For this upcoming election, Nov. 5, voters will see three open school board seats, and three candidates to fill those seats on the ballot. Those candidates are: Linda Ewing is running for District 2, Beth Suppes is running for District 3, and Dan Burke for District 4. Each seat is for a four term, and are considered a director for the Delta County Board of Education. School board directors are voted for at large, so voters can vote in each district that appears on the ballot.
DCI sat down with each candidate and asked a few questions. The following is one of three candidate question and answers. The other candidates’ answers will be published in following editions.
Candidate: Beth Suppes; Occupation: Bookkeeper/Childcare Provider
Q: What information about your family would you like to share?
A: My husband Don and I have been married for 11 years and have 9 year old twin boys who attend fourth grade at Cedaredge Elementary School. We own and operate our small business which has been serving our community since 2002. Our boys keep us busy with school activities, piano lessons and competitions. They just finished up the fall baseball season which Don helped coach. Don is currently serving his first term as Delta County commissioner. I am very proud of my family.
Q: How long have you lived in Delta County? Are you a native/ originally from Delta County? If not, how did you end up here?
A: I am so blessed to live in a paradise that so many only get to visit. I was born and raised right here in Delta. In fact, my Step-Dad still lives in the home he and my mom were married at and raised us in. I wish we could turn back time and bring back the way of life I enjoyed here as a child. I take my roots here seriously and love to frequent places that I have been enjoying my entire life. Hiking, camping, hunting, ranching and farming are in my blood and I love having the opportunity to raise my boys as close as I can to that same way of life that I grew up with.
Q: What is your education background?
A: I attended Delta schools from kindergarten through high school graduation. (I) have so many memories of Garnet Mesa Elementary where I went from kindergarten to second grade; Lincoln Elementary for third and fourth; moving down to the middle school to attend fifth and sixth in the wing that no longer stands; then over to seventh and eighth grade at the school that is now home to the Delta Performing Arts Center along with Bella Pre-School; and then finally moving back up the hill to attend Delta High School.
Q: How are you currently involved in your community?
A: I have truly enjoyed helping in various fundraisers and charitable opportunities in the community. Being able to help locals in need is truly rewarding.
Q: Why are you running for school board? Is this your first time to run?
A: I am excited to start my board member experience on the Delta County School Board. The current board and I are like-mined in keeping the budget working for the students, the staff and the tax payers of Delta County. We owe it to our local families to offer the best education in each and every school of Delta County — their children are the future of our community. I will strive as a board member to continue to spend taxpayer dollars responsibly to assure the best for Delta County School District students and staff.
Q: What skills and knowledge do you believe you would bring to the board?
A: My experience is unique in that I have had the opportunity to spend the last four years in the classrooms of Cedaredge Elementary School as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional. When our twins started school I renewed my Colorado Substitute License that I first acquired in 2001. I wanted to be as involved as I could with our boys’ education alongside being able to continue operating the financial side of our business. I will add that I did take advantage of the school calendar which gave me the shorter work days, weekends, evenings and breaks off to spend with my boys. In addition to my time at the school, I want to bring the financial mind of a small business owner to the school district budget to assure common sense spending. The current board has done an outstanding job staying in line with this.
Q: What do you see as the top two issues currently facing Delta County School District schools, and how would you address them?
A: The board is considering the pros and cons of consolidating the North Fork High Schools. As most of the rooted North Fork community knows, this issue has been around since the ’50s. I think we owe this issue our due diligence and will put my focus on the facts. I don’t feel like a decision can be made at this time without a cost analysis that will break down the savings for the district, as well as, the amount of spending needed if it does come into fruition. School funding is and will continue to be an issue. Our money comes mostly from the state with a 20/80 split. We need to educate our citizens about school funding so that they are aware that our property taxes cannot fund our students and we have become reliant on the state and now have to follow more of their unfunded rules.
Q: What’s one thing you believe the district could do better? Why?
A: I feel that the schools throughout our district need to be evenly represented. I feel like it would be invaluable to our cause to make sure that the board equally represents each school in the district to assure that there is not one school being favored over another. In turn this will give each and every student in Delta County the same opportunity.
Q: Are you in support of Ballot Issue 5A? Why or why not?
A: As a property owner, I have looked hard at this issue. The fact is that my kids ride the outdated buses in question. Even though we transport them to/from school they still ride them on field trips. 49 of the 65 buses Delta County School Districts own and operate are 15 years old or older. I think that fact alone proves that the district has been responsible in using these buses to their full potential. On the other hand, it also proves that it is time to replace the aging fleet. I feel that the current board did an amazing job asking for such a conservative amount to do this and that they put a sunset on the increase. At the cost of $110,000 per bus — I think that 5A is an appropriate way to make sure school transportation is safely working for all of our students.
Q: What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
A: My biggest adventure thus far, was the 38 weeks I was pregnant with our twins. We endured many medical miracles and it was all owed to so many in our community who prayed for us. We ran into people we had never met who were so excited to see the boys that they had prayed for. Our two miracles and I made it through what specialists told us we couldn’t. I was on strict bed rest for six months of the pregnancy and delivered two boys; Christian who weighed in at 7.7 and spent the first couple of days in NICU, and Harrison who weighed 8.15. They have brought us so much joy and continue to bring us daily adventures.