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Election primer: Cromwell-Wright School Board

Eight candidates have filed for three seats on the Cromwell-Wright School Board in the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Candidates Tom Anderson, Walter Collman, Thomas Kubus Jr., Charles Maki, Shayne W. Korpela and Gregory Eliason did not respond to the Pine Journal.

Candidate: Kiiri Schoenberg

What do you think of the current board's performance?

The school board has tackled several challenging tasks the past several years and positive changes continue to happen in the school. For instance, teachers' salaries have increased, the music program has expanded, busing was privatized and new staff have been hired who are dedicated to students and the school. The school board has been supportive of administrative changes to better serve students. Funding for education is very complex and difficult decisions need to be made. Not every need can be met. The board has helped to balance daily needs, educational goals, facilities maintenance, while looking toward to the future.

What are your priorities?

The most important priority is to maintain and support high quality education for our children. The district needs to continue to grow and improve in ways that will attract and retain talented educators, encourage young families into settle in the community and inspire the students to learn. A balance of classes, programs and activities are important. Facilities needs identified by the referendum process must continue to be discussed. Former industrial arts spaces will need to be remodeled, which can address some of the building deficiencies. Improving building safety for staff and students is also a high priority.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in Cromwell-Wright schools?

The challenges of a very small school district can also be its strengths. The school is a positive, supportive environment because of its size. However, smaller enrollment numbers mean limited financial resources. It is not possible to offer more courses or subjects with the number of teachers the district can support. Online courses and PSEO opportunities fill some of that gap. Extracurricular activities are dependent on adult leadership from school or community members, and often rely on volunteers. Luckily, Cromwell and Wright are strong communities that continue to draw young families and inspire continued involvement and support from many people.

Candidate: Alicia Jatkola

What do you think of the current board's performance?

I think they are doing the best they can with the information they are given. I imagine it's a complicated process to make decisions that weigh on the entire school and community.

What are your priorities?

My priority lies in making sure the students have the many options with a broad curriculum to give them the tools they need to succeed after graduation, whether they are going to college or right to work.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in Cromwell-Wright schools?

Cromwell/Wright has amazing teachers that care for each students success. Our school needs to keep class sizes small and keep our enrollment numbers up. This would ensure a sound future for our school.

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