Williston School Board: Two-year seat – Holly Rouelle
Name : Holly Rouelle
Address : 211 Shirley Circle
Age : 40
Number of years living in Williston : 11
Family situation : Single parent, 2 sons: Mathieu, 16 and Hannan 12.
Employer name and job description : Essex Town School District. Teacher at Essex Elementary School.
Previous experience in elected or appointed positions, or community service : Two years as Williston School Board director (one year as vice chairwoman), two years as a Chittenden South Supervisory Union School Board director, seven years with Williston Cub Scouts (den leader, fundraiser chair, cub master), five years with Williston Soccer Club (board member, manager, fundraising and events).
Why are you running?
I have enjoyed the past two years serving on the School Board and hope to continue effecting positive change on our school system. We have an excellent school system with committed educators, administrators, families and students. Williston is a wonderful community and as someone committed to education, serving on the School Board is my way to give back to a community that has supported the growth of my family.
What is the most important issue facing Williston schools? How can the issue be addressed?
Balancing a quality education with rising costs and declining enrollments. Accommodating unfunded federal (No Child Left Behind) and state (Act 82) mandates that impose "one size fits all" education spending and programs at the local level. Getting involved is the only way to have an impact. For me, that's serving on the School Board and trying to address the issues as a board member.
With the economy struggling and voters seemingly wary of significant school budget increases, as demonstrated by the failure of last year's Williston School District budget, how would you put together a budget that would be palatable for voters?
Hopefully, we have succeeded this year. The proposed 3.72 percent increase maintains the current quality programs and includes all-day kindergarten and an extended school day. The process included community members as budget buddies as well as input from school staff, administration and the School Board. At weekly budget meetings, presentations were made in a variety of areas (special education, technology, building and maintenance, programming, etc.). Per pupil spending will again be the lowest in our district. It is a fiscally responsible budget and I hope it is supported by the community.
Based on a recent survey of the town, the community is divided over the structure of the upper houses (57 percent of respondents supported the current structure). Do you feel the structure is in need of change? Why? If so, what change would you suggest?
Based on my own experiences as a parent, I do feel that there needs to be a change in the upper house structure. However, I recognize that my needs are not necessarily the needs of every upper house family. The Williston school administration and program council are analyzing a variety of models that take into consideration the community input and current climate (declining students, resources and cost of education). I have faith that our current quality of education will be maintained in any of these models and that school personnel will make informed decisions about future changes.