District 742 Primary: 9 Running For 4 School Board Seats
ST. CLOUD - Nine candidates are vying for four open seats on the St. Cloud area school board.
The primary election is on Tuesday and the top eight vote getters will move on to the general election in November. Information on each candidate is below:
Dahlgren is the only incumbent who filed to retain a seat on the board (Les Green, Dennis Whipple and Debbie Erickson decided not to seek re-election). He hopes to continue the work the school board has been doing.
"One of the places I feel that I'm very important is in the area of being conservative financially and making sure that the budgets work."
Dahlgren has served on the school board over the last four years. He says he would continue working to replace Tech High School and upgrading Apollo. He has four children, who all attended school in District 742.
Andreason has served on the high school solution and strategic planning committees. He works as a self employed private investigator and claims adjuster. He says the board needs to focus on racial imbalances in their schools.
"On the education side there's a difference in the test scores between the minorities and the whites."
Andreason says he has three kids in District 742, which created his interest in becoming more involved. He ran for the District 742 school board in 2014 and was narrowly defeated in the primary.
Segura-Schwartz grew up in Colombia and in 2001, moved to St. Cloud to complete her Masters from St. Cloud State University. She would look to start more community conversations if she's elected to the board.
"I have experience in bringing conversations to community members, conversations that are hard and difficult to have, but necessary."
Segura-Schwartz has eight years of experience working with after school programs and is involved with Partners for Education. She says she would add a different perspective to the board, being both a woman and an immigrant.
Hamerlinck was a District 742 school board member from 2011-2014. He's also been the PTA president at Kennedy and has recently been doing part-time work at Apollo High School. He says student achievement should always be their top priority.
"Even if we think we're in the top 10 in the state, we can always do better. We need to listen to the folks who are involved in that: teachers and those who develop curriculum."
Hamerlinck says he would also look to find ways to improve parent involvement in District 742. He's currently employed as an account manager.
Doke has lived in St. Cloud for about 15 years. He's a regional manager for a local manufacturing company. Doke says the school board needs to offer more realistic solutions for their aging facilities and the achievement gap.
"I don't think the community is well enough aware of why the school board is pressing for a new school or why the safety measures in all the schools should be addressed."
He says the board should address aging facilities with a reasonable budget in mind. He adds that the board also needs to become more transparent with the community. Doke was born in Wisconsin and eventually moved to St. Cloud to marry his wife.
Pollreis served on the Air Force for four years and now works as an education supervisor at the Stearns County Jail. He was previously elected to the Swanville school board for two years before he moved to St. Cloud.
"I saw firsthand how fresh faces, fresh ideas, open discussion and teamwork made a difference, it's a great school district up there."
He says the board needs to communicate better about the good things happening in schools and how they're spending tax dollars. Pollreis says he would spend significant time reaching out to the community.
Studer is retired and was born and raised in St. Cloud (A 1966 Tech graduate). He's served on several local non-profit boards recently. He says the District has been losing trust with the community.
"A lot of people think the school board is trying to pull one over on them, as long as that attitude is out there, I think enough people feel the board isn't acting in their best interest."
He says District 742 needs new facilities and the board needs to get something done before prices increase for taxpayers. He adds that the board should also look at common core and see if they can develop their own locally based curriculum to better prepare students for jobs.
Haws has experience as a teacher, swim coach and was also director of operations for a preschool when she lived in Homer, Alaska. She says student success is her top concern.
"School achievement and our achievement gap, I think that's always a top concern no matter where we're at."
Haws has four kids who have gone or are going through the St. Cloud Area School District. Haws has a bachelor's degree in business management and human resources from St. Cloud State University.
Palmer is a retired professor and a veteran of the U.S. Army. He came to St. Cloud in 1976 and worked at St. Cloud State University for 39 years (He's now retired). He was a department chair and provost during some of his time at SCSU. Palmer says he's concerned about the decline of achievement in District 742.
"We were the preferred school district to send your children to when I came in 1976. Realtors tell me now that we're no longer the preferred district."
Palmer thinks the district doesn't plan enough and rushes ahead with things, using the bond referendum as an example.