allowed parents. I take advantage of this option for my own children. I hope that option remains open for those who want to utilize it. Tax dollars should not, under any circumstances, be used for private schools or any kind of voucher program. Anything that takes money away from public school’s budgets that are already stretched incredibly thin is not a good option.

  • What steps should be taken to acknowledge the rights of LGBTQ students and create inclusive learning environments?

    Schools need to be a safe and positive environment for all students. This includes all LGBTQ students, without exception. I think schools should incorporate age appropriate conversations and/or specific curriculum on inclusion and acceptance. I also believe Transgender students should be allowed to use the facilities that align with their gender identity. The district should also be opening the conversation to the community and hosting town halls style meeting and/or learning workshops to engage parents in the topic as well.

  • What role should the arts play in public education?

    I have always been a firm supporter of the arts. I think a truly great society is evident in their appreciation of the arts. I would love to see very strong programs in music and art in every school. I think art is also a great way to build a bridge with the community. My daughter’s school has top-notch art and music teachers that work together to put on a full musical every year. I think this is something the community would love to see and should be welcomed to see.

  • Considering the frequency of youth suicides recently, how can your district better meet the social/emotional needs of students?

    In addition to being able to increase the counseling staff throughout the middle and high schools, I think teachers should receive training so they can better recognize a student that is struggling. Every school needs to have a very clear plan for crisis intervention and every teacher, principal, and counselor should have access to all resources within the district and community to help these students.

  • How is your district responding to reported hate incidents? What specific changes would you suggest?

    The district has a confidential reporting system that allows people who are the victim or witness to an incident to report it anonymously. I would not suggest any specific changes right now to the response to incidents. I think we would be better served trying to address inclusion and acceptance before it develops into a hate incident.

  • How should your district ensure a religiously neutral learning environment that respects all students? Do current district policies adequately address religious expression, intelligent design, and holiday celebrations?

    I think the district has maintained as much of a religiously neutral learning environment as possible in this city. That is a very tough question to answer in this city. I would like to see religion kept out of schools. But the even the school calendar is arranged around Christian holidays so I don’t think it is possibly entirely. Because of this it should be in every school’s parent handbook that religious holidays are always excused absences. I am not sure what else I would like to see addressed but I will research that further.

Julie Ott

Shawn Gullixon

  • Contact Information:

    E-Mail: gullixonforD11@gmail.com Website: gullixonford11.com Phone: 719-373-5553 Occupation: Vectra Bank Vice President

  • Why are you running for school board and what makes you the best candidate?

    I want our kids to have access to workforce resources to be better prepared for their careers earlier in life; I want to support our teachers in developing outside-the-box teaching approaches in order to connect more effectively with each child’s unique learning style; and I want our overall property values to increase as D-11 once again becomes the standard for excellence and innovation in education. I build bridges; my background in the business and non-profit communities opens doors for students and teachers, critical to building a strong local workforce and graduating students who have mastered the art of learning.

  • What are the most pressing challenges for your district this year and how will you address them?

    We have a long list of infrastructure needs within and outside the classroom. We currently have a plan to address these needs over time, but not soon enough to stay competitive in education. We must retain our talented teachers and support them in the classroom through technology and community engagement. We can speed up the capital investments and teacher retention by passing the MLO in November, and I am committed to four years of seeing our plan through and delivering on the BOE’s promise to manage your tax funds responsibly and with transparency.

  • How will you address the effect of reduced public school funding resulting from the imposed “negative factor?”

    Strategic, responsible spending and transparency will be key in addressing overall reduced funding from the negative factor. Additionally, I believe we will see growth over the next ten years because of infill initiatives and our status as the fastest growing city in Colorado. D-11 will be proactive in engaging new and existing families and key partnership in the community to make sure our messaging is strong, and our students are performing, which will keep investments in the district. The MLO is necessary to position the district to be competitive and building out the classroom of the future.

  • What is your position on public school choice? Should taxpayer dollars be used for private school choice?

    Competition is healthy, but I also believe our schools are prepared to offer every student a great education - especially with the help of our community. Charters should serve a specific purpose that our public schools simply cannot provide before being approved as a district charter. I also believe charters should be held to the same accountability and performance standards as public schools.

  • What steps should be taken to acknowledge the rights of LGBTQ students and create inclusive learning environments?

    I believe D-11 is a leader in being inclusive of all students and families, regardless of sexual orientation, race, and socioeconomic background. Our schools are a place of belonging and should always be focused on creating a space where every student feels comfortable learning. The District should continue to equip school resource officers and counselors with the tools and training to support a safe, encouraging environment.

  • What role should the arts play in public education?

    Arts should forever be a part of public education. The arts are a critical component of learning; art inspires students to understand the higher and human values of education. In addition, D-11 should leverage all available community partnerships and opportunities to engage our students in the arts. I have already begun work to connect local arts non-profits with our schools to supplement opportunities for our youth to experience and grow in the arts.

