PIEDMONT -- Three candidates are running for two open four-year seats on the Piedmont school board.

Trustees Ray Gadbois and Roy Tolles are termed out. Piedmonters are encouraged to get out and vote to support their favored candidates in the Feb. 4 election.

Each candidate has answered questions pertinent to the school district and its operations.

To read more about their views, visit their campaign websites. Doug Ireland's is www.dougforschoolboard.org. Find out more about Amal Smith by viewing www.Amalforschoolboard.com. Hari Titan's campaign site is www.HariTitan.com.

Q: What can be done about speeders in school zones? Are police doing enough?

Ireland: We need to maintain an excellent rapport with the town and the police to monitor motorists around the schools. The new crosswalks are a huge step.

Titan: I have seen patrol cars waiting near schools at drop-off time. Witnesses should report speeders to the Piedmont Police Department.

Smith: This is a public safety issue that must be addressed by the Piedmont Police Department and the City Council. The school board and the council have opportunities to address issues of mutual concern through the City-School Liaison Committee, or the city's Public Safety Committee. This issue has the attention of police Chief Goede, who is taking the initiative to address the traffic and pedestrian concerns around our schools.

Q: Is the district overextending itself putting a bond measure on the ballot for the Alan Harvey Theater?

Ireland: The board needs to balance ongoing maintenance of district facilities with the capacity to pay for them. If we find the right construction plan, I'm sure the town will support an upgrade of such a vital but out-of-date building.

I am supportive of the project.

Smith: The board has learned from the district's financial advisor that, using conservative assumptions for assessed value growth, the district has sufficient bonding capacity to fund a project of this magnitude.

Titan: Taxpayers have two opportunities to influence the affordability of the bond prior to voting on a bond measure in June 2014. Taxpayers can write to the board and demand the most economical plan for the district, which is the Current Interest Bond (option 2). There are downsides of a Capital Appreciation Bond (Option 1), which would cost taxpayers $6.8 million in unnecessary finance charges over Option 2.

Q: Briefly cite why you should be elected to the school board.

Ireland: I love our town and have great respect for all its constituent groups. I believe in the power of teaching and public education. I have dedicated meaningful time over my 17 years living in Piedmont working with and for the school district. During my 30-year career, I handled financings of all types, negotiated deals and managed diverse pools of talent. These accomplishments, coupled with my passion for education and Piedmont, distinguish me as a low-risk, high-quality candidate.

Smith: I have over 24 years experience in higher education consulting and administration, the last 13 in financial management at UC Office of the President. For over 13 years, I have been part of PUSD's volunteer leadership serving on numerous organizations. I have full understanding of the fiduciary, public policy, long-term vision and accountability responsibilities of serving on the school board, with a focus on acting in the best interests of our children and their families.

Titan: The board should have a member to help understand issues relating to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). I have a Ph.D. in computer science which crosses all STEM core competencies. I can provide expertise and skills to enhance the board's ability to address these important academic and financial matters. If elected I will also maintain an electronic town hall which parents can use to participate in polls and easily find out the latest of what the board is considering, organized by topic thread.

Q: What should the board's top priorities be in the new year?

Ireland: Continue to roll out the Common Core program in the district and educate the community on what it means. Make progress on the teacher evaluation process. Finalize a workable plan for the renovation of Alan Harvey.

Smith: Implement Common Core standards, including integrating technology and continuing professional development. Continue to implement and refine educator evaluation and training. Develop a budget that responsibly reflects the board's priorities. Shaping Our Future goals include ways to create a healthy balance in student's lives.

Titan: The top priority is the Alan Harvey Theater renovation. To help prioritize other topics I would like to use an electronic town hall to engage the community in voting and discussing what those priorities should be.

Q: How have you been reaching out to gain voter support?

Ireland: We have arranged a series of meetings, formal and informal, for me to meet with citizen groups about school issues of relevance to them. I actively participate in community activities (Common Core teach-ins, speaker series, school plays, sports events, fundraisers, public district meetings).

Smith: I've been meeting and talking to people in the district for over 13 years. My official campaign kickoff will be at 10 a.m. on Jan. 4 at Piedmont Park. I'll be available in front of City Hall before school board meetings between now and election day. Voters may query me at AmalForSchoolBoard@gmail.com.

Titan: I've been adding electronic town hall features to HariTitan.com with both real and mock issues up for voting. I also conducted a randomized survey to measure the support for an electronic town hall amongst parents. The full results of that survey are available after registering on my site.

Q: What problems are there, if any, at the elementary schools? Are there problems with locked gates, after hours abuse of playfield, for example, dogs and dog mess or trash? And what are the remedies?

Ireland: Keeping play space and schools safe and available to our children is not solved by gates. Every citizen has to be responsible to look out for them. Drive carefully. Be aware of who is around the schools. Sign up if you want to use a field. Pick up after your dog. Pick up after yourself. Expect the same of your neighbors.

Smith: There are policies in place for how and when the facilities may be used. It is important that collectively we take better care of all of our public facilities

Titan: If there is a frequent problem and someone has a policy idea to mitigate it, that idea should be shared with others and brought to the attention of the school board.