Anthony Graziano has lived in Castle Rock for 13 years. He has worked in information technology and software industries since 1995 and is currently a director of business development in IT. Graziano has a bachelor’s degree in political science from State University of New York at Albany and a master’s in education in human resource development from Colorado State University.
Campaign website: Grazianofordcsd.com
Why do you want to serve on the board of education?
I’ve decided to run for school board to ensure we put our students first, support quality public schools of all types and restore financial accountability within Douglas County School District with more money directed at students and not administration.
Following years of dissension, what can be done to bring a sense of unity to the Douglas County School District community?
The functionality of our school board is a critical element in bringing a sense of unity to our district. The community must trust that the Board of Education is working effectively, with sound principles and accountable practices. When the board consistently achieves consensus through constructive dialogue, healthy debate, and reasonable compromise, we can achieve our common goal — providing a high-quality, equitable public education for all students in Douglas County.
What are the most important traits to look for in the next superintendent?
The superintendent must possess the ability to openly communicate with staff, accept and adapt to constructive feedback, and implement academic practices that facilitate student growth. A solid background in school budgeting is critical, along with a positive history for attracting and retaining quality educators.
Should interim Superintendent Erin Kane be considered for the job on a permanent basis?
Yes, she has every right to apply if she wishes to pursue the position.
Is the increasing number of charter schools in Douglas County good for the school district?
I strongly support all our charter schools in Douglas County. As a district, we do need to be responsible in how we execute further growth. The number of schools in our district must correlate with the ability to provide an equitable, quality education for all students. This requires adequate enrollment and funding for all schools, achieved through thoughtful planning. All our school choices — charter, neighborhood, magnet — deserve to be successful.
Do you support the use of taxpayer-funded vouchers to pay for students to get an education at a private school?
I oppose private school vouchers in any form, due to the fact that they divert public tax dollars to private schools. I do not support any program that seeks to legalize vouchers and educational savings accounts, another form of vouchers. There is no data indicating that the majority of our community supports vouchers. I am an advocate for public school choice, where accountability of tax dollars can be maintained and governmental oversight is not forced on private schools.
Would you be in favor of a larger influence by the teachers’ union?
Achieving “a larger influence” is not a goal of mine as a board director. We must support and respect our teachers, in order to attract and retain the best for our students. This can be accomplished by treating them as professionals in a variety of ways — establishing a positive culture and climate, offering competitive compensation and valuable professional development, and utilizing effective feedback mechanisms so teachers are a part of the improvement process.
What can be done to allow the district to keep its best and most experienced teachers at a higher rate?
Two things need to happen, above all else: we must dramatically improve the culture and climate within Douglas County School District, so that our professional educators feel valued and respected. This starts at the top, with the board of education demonstrating consistent practices that support their profession, their schools and their principals. Furthermore, we must pursue additional, long-term funding sources, such as a mill levy override, in order to provide competitive compensation for all our teachers.
Would you support a ballot measure to help the district pay for capital improvements?
Yes. We currently have over $300 million in unmet capital needs with no viable funding stream. Safety of our students and proper maintenance of taxpayers’ $3 billion in investments are imperative in restoring excellence to Douglas County schools. Our voters haven’t had the opportunity to consider a bond in over six years, and the district’s own Joint Subcommittee, comprised of community volunteers and district personnel, has recommended an initiative for 2018 based on extensive research and data. In my role, I would reach out to our community to discuss with and educate them on these requirements ensuring ballot success.