To the Editor:
To prepare for the July 19 ICCSD school board special election, the Save Hoover Committee asked board candidates: If you are elected, will you support amending the long-term facilities plan to keep Hoover Elementary School open? Two contrasting responses stood out.
Recognizing that the Hoover closure does not align with widely held community values, J.P. Claussen favors amending the long-term facilities plan to keep Hoover open. Claussen believes that the priorities of the ICCSD should align with the priorities of the community, and he encourages the district to listen to more voices as it moves forward with facilities planning. Claussen wants to build district-wide community and trust.
Paul Roesler supports closing Hoover, citing his commitment to the facilities plan. However, Roesler has advocated that Hoover close two years earlier than planned—next spring—despite the complexities of closing a school and despite the 2019 target date the facilities plan lays out. Roesler has written: “If we are concerned that a school closing is going to be a reason the bond is passed or not, why not have that school closed so that it isn’t an issue in the 2017 vote?” Roesler has now stated he would support a 2018 closure. His commitment to the plan’s timeline, unlike his commitment to closing Hoover, seems unclear.
While Hoover is just one of many important issues, responses to the Hoover question may still shed light on candidates' broader approaches to community input, bridge-building, and trust.