(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
WHO ARE THEY?: Here is a look at the unopposed candidates in the local 2019 election, who will probably represent you in the future…
With Election Day around the corner, coming at you on Nov. 5, the Chewelah Independent is looking at the unopposed candidates in the local elections. While they will more than likely win their races, here is why they’re running for their positions.
DAN KROUSE, CHEWELAH SCHOOL BOARD
Dan Krouse, a longtime Spokane Firefighter and parent in the Chewelah School District, is running unopposed for a seat on the school board after seeing that no one was running for the position.
“In firefighting, we have to get along, even if we don’t agree, and we have to come together to work and work for a common goal,” Krouse said.
He added he is coming into the position with an open mind after being in the school district since 1993 and having had three kids go through it.
“It has been a really positive experience for my kids overall,” Krouse said. “Two of my kids are now going to school to be teachers and they had to get that from someone. The high school staff was just phenomenal.”
Krouse said he would like to see increased communication as the district handles things like the McCleary Decision which he felt threw kinks in the negotiation process for teachers. He’d like to see increased transperancy in the district and said he wants to be approachable by everyone with questions about the district.
He said he likes the fact that a nearly completely new school board means things won’t be set in stone with “the way things have always been done.”
“It will be a good enviroment for new things to happen and a team effort to bring change,” Krouse said. “The current school board has done a great job and I think this is a changing of the guard.”
KYRA ROLSTAD, CHEWELAH SCHOOL BOARD
Kyra Rolstad recently retired from teaching math at JJSHS and said she feels like she understands the strengths and weaknesses of the district.
“I wish to use this knowledge to serve our community,” Rolstad said. “I see the need for future planning for the financial needs of our district. I realize we have limited resources for our schools and we need to use these resources wisely. These resources include teachers and support staff, principals, as well as finances. I love our community and have a vested interest in its success.”
Rolstad said that the district has a dedicated staff, devoted to working with our children, but the challenges facing the district include the the facilities and the lack of security for our students and staff. Rolstad said she doesn’t feel the high school is secure, with anyone being able to walk in off the street.
“We must secure our buildings at Gess and at Jenkins,” Rolstad said. “Also, JJSHS has a heating system that could stop working at any moment and to repair the system would take time. The building would have to be closed for repairs.”
Plumbing at JJSHS and an unused middle school building is also an issue the district will need to address immediately, Rolstad said.
She said she feels the public needs more communication with our district as well, if the district wants support from the community.
Teaching contracts, too, have deeply troubled Rolstad.
“I am deeply troubled that for the last two years, the teachers and support staff have not received a contract,” she said. “It has come at a huge cost to the morale at our district. The division between the negotiation teams needs to be addressed. It is a broken system.”
Rolstad added that technology is outdated while new curriculum is demanding better access to newer technology for students.
“Most of the new curriculum is now online and our students need computers that are reliable,” she said. “Staff needs training to be current with new teaching methods and must be supported. The school board will need to set the vision and goals for the district and adopt policies to achieve these goals.
She added that students are unified and have an excellent environment to learn and that these students are willing to accept the special needs of diverse groups and are kind to those who are not like themselves.
“The programs that the district has in place are working and need to be supported,” Rolstad said. “An example of this is the Pride program at the high school which is how the high school is addressing inequity.”
Overall Rolstad said she is looking forward to the opportunity to represent the community.
[Note: While Sean Peterson is on the ballot opposing Rolstad, he is encouraging people to vote for Rolstad]
EVAN SCHALOCK, CHEWELAH CITY COUNCIL
Evan Schalock will be running for a second term on the Chewelah City Council and said that the driving force for him running again is a love for his community.
“We have an amazing town with a tremendous amount of people that not only support it but want to see it continue to thrive in the future,” Schalock said. “The community energy as a whole and the synergy between numerous groups makes you feel excited for our town, it really pushes you out the door to do whatever you can to make Chewelah a better place to live and to do business in.”
Since moving back to Chewelah a couple of years ago, Schalock has been a busy guy serving time on the council, taking leadership roles in the Chamber of Commerce and volunteering for the Chewelah Fire Department.
“It allows you to look at the town in a number of different lenses and be a part of multiple projects,” Schalock said.
Schalock has been involved in the city’s purchase and development of the airport, aiding in the selection of Chewelah for the Washington Department of Commerce test pilot program, and many other programs and activities in the community.
