One incumbent and two challengers are running for two seats on the Potosi School Board.
Incumbent Rick Kruser is running for his second term on the board. He and his wife, Angie, are Potosi graduates, and have a 2007 graduate, a son about to graduate, and a sixth-grader.
“I feel I have a lot of the knowledge about the school and district since I’m a graduate of Potosi and my children have either graduated or are currently attending,” said Kruser, who works for Potosi Brewing Co. “I’m the best person for the job because of my experience on the board; we hired a new district administrator, multiple teacher positions and most recently a new principal. We now have an excellent team leading and teaching our children.
Amy Mewhirter is running for her first elective position. She was registrar for the Platteville Power Soccer Club for two years. She and her husband, Gavin, have fourth- and ninth-grade children. She works in management.
“My career allows me to work with many different people in different settings,” she said.
Wayne Weber, dean of the UW–Platteville College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture, is also running for his first elective position. He has a Ph.D. from Colorado State University. He and his wife, Tracy, have eighth-grade, sixth-grade and third-grade children.
Weber was a professor for 14 years before becoming the BILSA dean.
“From these experiences, I feel I have gained an appreciation for many of the issues facing K–12 students and the need to ensure that students have the education they need to pursue the academic and professional pathways of their choice,” he said. “This would include having the preparedness to enter, and be successful in, college or technical schools, for those that choose that course.”
“I don’t have any ‘agenda,’” said Mewhirter. “My husband and I grew up in a very large city, so we are amazed at how welcoming Potosi was/is to us and all new residents. We love the fact that all the teachers know all the students, and I really believe they truly care about them.”
“I feel the most important issues in this election is the condition of our school, what we can do to improve the learning environment and a declining enrollment,” said Kruser. “We have to get real creative when putting a budget together so we can continue to offer our children the best education.
“I would like to get our facility up to standards, our school is in dire need of repairs. We have put together a committee of community members, school staff and board members to look into what we can do to improve the facility. Our strong point of Potosi is our community support and the dynamic teaching staff we have.”
“The most important issue facing the Potosi School District is related to reducing enrollments and political challenges to public education resulting in significant budget challenges,” said Weber. “In that regard, we have to work on effectively balancing the budget while ensuring that the quality education that Potosi provides continues. We must also continue to be vocal and communicate the importance of public education in our communities, and to policy makers, so that appropriate decisions are made for the education of our children and the children of future generations.”
All three candidates favor Potosi being active in open enrollment.
“If it keeps our numbers up and keeps from closing our school down, why not?” said Mewhirter. “I would like to see more educational opportunity for kids (i.e. gifted and talented programs and science and math competitions).”
“Our major selling point for attracting students thru open enrollment is the fact that everyone knows everyone in our school; you get more attention with smaller schools,” said Kruser. “Our teaching staff are all very dedicated and in sports we have the most passionate coaches in the area. We really do have a top-notch staff in our district.”
“I think it is important to communicate the high quality educational and co-curricular opportunities at Potosi as a viable option for regional students,” said Weber. “However, this is in the context of understanding that schools in other small rural communities are also the centerpiece of those communities. I think the selling point is the quality education Potosi offers through its outstanding curricular and co-curricular programs.”
Weber wants to pursue more collaboration among K–12 schools, the UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System. “By strengthening ties with higher education, we can leverage resources of all these state entities furthering the education of Wisconsin citizens,” he said. “I firmly believe that if we want to strengthen the economy of Wisconsin we need to continue to ensure access to quality education.
“Outside of budget, one thing I would like to see is an upgrade in technology and further student access to technology. Technology continues to infuse our everyday lives and provides a means by which we can be creative in increasing the effectiveness of our educational mission. In a related sense, students must have sufficient access to technology to take advantage of the tools that are out there and to develop associated skills.”
“I would like for us to continue to offer our students state of the art technology,” said Kruser. “We hired a full time IT person and for the size of our school I feel we are a step above many other schools when it comes to technology.”