Herald Journal - Voters' Guide 2010
Herald Journal / Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch / Delano Herald Journal

HLWW School Board

Four people have filed for three open positions on the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board; Joanne Kocher, Dan Schaible, Jamie Wiech, and Fred Wiech.

Joanne Kocher

Why are you running for school board?

My main reason for running is to play an active role in ensuring our educational system provides our children with the opportunities for a successful future. It is very important to me to represent those within this district, both as a parent and a taxpayer.

I have three children in the school system right now, and greatly appreciate the teachers and administration that make up this district. I have made some remarkable relationships with many of these people, and have learned a great deal about the community and school district through them.

I have been an active volunteer in the school and the community for many years. I was not born in this community and do not have any family in the area. Twenty years ago, I chose to live in this community and chose this district to raise my children in. I believe that I made the right choice.

What do you think are two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

There are several concerns within our district in regards to current facilities and how to best utilize what we have and where we should invest in the future.

Another major concern is making sure that parents continue to want to send their children to our school district. This could mean expanding the offerings, both in academics and extracurricular activities in our schools.

I am very conscious that these offerings cost dollars that we may not have in our budgets, which is why we need to be able to creatively think of ways to make things happen in this district without always looking for money to fund it.

There are a great deal of very talented people in our community that we can tap into for their creative minds.

We need to be able to think outside of resorting to our taxpayers to fund everything that we want to see happen in our district. At the same time, we need to effectively communicate with schools, parents, taxpayers, and students as to what decisions are being made and how each person in our district may be impacted.

Why should you be elected?

I should be elected because I can bring a very fresh perspective to the board. I have no hidden agendas coming into this endeavor and seriously, only have the entire district’s best interests at heart.

I have complete faith in this community to do the right thing in this challenging economy and see a positive future for our district, if we continue to react by collecting facts and weighing the options of how to handle our concerns going forward.

Working and thinking outside the box in these desperate times is not something to think about; it is something to act on.

Of course, I care about this school district because my children are enrolled here, but I also care about all of the children that attend and that they all get the best education and opportunities for success in their futures.

Dan Schaible

This candidate did not return the requested questionnaire.

Jamie Wiech

Why are you running for school board?

Having served five years on the board, two as co-chair, I have been an active board member involved in the budget, negotiation, referendum, and policy committees. I have also served five years, three as co-chair, of Meeker and Wright Special Education Co-op (MAWSECO).

I would like to continue the work I have already started, and feel that I am a valued member of the board. I enjoy serving our three communities.

What do you think are two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

I believe the biggest issue currently is school funding. Basic state education funding has not kept up with the increasing costs of running a school district. We need to get back to a point where we are not relying on local funding to maintain our schools.

HLWW has done a very good job of controlling costs by seeking out revenue sources and maintaining a balanced budget, and I will continue to make sure that is the case, through fiscal responsibility.

The second issue I feel is important is accountability, both student achievement and the school district itself.

I think you achieve these by putting highly-qualified educators in schools, measure and improve test scores, maintain a fiscally responsible budget, and assist and mentor educators so we can offer a solid education to our children.

I will continue to work hard to ensure that we, as a district, are accountable to the citizens in our communities.

Why should you be elected?

As an incumbent, I am very proud of the things that HLWW has accomplished.

We built a new high school and remodeled the elementary locations to address the overcrowding issues, offered many unique programs for our students, consistently achieved test scores higher than the state average, and have one of the strongest FFA chapters in Minnesota, all while being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars.

I have five years of experience on two separate boards, and will offer the knowledge and hard work of the last five years.

Fred Yerke

Why are you running for office?

The reason that I am running for office is, I want to give back to my community. I feel that I have a lot to offer the school district, especially having a wife that has taught and student-taught in the district.

I also have three of my four children in the district, as well as my youngest to attend in the future.

What do you think are the two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

The main issue we have right now is our budget. Being on the Wright County Community Action Board, I have learned to budget money that comes from different areas, such as the federal, state, and local government, along with private funding.

We have always been able to balance our budget, even with the fact the money is not always there when it is supposed to be. I would do the same with our school budget, and I plan on bringing my experience to help balance that budget and to keep our spending within our means.

The other issue that is important, but could become a major issue, is our AYP. I know that Jim Schimelpfenig has done a good job on setting up training and information meetings for our staff and I would work with him and Brad Sellner to continue this to help us maintain and/or improve our AYP.

Why should you be elected?

I have been in the community for years and understand the issues that we are dealing with. I understand our communities are hurting, with record numbers of unemployment, along with high numbers of house foreclosures, but it is extremely important to keep things in our district under control, especially having to do with spending.

I understand education extremely well, having recently earned a bachelor of arts degree in history, with minors in political science, ethics, philosophy, and religion. I have also started working part time towards a master’s degree in political science.

I feel all this experience will be very beneficial to our school board and our district, and feel this is why I should be elected to the school board.

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