3 run unopposed for Mott-Regent School BoardThree unopposed incumbent candidates have their hat in the ring for three open positions on the Mott-Regent School Board to be decided by election on June 14.
By: Sean M. Soehren, The Dickinson Press
Three unopposed incumbent candidates have their hat in the ring for three open positions on the Mott-Regent School Board to be decided by election on June 14.
Stacy Hertz is on the ballot for the former Mott district and William Gion and Steve Wagendorf are candidates of the former Regent district.
The board is comprised of four representatives from the former Mott district and three from Regent. In the election, one person will be elected from Mott for a three-year term and two people will be elected from Regent. The person with the highest number of votes from Regent will be appointed for three years and the second-most voted candidate will serve two years.
District Superintendent Myron Schweitzer said he was pleased to see the candidates return and that they were suitable for the position because they have “a passion in their job and have interest in the district and the education process.”
Each candidate has previous experience in the school and all said they wanted to be involved to support the needs of the kids. Gion has served 10 years on school boards between the cooperative and the preceding Regent district. Hertz is up for her third term and said she is an interested parent. Wagendorf is up for his second term and has been involved with the speech program for 16 years.
“Of all the things we value, I think that education should be the most important,” Gion said. “I believe it is important to give back to your community.”
Hertz said she wanted to get involved to ensure the students had the tools needed for a quality education.
“I hope we are making sure they get the classes they need,” she said. “Offering a variety of classes as they get older.”
Wagendorf said being involved is a way to inspire students to be involved.
“I want to push these kids to apply themselves,” he said.
There are approximately 242 students in the district in kindergarten through grade 12, according to the district’s website. The
district has lost more than 100 students in the past 10 years, Schweitzer said.
“The biggest challenge we face is declining enrollment,” Gion said. “When there are fewer kids, it becomes tougher to budget.”
Hertz said that more extracurricular activities might help keep students interested.
“I would like them to be able to offer sports,” she said. “Just so the kids are having fun.”
Each candidate commented that retaining quality teachers will be vital in the future.
Wagendorf said he was concerned that the district was becoming a “training site” where teachers come to get experience before moving to a larger district. He said a higher base salary would be a good incentive to keep teachers.
Hertz said she was worried about upcoming retirement of teachers.
“We have an older population of teachers here, which is good because they have experience, but it means they will not be here forever,” she said. “I know a lot of schools are having trouble filling spots, so keeping all our spots filled would be a good goal.”
Gion agreed that a higher salary would entice quality teachers, but was worried about an increase from a budgeting standpoint. He said the amount of state funding changes every biennium and if the salaries were raised and the school board did not receive the expected monies it would be forced to raise taxes, which upsets the community members.
The board must be mindful of alternative academic opportunities in the case more teachers can’t be hired, Hertz said, adding that sharing teachers with other districts or expanding interactive television classes would be a
All candidates commented that the school board must move past the old rivalries and tension created by the closing of the Regent school.
Schweitzer said it is a demanding to be involved with the School Board and forces the members to make difficult decisions. He was appreciative the candidates were taking up the challenge.
District residents can cast their vote on June 14 at the Regent Legion Hall or Mott Armory from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.