Time for a new turn of phrase

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The Jeffco Schools school board line-up will be decidedly different following the results of the next election.

As we reported earlier this month, two of the board’s incumbents — Paula Noonan and Laura Boggs — have chosen not to run. And a third incumbent Robin Johnson will not be running due to relocation outside the district.

So board members Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman — each who are in the middle of first-terms — will be joined by three newcomers. Glad to say Dahlkemper and Fellman exhibit the type of solid leadership needed for this sea change, and the district itself stands sound.

Jeffco is the largest school district in the state; it tallies test scores higher than state average and has an impressive number of option and charter schools in its boundaries — providing plenty of options for its district’s students. Further, voters gave the district a vote of confidence approving a bond issue and mill-levy override in 2012.

Unfortunately some board interactions haven’t exceeded any standards in our gradebook, and have in fact been at times distracting and disappointing.

Who can forget that board member Laura Boggs was censured twice?

The gravity of the words she spoke to put herself into hot water can be debated interminably, but the incidents were considered disruptive enough for the board to slap her hands, and agreement in the community resonated. And Noonan took heat for a rambling commencement speech at Dakota Ridge High School in 2010. To her credit, she acknowledged her extemporaneous skills were not the best that day. In sum, the tone of the board has at times been too chippy, in spite of board chair’s efforts.

We were tempted to let these instances fade from memory, but we were stirred by comments from Boggs and Noonan in a story we published this month that indicated they did not feel their views have been as validated as they should be as board members. We disagree with them. Instead, we simply say their views were heard, and we value the comments they made — often raising concerns that were researched by Jeffco staff.

With a new day just around the corner, here’s our pitch for the candidate-elects-to-be.

Contribute your views to the flow of the process and remember a phrase often credited to Harry Truman: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

And know your role — be ready to answer questions at all times from media and the public. It’s fine to refer an inquiry to a Jeffco Schools expert, but at least have a short answer and share opinions. Remember being an elected official is a whole different ball game than residing in the private sector where media questions can be rechanneled to spokespeople. Those of you elected by the people should be ready to find the right words to respond to the people at all times.

And voters please give a listen to the interesting slate of candidates before making your choices.

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