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

Lester Prairie School Board

Five people have filed for a position on the Lester Prairie School Board; Fred Blaser, Robert Carlson, Chester Hoernemann, Matthew Klitzke, and Gregg Machemehl.

Fred Blaser

Why are you running for a position on the Lester Prairie School Board?

I feel that we need to continue along the lines we have been on. Although the school has dealt with some real problems in the last few years, we are one of the few districts that are stable. The board has done some real cost-saving steps.

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

Two major problems are: declining enrollment and declining state aid.

The first is, that we must make the district as appealing as possible for enrollment, including making improvements in the looks and equipment of the school. We also must make our education offerings as strong as possible, to prepare our students for the future.

The second is an area that we do not have as much control on as we would like. We must keep an eye on our spending; to do more with less.

Why should you be elected?

Why should I be elected? Having been in the city of Lester Prairie, I have knowledge of the wants and needs of citizens, students, teachers, and school.

I think my record speaks for itself; hopefully the voters of School District 424 agree.

Bob Carlson

Why are you running for a position on the Lester Prairie School Board?

Because of my experience and involvement in the Lester Prairie school system. I think I can contribute and provide the leadership necessary to lead the school district through some very tough times.

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

Facilities upgrades, and the reduction of aid from the State of Minnesota.

Being on the board, we are already working with Energy Services Group and TSP to improve facilities without increasing taxes. We, as a board, are doing the best we can to improve and upgrade our facilities at a minimal cost to taxpayers.

We have little control over what the state legislature does, but we, as a board, do have control over our own budget.

We have made, and continue to make very difficult decisions regarding staff and programs that need to be cut, while still trying to make sure our students get the best education we can possibly give.

Why should you be elected?

I have been involved with the Lester Prairie school system as the chief of police and school resource officer for many years. I have a vast amount of knowledge on the operations of the school and am there on a daily basis.

I am also a licensed substitute teacher and teach all DARE and safety courses in the school.

I feel I am the most qualified candidate and feel it is my duty to “run for office” as a Lester Prairie School Board member.

Chester Hoernemann

Why are you running for office?

I am a firm believer in life-long learning. I started college when I was in my 50s, and never regretted a minute of it. And now, in order to keep up my licensure, I need to attend a certain amount of training every year.

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

1. My first concern is keeping Lester Prairie Schools as an independent, small (and good) school system.

In my pursuit of my master’s degree, I purposely chose colleges and graduate schools with small class sizes. In a small class, the students feel as if they matter; there is eye contact and interaction.

I took a couple of classes at the U of MN in the ‘80s. I found sitting in a classroom amphitheater with more than 125 students didn’t feel like a learning environment to me.

I will always be an advocate to keep our class sizes to the smallest number affordable to the district.

2. My second concern is getting as much out of the funds as we possibly can; sacrifice if we must and where we must, but sacrifice only when and where we must.

Our funding must go toward the benefit of our students’ education, so that they will be ready for the life-learning I mentioned above. I believe we have slimmed and trimmed as much as we dare. District 424 has no fat left to trim.

I ask that all citizens who may read this, contact their legislators and tell them to stop talking about education funding and do something, rather than pay lip service.

Check back; each legislative session starts with legislators talking about education funding, but it is always the last item to be settled and they go home smiling, because they authorized schools to borrow money not given (unalloted) to schools.

Why should you be elected?

I should be re-elected if the voters of District 424 agree with the things I said above.

We, the board members, are the servants of the majority of the district and not in office to elevate our political capitol or to massage our egos.

Sometimes, we must make unpopular choices, but only when we must make those decisions to protect the school from being sued or prevent other violations of contracts, laws, and regulations.

Matthew Klitzke

Why are you running for office?

I grew up in a “teaching family.” Both of my parents taught at Lester Prairie School for many years, and passed along the message of how important public schools are to a community.

But, the main reason that I am running is that I have an 18-month-old daughter who will be a future student of this district. I also have many friends who have children currently enrolled, or will be enrolled, in this district.

I want to do my part to ensure that we’re giving current and prospective students the best educational experience that we can possibly give.

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

Issue 1: Trying to get School District 424 to function properly with limited resources.

Unfortunately, we live in an era where budget cuts are a reality in our personal lives, at work, and in our schools.

If elected, I’ll work with other board members and seek community input on coming up with new and innovative ideas to help create a budget that is acceptable to all.

Issue 2: Increasing enrollment.

With funding from the State of Minnesota either staying stagnant or decreasing each fiscal year, the only other way to increase revenue is to entice more students to enroll at Lester Prairie School.

This becomes a very difficult task, considering what Lester Prairie is up against. There are numerous neighboring districts that have undergone considerable renovations or have built new schools to tackle this issue.

The fact of the matter is, parents and students want the best learning experience possible. In today’s society (for better or for worse), this means more curriculum, better facilities, and better technology.

As a district and community, if we don’t continue to invest in those three items, more and more students will exit our district for brighter opportunities.

Why should you be elected?

I am approachable, honest, and open about my views and opinions. I am not afraid to voice an unpopular decision, and I am passionate about making sure the right decisions are made about the future of our children and schools.

Gregg Machemehl

Why are you running for office?

As a school board member, I believe that I can contribute to the many decisions and changes facing the district.

I would like to work with the administration and the teachers to look for ways to improve our school and to continue providing an excellent learning environment for our students.

I appreciate the education that my family has received from this school, and believe it is important to make sure the same opportunities are available for generations to come.

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

1. Financing for the district.

First, I would work hard to find ways to maintain or increase our schools’ enrollment. The dollars-per-student are critical to a school’s revenue.

Second, I am prepared to make changes where necessary. We cannot afford to fall behind financially because we are afraid to change. Planning for our future financial needs and making sure the money will be available should be priority number one.

2. Changes in technology.

The way students can learn is changing at a rapid pace. We must keep up with the world so our students have the tools it takes to prepare them for their future. We must find the dollars to afford these tools and get them into the teachers’ and students’ hands so they can use them and learn from them.

Why should you be elected?

I believe that my commitment to our school’s future will make me a good school board member. I will work hard to make sure the Lester Prairie School will continue to provide the best opportunities possible for our students.

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