Four vie for two seats in District of Hudson school board raceThe candidates running in next week’s (April 6) Hudson Board of Education election are incumbents Cindy Crimmins and Mark Kaisersatt and challengers Jim Bartlein and Patricia German.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
The candidates running in next week’s (April 6) Hudson Board of Education election are incumbents Cindy Crimmins and Mark Kaisersatt and challengers Jim Bartlein and Patricia German. It is the first time Bartlein or German has run for public office. Kaisersatt has been a board member since 2001. Crimmins has served two previous terms.
School board terms are three years.
The candidates responded to several questions from the Star-Observer including why they wanted serve on the school board, what they see as the challenges facing the district and what, if anything, should be done about additional secondary classroom space.
Address: 467 Park Lane
Occupation: Currently director of sales and marketing for a multinational food ingredient manufacturer; previously worked as insurance broker, mortgage broker, real estate broker, audiologist and national accounts sales director.
Prior elected office: Homeowners association president.
Clubs, organizations and civic involvement: E.P. Rock Stand-by-Me Mentor, along with wife Lisa; Hudson Booster baseball coach; Hudson Basketball associate coach; member, Institute of Food Technology; member, American Society of Baking; Juice Processors Association committee member.
Family: wife Lisa, daughter Kate, 21, and son Michael, 18.
Education: Technical college sales and marketing studies.
Jim Bartlein believes he can be a fair and impartial representative of all of the citizens of Hudson as a member of the school board. He said by making himself easily accessible to residents before and after the election, he will reflect the core values and priorities of the community.
Bartlein says, while he understands the impact of the recession on Hudson families, the daily classroom education of students needs to be the top priority of the school board and he says he would be “reluctant to cut basic needs in those classrooms.” In talking with voters, Bartlein said the elimination of driver’s education at Hudson High School has been a big concern. He believes the concept of the greater good to all must guide decisions made by the school board.
“Driver’s education is one of those greater goods that benefit nearly every student in the district and their parents. It seems that if parents are willing to accept additional fees to make the program cost neutral then we can find other less beneficial programs to eliminate,” said Bartlein.
He added that reduced funding from state and federal sources will continue to put pressure on local taxpayers to cover expenses. “Difficult but well reasoned choices need to be made.”
Regarding the need for more secondary space, Bartlein would support a modest secondary school addition to get the district through the next five to seven years. He believes this would cost less than a new school and decrease the need for more administrative staffing. While not a long term solution, Bartlein believes it could be “a reasonable alternative until we get back to a more prosperous time.”
Address: 448 Red Brick Road
Occupation: 25 years conducting evaluation research that informed policy decisions, teaching adults to conduct and consume evaluation research effectively, and applying research toward the development and implementation of strategies for improved organizational effectiveness.
Prior elected office: Two terms on the Hudson Board of Education.
Clubs, organizations, civic involvement: Spirit Walk, Inc. volunteer (1991-2006), co-president and board chair 2000-2006, Via de Cristo, UW-RF Extension Services, 4-H, missions to Belize, Honduras, Roatan, Mexico.
Family: Husband, Mark and son Kevin, 22, and daughter Kate, 19.
Education: Master of Arts degree, University of Minnesota, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Concentrations: Policy Analysis, Management of Government and Nonprofit Organizations; Bachelor of Science, UW-River Falls.
Cindy Crimmins says the Hudson School District is a great one with highly qualified, motivated and dedicated teachers, administrators, staff and students who regularly exceed expectations. She is running for a third term on the Hudson Board of Education because the district continues to face “significant changes in funding, compensation, curriculum delivery, content and standards,” and challenges not yet identified including demands on “finite resources — time, energy, dollars and space. “There is still a lot to be done, and I’m still committed to the work ahead of us.”
Crimmins says the need for space at the secondary level continues to be a significant challenge for the district as does the implementation of the strategic plan, HSD 2025.
During difficult economic times, she says the biggest challenge facing the school board is how to move the district forward without hurting taxpayers.
