Thursday, September 20, 2018

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Chippewa Falls school board race: Four vying for two spots 

Only one of two incumbents seeking re-election to board

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There are four candidates vying for two seats on the Chippewa Falls school board. Only one incumbent, Pat Allen, is seeking re-election. Incumbent Staish Buchner opted not to run for re-election.

School board seats are three-year terms. There are no wards or districts; anyone who lives within the borders of the Chippewa Falls school district may apply. School board members earn $750 annually, with the board president earning $900, while the vice president, treasurer and secretary earn $800.

Buchner was elected in 2012 as a write-in candidate, and he was re-elected in 2015. Allen also was elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2015.

Q&A: The candidates provided responses to Leader-Telegram questions:

• • • 

Q: Why did you decide to run? What interested you in the position?

Allen: Service to the community and the School District are my reasons for running for the Board along with the joy of helping young people learn and achieve.

McIlquham: I was raised to give back to my community and serving on the (Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District) is something I have considered for some time. I believe my knowledge and experience with truancy issues, as well as dealing with cases involving children who are victims of abuse or neglect, will give me a valuable perspective to offer to the school board.

Olson: I have been interested in the School board position for some time. I waited until my wife Deb retired as a teacher in the Chippewa School system five years ago. With my retirement I feel there is now time to commit to the position.

Spitz: I have a lengthy background in working for the public sector and fell the skill set I bring to the table will be a nice addition to the goard. I am a strong supporter of public service and public education, and I see this is a great opportunity to contribute to our community. As a local business owner, I feel it is important that our local business community is connected with our schools.

• • • 

Q: Clearly, the results of the referendum will be the major item for the 3-year term. If the referendum passes, what will be your focus?

Allen: Service to the community and the School District are my reasons for running for the Board along with the joy of helping young people learn and achieve.

McIlquham: My main focus would be to be fiscally responsible with the funding authorized by the voters to make sure all the planned projects can be completed within the budget provided. Each identified project is important and necessary to the continued success of the school district, its staff and its students.

Olson: After attending an informational forum about the referendum I believe the current board and administration has laid out the plan and the steps to be taken upon approval. If elected as a new board member I will do my best to acclimate and work with the other members of the board to complete the process.

Spitz: With my strong background in engineering and administering public works projects, I am confident I can help ensure that the referendum funding would be used to its fullest potential. I am very cognizant of the responsibility that comes with spending the community’s money and I would work very hard to make sure every dollar is put to its best use.

• • • 

Q: If it fails, how long should the board wait to go for another referendum? What would be your strategy moving forward?

Allen: This is a decision that can only be made after much deliberation by the Board and Administration.

McIlquham: I support the referendum and hope the voters support the proposed projects. If the referendum fails, I’m not certain I could identify right now how long the School Board should wait until another referendum would be considered. It would be important to assess what parts of this referendum the voters supported and what part the voters opposed or had concerns with prior to any plans to move forward with another attempt at a referendum.

Olson: At the informational forum it was explained that if the referendum failed for a second time there was a mandated waiting period until it could be voted on again. If elected I would serve the students, community and staff to determine the best direction for the future.

Spitz: If the majority of the voters do not support the referendum, as a Board we would first need to determine what they found not acceptable. Based on that information, I would then be able to determine what I would suggest as the next step. I feel our community, as a whole, understands the importance of adequately maintaining and upgrading our public-school system, I think it is just a matter of being fiscally responsible.

• • • 

Q: Why are you the best candidate and the most deserving of the public’s vote for this position?

Allen: My experience in the field of education along with my experience in the private sector for Cray Research gives me a broad base of knowledge not only in educational leadership but also in business matters. I also have six years of experience serving on the school board. My deep caring and concern for the children and all stakeholders in the District make me uniquely qualified to be a member of the Board.

McIlquham: I believe everyone running for the CFAUSD school board in this election would bring a unique perspective to the School Board. However, my experience in local government, as well as my experience working with at risk children/​youth offers me additional insight into many issues that can impact a student’s ability to be successful in an educational setting. Regardless of who the public supports as a candidate for school board, the most important thing is to vote on April 3rd.

Olson: At the informational forum, it was explained that if the referendum failed for a second time there was a mandated waiting period until it could be voted on again. If elected I would serve the students, community and staff to determine the best direction for the future.

Spitz: I feel I am the best candidate because I am vested in the Chippewa Falls community. I have a strong background working with elected officials and community stakeholders. I am strongly committed in helping our schools provide our students the best opportunities to help them become successful adults.

Contact: 715-559-1723 or chris.vetter@ecpc.com


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