School board candidates available at forum

Submitted by Dustin Paul
Posted 11/1/22

Dear Editor: 

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to a recent “Letter to the Editor” piece that was directly implied and targeted towards a handful of  …

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School board candidates available at forum


Dear Editor: 

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to a recent “Letter to the Editor” piece that was directly implied and targeted towards a handful of  individuals running for PCSD1 school board, myself included, and a large portion of the parents and community members in our district. 

I’m sure as a community we can all agree that we have incredible schools, educators and parents in this wonderful little town we live in. Being a current parent in the district as well as an alumnus, my heart is rooted in our community and district! My wife and I feel very blessed to have our children be able to be a part of PCSD1. We’ve always seen a lot of care, compassion and understanding  from the teachers and administrators. Integral honesty, along with complete drive for each student to succeed, is truly what we’ve seen from so many of the  teachers at PCSD1. My wife and I both credit PCSD1 for our own education from K-12, and love getting to see our own children experience so many  wonderful teachers, as well as nostalgic memories from PSCD1 traditions, such as the kindergarten circus, grandparents’ day, fifth grade field trips, PHS homecoming, and that list could go on of course! PSCD1 has a vital impact in so many Powell traditions and even culture among our community and all our  families.  

Although when Mr. Borcher makes the statement “I am, however, concerned about the upcoming election as there is a lot of misinformation being circulated in our community as to what is or isn’t being taught in our schools. Most of it comes from people who read stuff on the internet and then repeat it as  if it were happening in our schools.”  

After reading statements like this from a current school board member and knowing how he views myself and other parents in our community I can say this is a direct reflection of why myself and other community members are stepping up  and running for these positions. With five children, three of which are currently in the district, my wife and I are the first and foremost educators of our children and we take the role very seriously. We are deeply involved in all our children’s education and each aspect of their day; homework, social interactions, as well as teacher/para interactions. So, when I read a statement like this, I find it very insulting to my wife and I as parents, as well as the fellow parents in our community that we know to be deeply involved in their children’s education as well. When we decided that I would run for this position my wife and I teamed up  with an amazing group of local parents and began to dive deep into Wyoming education and our local districts. We’ve spent hours talking with parents and  hearing their concerns and struggles, collaborating with educators we know,  participating in web seminars, as well as working with many of the children in our  district through our Taekwondo classes. “Reading stuff on the internet and then  repeat it as if it were happening in our schools.” Shows just how out of touch the board currently is with the members of their community. Mr. Borcher also stated, “Our public schools are not to be politicized, whether it comes from the right or  the left, as we represent ALL students.” Yes, we are in agreement with that statement! 

However, that is exactly what we want is for ALL of our kids to go to class to learn math, science, literature, social studies, composition, the arts, health and physical education. It needs to be a politically neutral learning environment. As I  keep having people in these upper district roles tell me how neutral everything is, I’ve had my kids bring home a “Time for Kids” magazine that was presented to them  in their fourth grade class with the topic of, “Kids march, all over the country, young people are speaking out for social justice.” And the cover has kids with BLM signs  saying, “Black people deserve to feel safe.” In that article it quotes, “We want our daughters to be aware of the privilege they carry (as white people)”. 

My wife and I had discussions with the teacher and principal about it, asking why this was being covered and if it was appropriate when it discusses the privilege they carry as white people? In that, the principal and teachers have always been extremely responsive in working with us as parents. Politically charged pieces like this are not part of the core education, what we send our kids to school for. So, while some members that are on the board or currently running for board keep saying that our schools are so neutral, I would have to  disagree. We’ve also seen several other politically opinionated pieces come home with our kids, all that had an agenda or propaganda attached to it. Seeing these things that need to be addressed at a district level is what we’ve reached out to the board members about, and the board was simply non-responsive. We’ve  also had parents come together emailing the board about certain policies they wanted addressed or used to be proactive with the current issues we face, and again board members were non-responsive and never attempted to listen or even reach out to any of us.  

In response to Mr. Borcher’s statement regarding parent involvement in the district: We’ve had numerous parents approach my wife and I with their frustrations about board members non-responsiveness to emails of the parent’s questions and concerns.The struggle is apparent and clear when it comes to attempting to get on the agenda for a board meeting, as well as transparency of  the board minutes. The district uses a very antiquated system of technology when it comes to communication about board meetings. Minutes are not uploaded regularly, and the electronic school board is not easily accessible for parents. There is zero outreach to parents for their feedback or input when it comes to district polices, curriculum, and even social and bullying issues that have taken place in our schools. It is clear and concise at just how out of tune the current board members truly are with our community members and the parents. So, in rebuttal to Mr. Bocher’s claim to try and get parents more involved in their children’s education: This is us the parents, getting more involved by running for these positions making sure the parents voices are finally getting heard regarding the education of our future generations.  

Striving for excellence in our education system is an important thing to always be doing, however parent transparency and collaboration is what will help our children and even families truly thrive. 

To enhance all candidate’s transparency and to give the community and  parents the opportunity to be able to voice any questions or concerns regarding PCSD1, we invite all candidates and community members to The Commons on Wednesday at 6 p.m. to participate in an open forum, hosted by the PCSD1 Parents Group. Questions of all community members will be taken at the door and be presented to the candidates (given the time limit) to give them the  opportunity to clarify exactly how they will represent our community as board members.  

God bless and we hope to see everyone Wednesday at 6 p.m. at The  Commons. 

Dustin Paul