The smallest of Central Oregon’s six major school districts, Culver, will only have one contested school board race in the May 21 election. Both candidates, who are each just under 40 years old, have connections to the community’s youth sports teams, and each has a unique perspective on the district.
The winner will replace Zoe Schumacher, who has served on the board since 2003. The other seat up for election this year is held by board vice chair David Slaght, who is running unopposed.
One of the candidates, Brian Silbernagel, is a 39-year-old father of three — they attend Culver middle and elementary schools — and is likely already familiar to many Culver residents because he’s been a coach for Culver High’s football team since 2004, including three years as head coach.
Silbernagel, who coordinates trucking for millwork company Bright Wood Corporation, said he wanted to get more involved with the school district’s financial side after working for its athletics department for many years. If elected, one of his goals is to keep a small teacher-to-student ratio. He also wants to build a new locker room and bathroom facility for the outdoor athletic complex. Visiting sports teams have to either change on the bus or walk all the way to the high school gym, and anyone who needs to use a restroom has to use port-a-potties.
“During halftime of football games, a lot of teams spend their halftime on the bus,” Silbernagel said. “It shouldn’t be that way; we should provide a good visiting facility.”
Silbernagel also said he would pay close attention to the district’s facilities and would be prepared to make any updates if necessary. He said the district’s buildings are mostly in good shape, but the locker rooms could use an upgrade.
“There’s always a little room for improvement,” he said. “If the building needs a coat of paint, it needs a coat of paint.”
Culver narrowly passed a $8.8 million school bond in 2013 by a handful of votes, which rebuilt the district’s upper-elementary school wing, a high school media center room and science and math classrooms for middle and high schoolers.
The other candidate for the open seat, Seth Taylor, is a 39-year-old habitat technician with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The father of three also volunteers with Jefferson County Little League, National FFA Organization and 4-H clubs and said his main points of emphasis were to keep “checks and balances in place” between teachers and the school board, as well as keeping a sharp eye on the school budget.
“I believe that the teachers and administration do an amazing job with our children and I would love to see that continue,” Taylor wrote in an email.
Taylor declined to answer when asked what he felt the biggest issue facing Culver School District was, or what one thing he would change about the district.
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