Software saleswoman Barbra Chase Burke said she wants to help take politics out of the Douglas County School District board. The Roxborough parent, running as Barbra Chase, seeks the District B seat now held by term-limited board president John Carson.
A total of four school board seats will be up for grabs in the November election.
“Let’s take the politics out of education,” said the mother of two DCSD students. “I’m running as unaffiliated on purpose. I think there’s a trend of people that are wanting the same: Let’s focus on our kids, and that’s it.”
Chase describes herself as a “passionate advocate of Douglas County Schools,” but one who also is concerned about the district.
“I’m concerned with the growing class size,” she said. “I am concerned with fewer instructional hours for high school (students). I am concerned about the number of private meetings held by the board. I want to put the public back in public schools.”
She has a particular interest in electives.
“Because of my involvement with parent/teacher groups, the lack of funding and the cutting of specials like gym, art and music across the district, I’m very passionate about specials and having a well-rounded education for everybody,” she said.
Despite her concerns, Chase has kind words for district officials.
“I think we have really great people in our district and big hearts on the board,” she said. “Everybody’s shared value is the best education for our kids. We can all improve, but until I’m sitting there, I don’t think I have the right be critical.”
The Iowa native credits her success in life to a public school education.
She served as executive director of the Roxborough Elementary School Parent Teacher Involvement Committee that helped add another school building in the unincorporated area of northwest Douglas County. Roxborough Intermediate, serving third through sixth graders, opened in 2008, alleviating crowding at the original school building. That structure became Roxborough Primary, and serves preschool through second graders.
Chase also volunteers with the parent/teacher group at Ranch View Middle School.
She owned a now-closed company called Organization in-a-box, which helped guide the operations of community-based organizations. In 2010, the company launched PTO in-a-box for parent teacher organizations.
Her husband Sean also has been heavily involved in the Roxborough schools and DCSD.
The Burkes worked with other Roxborough residents to create One Roxborough, the bedroom community’s version of a town council.
As busy as her life is, Chase said she has time to serve on the board.
“I think we all have time,” she said. “The question is priority. I will make time because it’s a priority not only for my kids, but because I love kids. I think I can help be responsible for their experiences and their memories and their preparedness for whatever lies in their future.”
Chase joins a growing slate of school board candidates.
Other declared candidates include Ronda Scholting, Nick Land and incumbent Meghann Silverthorn in District G; as well as Kevin Leung and Stephen Wayne Boyd in District D. Current board members Carrie Mendoza of District D, and Doug Benevento of District E, whose terms expire in November, have not yet declared their candidacy.