Schalock said he will focus on the city to become a better place to do business in.
“A big part of living in a small town is having businesses that are healthy and vibrant, and while we’ve had a recent resurgence in businesses in our downtown; I would love to see that momentum continue,” Schalock said. “There is a tremendous movement right now that is focusing on taking advantage of all the recreation/outdoor activities in and around our community and I hope this movement will continue.”
Schalock said the recreational opportunities can be used to Chewelah’s advantage and the town could see a level of success and prosperity that was once only a dream.
“I believe that the one thing that individuals will get when voting for me is a person that truly loves this town and one that caries a tremendous amount of pride each and every day to belong to this community,” he said. “One of my main goals as a councilman and community member is to show each and every individual in this town that each decision that is made is with the best intention for Chewelah and always strives to make this place a better town to live in while still retaining its charm and feel.”
BRYAN TIDWELL, CHEWELAH SCHOOL BOARD
You may have seen Bryan Tidwell’s name in the Chewelah Independent before as he is the manager of the Chewelah Library. A father of three, with two enrolled in Quartzite Learning through the district, Tidwell is hoping to come into the board position with a fresh perspective, willing to work on change and communicate with the community.
He said his main focus would be teacher retention, hoping to support staff, keep them from leaving the district and attracting new teachers here who would in turn bring their families to the community.
Another topic would be helping the district maintain both a strong public school system along with alternative forms of education like the Quartzite Learning Center.
“I have always been a big advocate for public education and we don’t homeschool our kids because we think it’s better. It was a choice we made as a family and it was the best fit for us,” Tidwell said. “I would like for people to have two oustanding options for their kids: to go to public school or be in Quartzite Learning. I’ve heard from some families that have pulled kids from the district to homeschool because they’re frustrated, and I really don’t want to see people choose homeschooling because they feel like it’s their only option. We can do better than that.”
Tidwell wants to provide quality options to all families with different needs. In the world of public school districts, this means dealing with budgets and lots of collaboration, and this is something Tidwell is familiar with and versed in.
Budget-wise, Tidwell pointed out that there are needs in the community such as the aging boiler at the high school that need to be addressed because kicking the can down the road is no longer an option.
“You have to be willing to spend a little money and to ask voters for money when it’s necessary,” Tidwell said. “I understand that’s not easy in a community when money is tight.”
Tidwell pointed at the importance of investing in the community both in the school season and programs Pre-K, which has been shown in the area to be lacking in both options and having Kindergarten-ready kids.
Still Tidwell said its up to the school board to try and make transitions and changes as smooth as possible, adding that the board needs to make sure money is spent well and is holding all powers at be accountable.
“I’m curious to come into this situation with new eyes,” Tidwell said. “We’re looking at basically a new board, and a lot of us have something to learn.”
But, the days of finding replacement parts on ebay need to change in the school district, Tidwell said.
Tidwell said he would also like to foster more community involvement and communication within the school district.
“The investment I see sometimes is haphazard,” he added. “Some parents, teachers and admins are heavily invested in the school and city but then I also see a lot of people who see the school as just a place to send their kid during the day.”
Tidwell said parents need to play an important role in their child’s education and the school board needs to work on making it more inviting for them to come in the door.
“I feel like running unopposed speaks to folks not being sure if they can be involved,” Tidwell said. “I would rather not run unopposed. It would be so much better to have someone debating issues with me and creating conversations with voters.”
Tidwell concluded that he hopes to be able to represent the school board and provide a unique perspective to the position.
BRUCE NUPP, CHEWELAH CITY COUNCIL
After serving on the Chewelah City Council from 2008-2012, Bruce Nupp is running unopposed for the No. 5 position again.
For a brief moment during filing week, it looked like he would run against his wife Carra Nupp for the spot, but it was all in good fun as Carra was choosing not to run again due to life commitments.
Nupp believes that the city needs to make some changes and that the senior citizens in town need a voice on the council.
While a council member, he was the leading member to bring an Off-Road-Vehicle Ordinance to the council’s attention and it’s still in effect today.
“I can no longer remain dormant,” Nupp said. “I have watched the city fail to meet the wants and needs of the people. I believe that when re-elected, I can be a part of the charge that is greatly needed.”