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Seven candidates for Haakon District Board of Education

Seven candidates are running for two at-large seats on the Haakon School District 27-1 Board of Education. The election will be Tuesday, April 14.

Five questions have been given to each candidate. Before the election, their answers will be printed in successive issues of the Pioneer Review.

Question #2. What do you feel is the most important issue before the board of education at this time?

Jodi Kammerer: "I think the number one issue facing the school board right now is accountability. I feel everyone involved with our children's education needs to be held accountable for what they are and are not teaching our kids. I believe there are major problems in our special education program that need to be addressed. I feel there are teachers who think that the student's IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) doesn't pertain to them, which is leaving our school district wide open for a lawsuit."

Lori Quinn: "I believe the budget is the most important issue facing the board today. As funding options decrease, our children's education is at risk. Now more than ever we as a district and a community have a responsibility to make wise choices in regards to spending and budgeting."

Michelle Butler: "I feel that the safety and well-being of the students and staff are very important. I also believe that a good solid education is VERY important, and that starts in kindergarten. The board members are the ones who need to make sure that our students and staff have the best type of education possible, that there is a safe learning environment for each student and that the teachers have the proper tools necessary to prepare our students for graduation and beyond."

R. Mark Radway: "Keeping our quality of education high is important to me. I feel this could be difficult with the economy the way it is. I'm sure there will be cuts from the state government to school districts. The board of education has to be responsible for educating our children to the best of their ability, in spite of any funding cuts they might experience. Keep curriculum high and expect the best out of our kids."

Tonya Jo Berry: "I feel that the most important issue before the board at this time is funding. Funding is always an issue, I believe, because we all know that it takes a lot of money to run a school district. In the turmoil that our national economy is going through, I feel making sure we have the funds to finance our district properly should be a top priority."

Mark Nelson: "We must maintain quality education while dealing with decreased funding. The board must establish priorities in what funds are spent on, if current programs can be maintained and if new programs can be added. The most important time in a student's education is in grades K-three, when the basics of learning (reading, writing, arithmetic and research skills) are acquired along with the joy of learning. To maintain this without cutting advanced education, the board must work with the staff, faculty and especially the parents. Without these basic skills, students will find themselves struggling as their education continues. This will result in not only a decrease of knowledge for the student, but also in lower average test scores for the school and possible loss of funding under federal programs, i.e. "No Student Left Behind."

Kelly Blair: "We must continue to wisely, yet adequately, fund our school to ensure a bright future for our kids. A good wage and benefit package is vital to retaining staff members and in recruiting quality replacements. In the 2007-08 school year, we sent 12 graduates to South Dakota state colleges. None of these students were required to take any remedial courses in college. Compare this to the nearly 22 percent of students who took remedial math, and the nine percent who took remedial English. It is not an accident that our school produces students who excel academically, athletically, musically and in drama, and in statewide competitions in FFA and FCCLA."