This week several Landmark Academy students sat down with Gateway Reporter Dustie McIntyre and told him what questions they would like the candidates running for office to answer.

Click on comments below to read the responses from the candidates.


Dick Hodge, Candidate for Mayor, Brighton said...

Sydney about term limits. Term limits were first widely thought of in the 1940's when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in his 4th term as President of the United States. Since then the idea has gained popularity all across the country. At the local level, there has been strong support by voters for term limits. The good side is that fresh ideas come with new candidates. The bad news we lose experience and become more dependant on hired staff to provide the "Institutional Memory" that used to come with serving longer in office. Proposals to extend the length of service seem to make a good compromise at the local level. There has not been a shortage of good candidates offering to serve in either Brighton or Commerce City.

Gabby about the higher tax in Prairie Center: The higher "Tax" in Prairie center, or PIF, was a private agreement between the developer of the center and the retail stores there. The money is used to pay for the streets, lights, water and sewer in the area. The other choices would have been to have the whole City of Brighton pay for the development. That would have required a "Tabor" election. Any new tax in Colorado must be voted on by the people who will pay it. The City has a policy of "growth pays its own way." Those who benefit directly from these new stores, streets, and water and the store owners themselves pay for it without taxing anyone who doesn't want to shop there.

Connecting Tower to Buckley: Yes, the Planning Departments and City Councils of Brighton and Commerce City have worked together and have a plan ready for that connection. The question again is how and when to pay for it.

Rocco, About Sable remaining farmland. The City of Brighton has an open space plan which emphasizes valuable open space. The Sable Corridor is important. Hard parts to get over are: Farmers really don't want to farm the small fields there, and moving farm equipment around on busy highways is dangerous, Farmers can sell their land for buildings for a lot more money than for farming. To take away their right to do that would be a "Taking" by government and would have to be paid for by that government. Money again. The Tool which has not been completely developed is the "conservation easement" where a farmer gets paid to promise not to develop the land...ever. Several of these are around the area. New styles of farming like Berry Patch and McIntosh Dairy would be a good model to copy.

Spenser about the mail in ballot: Mail in ballots have become more popular in the form of absentee ballots in recent elections. They have been the only way to vote in several of the recent local elections. In general more people get to vote this way and questions about security seem to not be much of an issue. I think anything that gets more people to vote is a good thing,

Thanks to all for really good questions.
Dick Hodge, Candidate for Mayor, Brighton

Joan Kniss said...

Joan Kniss, Candidate for District 27J Board of Education District 4

Dear Landmark Students, I am very impressed that you are so involved with your community. Good for you! These questions were "hard hitting."
Sidney, President Obama has called for longer school days and longer school years. One of the concerns is that some students lose a lot of learning over the three months of summer. What I would like to see is a change in the way the school year is organized. I would like for students to go about nine weeks and then have a two week period of time for enrichment for students who want to learn more in-depth about a particular subject or for remediation for students who might need some extra help to learn a subject then back to "regular" school for nine weeks and then the special two week period for special learning opportunities. When it comes time for summer, I would like to see it shortened to about a month and then back to school for the nine weeks of "regular" school and two weeks of opportunities. I would go along with adding one more hour to the school day; however, I would not want to add much more time. When I was a teacher, I knew that many of my students did "learning" activities after school: music lessons, church activities, 4H, Boy/Girls Scouts, sports, jobs, and good family time. I think it is important to leave time at the end of the day for students to become involved in a wide variety of activities. Being in school isn't the only way to learn. I am curious what you think?

Spencer, Yes, I definitely think eighth graders should take high school classes if their middle schools do not offer the class. For example, in our school district we have had eighth graders go to Brighton High School for advanced math classes that were not offered at their middle schools. Sometimes transportation to and from the high school is a problem, but nothing that can't be resolved. I am glad to see that you are interested in challenging yourself.

Elijah, The role of the school board is mentioned in the Colorado Constitution. As a school board member, I am responsible for "the organization of the learning environment, the implementation of curriculum, the selection of textbooks, the configuration of school facilities, staffing, and necessary programs in which to create safe and academically-rich opportunities for students." In addition to those state responsibilities, I feel that a school board member should attend schools events (be sure you ask me to Landmark's events), ask community members (that includes students) about their goals/hopes for the school district, and learn about educational issues in the state,nation, and world. We can accelerate your learning by offering challenging subjects and educational opportunities for you.

Rocco, Did you know by 2013 the school district's newest high school Prairie View will be overcrowded unless we build "high school #3"? In order to build a new high school, the school district needs to ask the voters for money in order to build. We do this by asking the voters to approve a bond issue. Committees are working right now to study whether we should ask the voters in November 2010. If the voters say "yes," then we will need to find the best place for the new building. The planners in the district look at where we have the most people and need a new school. We currently have enough land in Reunion on which we can build a new high school. We are also looking to buy land in other places in the district so we have other choices for high school sites. So...between now and next November the school district is doing a lot of work so that we can be sure we have enough room for our high school students. Perhaps as the school district continues its work, you can attend a meeting and give your ideas.
Once again, students, thanks for caring about your community. If you have any other questions, please, feel free to email me at

Jason_Mc said...

