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School election is Tuesday

ELC voters to decide ballot issues and candidates

September 7, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Estherville Lincoln Central voters will decide two ballot issues Sept. 10 that will determine a significant part of the district's revenue, plus choose which of two existing candidates they want to remain on the board.

Public Measure B would extend the current voter-approved physical plant and equipment levy to $1.34, up from the current $1. That's in addition to a .33 board-approved levy that doesn't require voter approval.

The district is asking the public to approve the additional 33-cent levy to help make up for a commercial and industrial property tax rollback approved in the 2013 legislative session. According to superintendent Tara Paul, the district cannot determine an exact amount that the district will lose since property has not yet been assessed and the taxes set. If the measure does not pass, Paul said the voter-approved levy will stay at $1.

Public Measure C would extend from 2019 to 2029 the statewide penny tax.

Paul said PPEL money has gone for replacing rooftops, air conditioning, heating and cooling systems, control panels and technology updates, including labs and computers, servers and the district wireless system. This year, Paul said PPEL money went toward a new keyless entry system at the high school and middle school and updating the bus barns with new doors and security lights. She said the board wants to maintain a safety net with a PPEL balance to help with boiler replacement and other unexpected emergencies.

Paul said the district also wants to use both the penny sales tax and PPEL?money for one-to-one technology such as iPads. She said future plans also call for relocating third and fourth grades from Roosevelt to Demoney. Once the new board is seated, Paul said the board will form a building committee together to plan out the move.

With voters having approved going from a seven- to five-member board in the last election, they'll decide who will fill some of those seats Tuesday. While Don Schiltz decided not to run again and board president Jodie Greig is running unopposed in her at-large position, Michelle McCoy and Duane Schnell will run for another at-large position.

Following are the answers to questionnaires submitted to McCoy and Schnell.

Michelle McCoy

1) Please tell a little about yourself and why you believe you are qualified to serve on the board of education.

I grew up in Sidney, IA and went to college at Northwest Missouri State University studying music education and moved to Sioux City after college. My husband and I decided to move to a smaller community as we were starting our family. We moved to Estherville in 1997 and have made it our home ever since.

I am a personal banker at NorthStar Bank and have been on the board for a few years. I am married to Patrick McCoy and mom to Joel and Lena.

I am qualified to serve on the board as I have a background in education and a personal stake as a mother and community member.

2) Please explain your philosophy of education.

My basic philosophy is to always be a lifetime learner - this applies whether one is in education or not. The well-being and education of our kids is always my first priority.

3) How would you as a board member fulfill your responsibility to taxpayers?

I have always voiced my opinion and voted my conscience. I try to find the facts and listen to all opinions on all issues to make the best decision. I do not blindly accept the answer "It's Iowa code, legislation, etc." without investigating and confirming it myself.

4) How would you as a board member fulfill your responsibility to educating the children of the district?

I believe it's very important to listen to the students and the teachers - they are on the frontline after all. If one takes into account their perspective, it gives a good base on helping the decision-making process. Our decisions ultimately benefit them in the end.

5) What do you believe are the most pressing issues that the district faces?

Technology is ever-changing and I believe we need to keep up in order to have our students prepared for their future. Finances are always an issue, especially in this economy. I also believe government (federal and state) control limits local districts, and this is a problem as well.

Duane Schnell

1. Please tell a little about yourself and why you believe you are qualified to serve on the board of education.

I've been married to my wife, Dawn, for 17 years. We have two children, Gracie and Seth, both attend ELC. I was born in Estherville, and graduated from Estherville High School in 1983. After graduation I served in the Air Force for 4 years. After being honorably discharged, I came back to Estherville. I once again worked for Jensen's Furniture, where I had worked during my high schools years. I have been a business owner in Estherville for 14+ years now. I felt serving on the ELC school board of education, a duty, and a way to give back to our community, of which I have served for 7 years now.

2. Please explain your philosophy of education.

I believe education starts in the home. Parents need to be good role models for their students, and get involved with the education of their children. I believe every child learns differently. The challenge of our public school system is being able to teach to the masses in a way all students can grasp.

3. How would you as a board member fulfill your responsibility to taxpayers?

As a taxpayer myself, and having children in this school system, I believe it is critical that the taxpayer's money we take in is spent wisely and efficiently. We need to make sure that every decision we make is done with this question in mind: "How does this decision benefit the student's education?" We have to be responsible and honest about things that are out of our control. Those things we do have control over need to be done thoughtfully, and with the majority interests in mind.

4. How would you as a board member fulfill your responsibility to educating the children of the district?

Although as board members we are not educators (that is a far greater task than I could ever do), but we do have the responsibility to hire the best administrators available, who in turn hire the best teachers available. Also, as a board, we need to give the teachers the tools, and set policies that are conducive to a great learning environment. I have all the respect in the world for the teachers of our district, who do so much with so little. Today's children are learning things years sooner than children of my generation; just try helping with some of the homework your child brings home!

5. What do you believe are the most pressing issues that the district faces?

There are several pressing issues: 1) We are emerging from several years of deep budget cuts in our district, no different than any other district. We made some very tough choices, and need to be careful with our ongoing budget decision making. 2) Local control has always been a concern to me. So many things are dictated by the state and federal governments; it leaves little room for a school system such as ours to do what we feel is best for us and our community. 3) Working towards a single campus location. Moving our 3rd and 4th graders to a new facility near our main campus should be a priority when funding becomes available. Even though Roosevelt is a safe building, it is becoming increasingly tougher to maintain as the years go by. 4) Technology! Integrating technology into our classrooms and our ways of educating. Our students need to be prepared for institutes of higher learning if they so choose, or jobs that require such knowledge. This seems to be the way of the world, and we need to lead, not follow. All of these things cost money a lot of money - we have to make good decisions with the money this district has, and do the things that will make the biggest difference in our children's lives.



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