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Incumbents reign in Mounds View School Board elections
Marre Jo Sager
Voters also approve Mounds View levy request; St. Anthony-New Brighton School Board race uncontested
Last week, voters reelected three incumbents to serve new four-year terms on the Mounds View Area School Board.
Challenger John Hakes received 18.82 percent of total votes cast, but was roughly 1,100 votes shy of obtaining a seat on the board.
Greg Madsen was first elected to serve on the board in 2008 to fill a seat vacated by former 621 school board member Noreen Thompson, and was reelected one year later to serve a full four-year term.
Madsen said he is grateful to have the opportunity to work with a great group of people in Mounds View and believes the district has a lot to be proud of, but recognizes there is work to be done.
"I think it's time to fine tune the Early College Program at Mounds View and Irondale to make sure it accomplishes what we want it to accomplish, which is to better ensure that all of our students, regardless of socio-economic status will have the best shot at a meaningful post-secondary future," he said.
John Tynjala has earned a third term on the board. He said he is proud of the work ISD 621 has done in providing opportunities for its students to succeed through programs like STEAM, Early College and universal ACT testing for high school juniors. He explained those programs are geared toward students in the middle 30-70 percentile range academically.
"I think it's the direction schools should go -- offering those chances for the middle to have post secondary success," he said.
Marre Jo Sager will also retain her seat on the district's board where she has served for over 20 consecutive years.
"I continue to be just as energized every time an election comes," she said.
She said she believes Mounds View should continue its focus on current programs like Early College and STEAM, and added she is eager for the transition to free all-day kindergarten next year.
"I felt it was important to have experienced board members at this stage. We are at the brink of the next steps for those programs," she said.
Sager said the district recently hired a group to look at 621's comprehensive middle school program. "This is a great chance to look very broadly at ways to become more efficient and effective with things like scheduling and teaching strategies to make sure we are reaching students, and ensuring they are making incremental progress to be ready for high school," she said.
District 621 levy renewal approved
On Election Day, voters also approved the proposed tax levy renewal referendum that appeared on the ballot in last week's election.
The eight-year levy renewal will continue the $11.5 million per year in funding the Mounds View School District has received since it was first approved in 2006. The levy renewal passed by a wide margin, with nearly 72 percent of voters approving.
"We are very appreciative of the community's support of our students and schools by approving the school board's levy renewal request," District 621's Superintendent Dan Hoverman said.
Hoverman said levy dollars would continue to play an important role in maintaining current class sizes and programs.
District 282 School Board
Three candidates ran in an uncontested race for the St. Anthony-New Brighton School Board.
Leah Slye was elected to serve a third term on the board. She said moving forward one area of focus would be examining how technology can be used to help students succeed in the classroom. She added that securing funding would also be crucial to ensuring student achievement in the coming years.
She said financing is a challenge for most any school district, but she is proud of how District 282 has handled its finances.
Longtime St. Anthony-New Brighton School Board Member Barry Kinsey will be returning to serve another four-year term. Kinsey has served on ISD 282's School Board since 1990.
"The two things we always have to watch out for are managing finances and providing good education at a good value to our taxpayers and I believe we've done that," he said.
Newcomer Laura Oksnevad was elected to serve her first term on the school board. She said one challenge the district would face in the next four years would be asking voters to approve the continuation of funding through the district's operating levy for another four years.
She added that she ran for school board because she has a passion for education and wants to continue the positive trajectory of ISD 282's schools.
Joshua Nielsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-748-7824.