Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson and Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake fills school board vacancy

 

August 15, 2019

Provided Photo

Ben Anderson

Ben Anderson was selected from among five candidates interviewed by the Moose Lake School Board on Wednesday, August 8 to fill the open seat on the board.

The seat became vacant after the resignation of Jamie Jungers.

The five candidates were Jim Gerdes, Donna Kirk, Ben Anderson, Rory Butkiewicz, and Tess Christenson.

Ben Anderson has worked in Moose Lake since 2014 for Straightline Surveying, and his two children currently attend Moose Lake School. He's part of the chamber of commerce, coaches softball and little league, and anything else he can find time for, Anderson said.

Anderson was approached by the board about the vacant seat. "They actually called me and asked if I would consider doing it. I didn't run for anything before. I've been involved in parent-teacher groups, though."

One of his biggest concerns is improving test scores. "The hard thing to say is, how do you change test scores? It's not an overnight fix. What are the goals, the timeline?"

The greatest challenge, Anderson says, will be the learning curve for what it takes to be a board member. "It's also the process that the board goes through to make these decisions. Basically learning the process, how they do it, and why."

Despite staff changeovers and Jungers leaving the board, Anderson is optimistic about moving forward. "I think it's time, that at this point I think I can make it better. If I didn't, I wouldn't have done it."

Anderson made it a point in a recent interview to say that being a board member means not having a personal agenda and coming up with the smartest options that work in the school's best interests.

"You are elected to represent the public," he said. "You will never make everybody happy. But you make the best decisions that you can."

Each of the four school board members at the meeting voted for their top two candidates. Ben Anderson came out with a vote from every board member. Butkiewicz had the second most votes.

The motion passed to offer the seat to Anderson. He will serve on the board for the remainder of Jamie Jungers term which will be until the end of 2020. Since he was appointed by the board and not elected, there will be a thirty-day period from the date of his appointment during which the community can appeal the decision before he can act in an official capacity on the board.

The board members encouraged the other candidates to participate in the school as volunteers or in another capacity.

 

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