First off - Thank you Landmark students for your interest in this years elections.

Sienna, A grocery store in the northern range of Commerce City is crucial, and a top priority of City Council and the City's Economic Development team. The good news is that Walmart has taken steps to get their project at 104th and Tower moving, and we hope to see them start in 2010 and open in 2011. We also continue to keep the dialog going between the City and several other potential grocers

Elijah, Robberies in Reunion and elsewhere in the Northern Range are a big concern. As a current Council Member, I can tell you that we are as concerned as you are. We have worked closely with our police department and they are moving ahead with a plan to add a police presence in teh North, and will be opening a sub-station at the new firehouse on 104th and Walden in Reunion. This, along with efforts by the Neighborhood watch groups around the City will be a key step in helping to reduce instances of robbery here our community...but it's just a start, and everyone needs to play a role in keeping watch over our community.

Sydney - Term limits are an interesting subject. My personal opinion is that two consecutive terms is sufficient, and that a break following those two terms before being allowed to come back makes sense, however there are clearly times where we could benefit from the continued service of select representatives.

Gabby, Regarding future plans to connect Tower to Buckley, and Mr. Hodge explains that is part of the future plan to improves connectivity between Brighton and Commerce City. I believe that the new road would tentatively be named High Plains Parkway. This is a project that could be a great opportunity for Commerce City and Brighton to work together for the benefit of both of our communities.

Thanks you for the opportunity ti answer your questions Landmark!

Councilman Jason McEldowney

Shelley MartindelCampo, 27J District 4 said...

Thank you Landmark Academy for the opportunity to answer your questions!
Hi Spencer, I think this year's mail in ballot system will work just fine and it will provide our 27J voting families the opportunity to cast their vote for the open seats on the Board of Education. I think it is important for all families to participate in any election, as it is our priviledge to have a say in who represents us on the Board of Education. Please remind your parents to vote!

Hi Rocco, Because our school district has grown so much over the past few years, and will continue to grow into the future, I think it is imporant that we have enough space for everyone to learn. With Reunion being one of our newest communities, I think it is important to build a new high school. If we don't build the third high school, our classrooms will get too large and our students will have to compete for instruction time. The Board of Education will look closely at the best location for a new high school.

Hi Sydney, When we talk about adding hours to a students school day or changing the school year, it becomes very confusing for everyone. I believe some adjustments can be made to our school calendar, but in order to make any changes we need to keep in mind how those changes will affect our 27J families. I do not think we should extend the amount of time our students are in school. I believe our current daily schedue is adequate. I do think we can make adjustments in the amount of time our students are off during the summer. By shortening our summer break, we can add great education time for each student.
Sydney, the second part of your question was about 8th grade students taking high school classes. I think that if an 8th grade student has reached a point in the academnic studies that they can move into 9th grade work, it should be done. However, it should only be done on a student per student basis.

Hi Elijah, The role of a school board member is very broad. I believe that when a citizen is elected to represent the families in his or her district, that person must be willing to work effortlessly to communicate with school staff, parents, and most importantly, you the student. The board member is there to do a variety of things, which can include overseeing how the district spends money and what books are used in the classrooms. More importantly, the accountability of the district as a whole.
I think our schools can accelerate learning by offering its students enrichment classes after school that broaden the range of their learning. By thinking outside the box and providing our students with the opportunity to participate in other areas of interest, their academic knowledge expands and this teaches them critical thinking skills and how to 'think outside the box'.

Thanks again Landmark Academy for allowing me the opportunity to answer your questions. If elected as YOUR District 4 representative, I look forward to meeting you in person and continuing our conversation. Thanks again!

Johanna Brown, candidate for 27J District 5 said...

From Johanna Brown, candidate for 27J District 5

Will we be getting a new high school near Reunion ?

When we pass the bond to ensure funding for a high school, it will go in near 96th and Buckley.

Will we be able to take high school classes when we are in 8th grade?

Our current 8th grade students are able to take classes that represent classes that 9th graders are taking. As such, an 8th grader can enter 9th grade and start taking classes typical of 10th grade students.

What is the role of a school board member? And how do you help us accelerate our learning?

The School Board sets the vision and provides the resources, then tells the Superintendent (their only employee) to make it happen - with monthly monitoring of progress.

Are you a proponent of a longer school year?

I would support any decisions that are made at the federal or local legislative level to increase or maintain the current length of school year. We have to remember that our traditional school vision is not ensuring that all children graduate and succeed in school, but lengthening the school year is not necessarily the solution. We have to do something for all of our student’s successes, lengthening the school year is one way to do this, there are other ways we can do this as well.