Said Crimmins, “Ongoing success will require additional resources that have to come from somewhere. We must stop doing some things and invest the resources in other things; while necessary and good, that kind of change is also very hard.” She said that the budget process last year was a challenge and the board was able to minimize job losses by forfeiting vacated positions but that option won’t work next year.
Crimmins said that asking for a new secondary building at this time would be difficult but she would support putting the question before voters in a referendum if the plan is for the “right building on the right site.” She said any new building “must be green and designed to deliver a 21st century education and accommodate advances in technology better than schools of the past.” She also said it must be cost-effective.
Address: 473 Green Mill Lane
Occupation: Wife and mother; previously co-owner of family business, bus driver for Safeway and St. Croix County Department on Aging, admissions clerk for St. Francis Hospital, Breckinridge, Minn.
Prior elected office: Elected vice president of legislation for North Dakota Right to Life in 1989.
Clubs, organizations and civic involvement: Volunteer for school activities and field trips, community food shelf, Sharing and Caring Hands, Minneapolis, area crisis pregnancy centers, St. Patrick School education committee and youth activities.
Family: husband Jerry and children Chris, 37, Amy, 35, Nole, 33, Isaac, 31, Gabe, 27, Jacob, 25, Jacinta, 23, Lester, 21, Vincent, 18, Tim, 16, and Eli, 14.
Education: Graduated from a public high school in North Dakota in 1970, second in class of 36.
Patricia German believes her experience as a mother raising 11 children puts her in a good position to represent the needs of parents and students. She has managed her large household for more than 30 years and says that experience has made her “sympathetic to the challenges teachers face with rooms full of students.”
She said she is a believer in a firm foundation in language, math and science but is also proud of the district’s music, art and athletic programs. As a member of the school board she would work to assure that the curriculum adequately meets students’ needs and that school facilities are adequate. “There is a tendency for facilities to become the primary public focus. Inadequate facilities can be a problem; an inadequate curriculum is inexcusable.”
German said she believes the biggest challenge facing the Hudson School District is improving communication with the taxpayers. “There are many components to communicating. Everyone who is involved needs to respect and listen to one another. Along with listening is hearing, making an effort to understand what the other is trying to bring forth and respecting others’ views.”
German says the economic downturn means there may be fewer tax dollars available to the district, and as the head of a large family she understands trying to do more with less. She believes the times call for a “common sense” approach. “Sometimes wants must be postponed so we can care for what we have.”
German would support adding on to the existing middle school if possible. She would also be in favor of putting sixth-graders back into elementary schools until “we have saved the money to build” a new school.
Address: 561 High Ridge Drive
Occupaton: Environmental health specialist, City of St. Paul.
Prior elected office: Hudson School Board member since 2001.
Family: wife Debbie, daughter Marina, 24, and son Joey, 21.
Education: Bachelor of Science degree, political science, UW-River Falls; Master of Arts degree in public administration, Hamline University, St. Paul.
Mark Kaisersatt said he is seeking re-election because he believes in the importance of public education. “We must offer our children the educational opportunities and support necessary to prepare them for personal success and to fulfill their roles as responsible and contributing citizens. He said the experience on the school board has been both challenging and rewarding.
He believes the biggest challenge facing the school board is to offer those opportunities for Hudson students in a time of diminishing financial resources. He said he knows that unemployment, foreclosures, and diminished net worth have all affected the taxpayers of the district but said the community has “an obligation to continue to provide the best education we can for our students...I am personally committed to ensuring that our children do not suffer the consequences of this fiscal crisis.”
Kaisersatt said that the board is currently looking at short term options that would provide more space at the middle school level. Long term, he would support the construction of a new secondary school. He said “Hudson remains a desirable community and that while the pace of growth is variable, it continues.”
Kaisersatt added that “Integral to providing the necessary educational opportunities for our students is having the physical facilities in which to deliver the curriculum. We are fast approaching the limits of our secondary facilities and a long term solution needs to be developed sooner rather than later.”
He said, “I look forward to continuing my service and to contribute to the continued advancement of our school district as we meet the demands of the 21st century.”