One year ago, a candidate had to be found just before the election to fill the third of three Platteville School Board seats.
There was no need for a candidate search this year.
Instead, a primary election will be held Feb. 17 to reduce the number of School Board candidates from eight to six for the April 7 general election.
There will be at least one new School Board member, since board member Monie Konecny filed a notice of noncandidacy. Incumbents Steve Obershaw and Eric Fatzinger are running for reelection. The six challengers are Jamie Brogley, Brian Brown, Jeremy Johnson, Colleen McCabe, Curt Timlin and Matt Zielinski.
The top three vote-getters April 7 will be elected to the three-year seats.
At least two of the candidates believe that school board members should have students in the school district.
“With recent events that went on in the schools, I feel that a majority of our school board should be made of up of parents of kids actively involved in the schools,” said Timlin, a Platteville High School graduate who owns Southwest Lawn Care, Instant Shade Nursery, and The BarN. “Back in the days, we had good scholars like we have now, we had good athletics like we have some now, but I don’t think the pride is like it was, and I’d like to change that culture.”
“Some of them, if they don’t have students in school, are not in touch with what’s going on in the schools,” said Johnson, who owns Diesel Doctors.
Johnson also mentioned the proposed $17 million school referendum (see page 1).
“$17 million is a lot to ask taxpayers to pay, especially when we just got done paying off the old referendum,” said Johnson, whose wife teaches at Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center. “I just don’t think there’s confidence right now, mainly because of the school referendum.”
Johnson mentioned PHS athletics generally and the recent contract non-renewal of volleyball coach Yvette Updike shortly after the Hillmen made their first trip to the state tournament in 20 years.
“We have phenomenal test scores, but it doesn’t seem in other areas we push as hard as we could. I think that everybody wants to be number one in all areas.”
McCabe is a professor at UW–Platteville.
“I have contemplated a run for the school board in past years but professionally and personally there have been projects or initiatives that needed my extra time and attention,” she said. “Having come from a home, in which both of my parents were very active and civic minded community members, including my mother serving as a school board member and eventually the president of my hometown parochial school board, it has always seemed like a logical endeavor. Having stepped away from some of my volunteer activity with youth sports and also reduction in my credit overload, the timing is right for me to follow my heart and reveal my desire to be a more engaged advocate for our community’s educational vision and values.”
McCabe said she “could serve the Platteville school district by listening, building consensus, and being an advocate for the high standards of practice the district has been known for historically. If I am fortunate enough to move past the February primary and be elected in April, I look forward to working with a highly-qualified district staff and administrative team to keep student learning at the forefront of all discussion, policy interpretation and decision-making.”
The Feb. 17 primary also will trim the number of candidates for the Platteville Common Council at-large seat being vacated by Ald. Dick Bonin from three to two.
The three candidates for Bonin’s seat are Tom Nall, a member of the city’s Plan Commission; Darrel Browning, who ran for the at-large seat won in 2013 by Amy Seeboth-Wilson, and Angie Donovan, formerly the city’s communications coordinator.
The other two council incumbents whose terms expire this year will be unopposed — District 3 Ald. Barb Daus, who has been on the council since 2006, and District 4 Ald. Ken Kilian, who has been on the council since 1991.
The April 7 ballot will also have a Platteville Public Schools referendum to make $17 million in renovations to the school district’s four buildings (see story, page 1).