PASCO — Both candidates running for Position 2 of the Pasco School Board have volunteered their time for Pasco kids.
Ryan Brault, a 30-year-old financial adviser, has supported the district through its business-partnership program and was a volunteer member of the task force that recommended the district switch to a multi-track, year-round calendar to address overcrowding.
Patrick McBurney Sr., a 66-year-old retired engineer, is a mentor to two teenage boys in east Pasco and volunteers as a reading tutor.
School board members serve four-year terms and are paid $50 per meeting.
The most pressing issue in Pasco is finding space for the district's ever-growing enrollment. The board recently voted to possibly start switching the most-crowded schools to a drastically different school calendar by 2013. The move would increase building capacity.
Going to year-round school is "pretty much a given unless we can get a bond," McBurney said.
The new calendar, which would affect when families go on vacation and how much they spend on child care, might motivate some to rethink their opposition to a tax levy for new buildings, he said.
A Pasco school bond failed in April.
"Parents were misinformed about the crisis we were having in our schools," McBurney said.
Brault said he saw a lot of parents attend the meetings in which year-round school was discussed.
But few showed up for informational meetings about the bond earlier in the year.
During the year-round meetings, "many said we need to pass a bond," Brault said.
The district could use social media, such as Facebook, to get information to parents when it next runs a bond election, Brault said.
Just like every other district in the state, Pasco is likely to face budget cuts after the special session of the Legislature, which begins in November.
Brault said his volunteering on the district's citizen budget committee -- coupled with his professional experience as a financial adviser -- prepares him well to discuss future cuts.
He said any cuts would have to be in areas that don't directly affect the classroom.
But he also said "all low-hanging fruit" had already been cut in previous budget cycles.
He wants to look at using technology to save money in printing and mailing costs. Parents could opt in to receive all district communications in electronic format, for example, he said.
McBurney said he would involve more volunteer tutors in schools to make up for budget cuts.
"We don't have a lot of money," he said. "It's time for the community to step up and fill the gap."
McBurney said he is "a big-picture guy" who could bring a complementary perspective to the board.
He previously ran for the board in 2007.
Brault said he is a candidate who "understands all of the issues and who will continue to do his homework."
He already has forged connections between schools and the business community, which could be helpful for future fundraising activities, he said.
The election is Nov. 8. Ballots went out in the mail this week.