The Barnum School Board held a meeting on Tuesday, October 23, the purpose of which was twofold: To present information on the levy proposal for the November 6 election and to introduce the candidates who are running for the four open positions on the Barnum School Board.
After a presentation regarding information about the levy, the public was introduced to the five candidates running for the school board. Each candidate spoke to the reasons they were running for the board. The presentation was moderated by Pete Jelinek.
Lenore Skoglund (incumbant): “I truly enjoy the job we do. I feel we make a difference for the kids. I want to maintain the level of education we offer and I want to be part of moving the school district to greater financial solidity. There is iffy funding from the state; I feel that to increase the quality of the programs, we have to make the best use of the funds. I want the kids to get the best education possible. We can accomplish this with collaboration with our super teachers and administrative staff. We have to make sure they have the tools they need to work together and move forward.”
Patrick Poirier (incumbant): "I’m running because of my kids. I have a vested interesting the school. I want a voice and I want to advocate for the kids. I’d like to see new initiative. I see two areas of initiatives — one, I would like to see iPads for the high school students, and two, continue Early Childhood Education involvement with Northland Foundation. Forty percent of our kids are at poverty level. I would like to see breakfast served to kids. Kids need to have food in their stomachs to do a good job in school. They learn better on a full stomach.”
Colleen Fetters: “My grandchildren are the fourth generation to attend Barnum Schools. I love this school district. When a child has a need, someone steps in to help. I have been involved in labor negotiations, both as a union member and as a supervisor. I would work to help keep good teachers in the district. Teachers are feeling disrespected. I want to see the kids have a good education. Thirty-two kids in a biology class is too many. I also think that if lunch is the only meal of the day many kids have to eat, they are not getting enough food. There is a difference between a six-foot athlete’s dietary needs and a 100-pound sedentary kid, yet they get the same size serving. I would like to work on changing this criteria for meal size.”
Michael Line: “Four years ago I began to get involved in politics. I started attending school board meetings and have attended about 90 percent of them. I feel some things need to change. My goal is to get us to be a world class school. There are many funding issues. I am willing to look outside the box for ideas. I have been successful in business as both an employee and have run two businesses successfully.”
Jason Montgomery: “I moved here 14 years ago. I have raised two children, one is in eighth grade. I want to ensure all future students they will get the best education possible. I believe in communication and being open with ideas. One: I look at what children need when they’re here. Bullying is a major theme, particularly cyber-bullying. I would campaign against it. And, two: iPads need to be extended to everyone K–12. I am also aware of a student who came here who had been failing in school. He is legally blind. At Barnum he made a complete turnaround and graduated this year on the honor roll. We need to find a way to raise revenue. Perhaps advertising on the gym walls is a possibility. We need to hold our state representatives accountable. We need to go to St. Paul and knock on those doors. Everyone needs to be able to feel comfortable to speak to a school board member.”