  • Considering the frequency of youth suicides recently, how can your district better meet the social/emotional needs of students?

    We are now participating in the Healthy Kids Survey. I advocated for limited censoring of questions because I believe every piece of data we can collect to fight against this issue is important. We have top talent (e.g. Cory Notestine) in our counseling department and it’s my priority to provide them the tools they need to be successful in addressing the emotional needs of our students and families. We have a series of upcoming events that will facilitate authentic discussions around teen suicide, and will be a huge step in addressing the issues involved.

  • How is your district responding to reported hate incidents? What specific changes would you suggest?

    We will continue to create a shared, open community space in our neighborhoods and schools. When a student feels they belong I believe hate disappears. I’m happy to say D11 experiences very little issues with hate as it relates to current national affairs. We are the most diverse district in COS and inclusion is a high priority.

  • How should your district ensure a religiously neutral learning environment that respects all students? Do current district policies adequately address religious expression, intelligent design, and holiday celebrations?

    We must abide by laws and regulations. It’s important that each student feel comfortable and confident in themselves, and in their beliefs. Each student has the choice to celebrate or not to celebrate certain holidays.

Jim Mason

  • Contact Information:

    E-mail: ejamesmason@msn.com Phone: 719-321-5820 Education: Knox College, BA, Political Science; Troy University, MS, Personnel Management; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Master of Military Arts and Science; and U.S. Army War College, Graduate/Strategic Studies Occupation: Defense Contractor/PARSONS, Inc.

  • Why are you running for school board and what makes you the best candidate?

    I seek re-election to continue work with Board colleagues, the Administration, Staff, and Parents/Guardians toward our goal of improving Student achievement through improved and increased educational opportunities; and maintenance of a high performing learning environment. After 4 years of work and decision-making, I have firsthand experience with the challenges facing the District and have assisted in formulating effective courses of action to accomplish our goals and objectives. My Priorities are: 1) Increase Student academic achievement opportunities; 2) Increase Staff professional development opportunities and compensation attributes; and 3) Increase and improve parental/guardian involvement.

  • What are the most pressing challenges for your district this year and how will you address them?

    Passage of the current Mill Levy Override initiative is paramount. This additional funding will allow the District to keep pace in hiring the best qualified Teachers and Staff, while providing the resources necessary to improve overall educational opportunities; classroom equipment; and maintenance of our aging Schools.

  • How will you address the effect of reduced public school funding resulting from the imposed “negative factor?”

    I will work with Board colleagues and District Administration to prioritize spending…we will strictly spend in accordance with established Goals and Objectives. As a Board, we will take every opportunity to communicate to the Legislature the dire consequences of reduced funding---while working to convince our D 11 citizenry to vote ‘Yes’ for the current Mill Levy Override initiative.

  • What is your position on public school choice?

    I support Public School Choice. Should taxpayer dollars be used for private school choice? No. In my thinking this is a personal decision, which should be underwritten by the decision-maker.

  • What steps should be taken to acknowledge the rights of LGBTQ students and create inclusive learning environments?

    Frankly, this is a matter of enforcing Laws, approved policies, and Standards of Conduct. LGBTQ Students are Students, like any other required enrollee in School; thus, they deserve to be treated with Dignity and Respect, just as every Student. As Public Education leaders, we must ensure there is a climate of Respect and Courage towards protecting and supporting the Rights of all people. I think District 11 leads by example in this area…with our demand that every Employee and Student, endeavor to treat each other with Dignity and Respect while pursuing the finest education and learning environment possible.

  • What role should the arts play in public education?

    The role of the arts is crucial in achieving a holistic education. Thus, I think the arts are a non-negotiable component of public education. I am proud to report…within District 11, we fight to maintain one of the most competitive and resourced Arts curriculum within El Paso County.

  • Considering the frequency of youth suicides recently, how can your district better meet the social/emotional needs of students?

    We must resource and make available Behavioral Science Professionals and the associated assets in providing increased access to care, counseling, and education for all…not only Students, but Employees and parents/guardians as well. In fact, this specific area is one we plan to significantly address through the Mill Levy initiative.

  • How is your district responding to reported hate incidents?

    We are increasing awareness and education, while undertaking measures that enhance the maintenance of safe and secure Schools; and school-sponsored events. What specific changes would you suggest? We must ensure a learning environment and professional culture of Dignity and Respect for all people; while enhancing physical security systems.

  • How should your district ensure a religiously neutral learning environment that respects all students? . Do current district policies adequately address religious expression, intelligent design, and holiday celebrations?

    First, we educate our Staff to guarantee full understanding of applicable Laws and requirements; then all must work collectively to ensure adherence. Do current district policies adequately address religious expression, intelligent design, and holiday celebrations? Yes.