School board candidate Tessa Kirchner: ‘Continue to be part of the solution’ | VailDaily.com

School board candidate Tessa Kirchner: ‘Continue to be part of the solution’

School board candidate and her son Canon Kirchner. He's a Battle Mountain High School grad in his sophomore year at Colorado State University.

EAGLE COUNTY — Tessa Kirchner was first elected to the school board in 2011, just in time to help do everything she could to keep two rounds of brutal budget cuts from hammering kids in classrooms.

She’s running again, just in time for what looks like another couple more years of lean times.

Ask her about all that and she smiles.

“I’ve been rewarded immensely, Kirchner said. “I truly am in awe of what’s happening in public education.”

“Miracles are happening,” she said.

She calls the issues “complex, tough and fantastic.”

Those 2011 budget cuts were tough, $9 million and 90 jobs over two years. Gov. John Hickenlooper told a statewide education group that another round might be coming over the next couple years.

Compounding that issue is the growing number of federal mandates, which tend to come with lots of demands but no money to meet them.

“These are tough and challenging times for school districts,” Kirchner said. “Education is hard, slow and tedious work, and you cannot get distracted by the silver bullets whizzing by.”

People seem to think the school district is making good decisions.

A 2014 poll found that 70 percent said the school district was headed in the right direction.

In 2015, 80 percent of those polled said the school district was headed in the right direction.

“I’d like to continue to be part of the solution,” Kirchner said.

Kirchner and fellow board member Felicia Battle helped launch the Education Foundation for Eagle County to partially offset state budget cuts when the economy tanked. She’s a board member of Great Education Colorado and is actively involved with the Colorado Association of School Boards.

She has said that for Colorado education funding, TABOR is the Death Star.

“It looks great hanging in the sky, but it’s tough to navigate through. In Colorado and in this district, it’s about the money,” Kirchner said.

Kirchner has been attending school board meetings since 2008.

“I have a deep belief in public education and its ability to make a great community, nation and society,” she said. “Parent involvement is a key part of any child’s education. It’s important to reach out to the community to let them know all the great things that are happening.”

She sandwiches her school board work with running a successful local property management business and raising children; the youngest is 11 at Homestake Peak School in Eagle-Vail, two sophomores at Battle Mountain High School, and the oldest is 19 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.




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