Highlights from LWV School Board Candidate Forum
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT — The League of Women Voters (LWV) held their Stevens Point Public School District School Board Candidate Forum on Mar. 14, giving the public a chance to ask questions and hear from future candidates before the upcoming election.
Forum organizers gave attendees an opportunity to ask questions to the entire panel of candidates via ballot cards. The LWV is a nonpartisan political organization concentrated on educating both men and women on the importance of democracy and the voting process through informational advocacy work. The open forum allowed individuals from the community to connect with their possible future school board officials before the coming election on April 2.
Three of the six current candidates for school board were in attendance at the forum: Jeffrey Ebel, Gee Pope and Ann Vang.
Below are highlighted excerpts from each candidates’ opening and closing statements and responses from the LWV question: As a school board member, do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or a representative of the school system?
To view footage from the forum, visit the city’s website.
Opening statement: “I am a native of Stevens Point. Born and raised here, started a family here. I started a business here, and I ran it for a number of years … I’ve been on the board now for six years, I am just finishing up my second term. It was challenging the first term, but it was also very rewarding … I’ve made some wonderful progress in the last three years. I, by the way, and the second most senior member on the board, so it is a fairly new board.”
Response to highlighted question: “I do represent the community and make sure the school district is what this community envisions it to be. Me saying that is one thing, but being able to articulate that and actually put that into a document that everyone can look at and read is a completely different story … And that’s where the strategic planning comes in.”
Closing: “Serving six years on the school board has been extremely rewarding for me. I have
seen remarkable changes in our school district … We are responsible for making policies and
building the school district you want. Our job is to be able to draw that from you and articulate
that in a vision, and a strategic plan. I really would appreciate your vote April second.”
Opening statement: “I’ve been a resident of Stevens Point for 35 years now, I have three sons that all went through the school district. I’ve taught for 30 years. Currently, I am a student teacher supervisor for UWSP … I am running because I thought it’s about time I started giving back to my community … After the last referendum passed, I started to take a little more interest and look at things, and thought maybe I could help out a little bit.”
Response to highlighted question: “As far as being a member of the community or the school board, if I were to be elected to the school board, I would like to think that I bring some knowledge to the board that people in the district may not have … As a community, I think we all want our schools to be excellent. We want our graduates to come out and be productive citizens.”
Closing: “There are always things that can be made just a little bit better … I’m not running because I think it’s a terrible district and I think we have to fix things, some things need to be fixed as always, but it’s a wonderful place and a wonderful school district.”
Opening: “I am a lifelong resident of Stevens Point. I have six children, and five of them are currently in the school district. I had an inkling that maybe I wanted to do a little bit more for our community and for the folks’ whose voices aren’t heard … I started talking to the youth and families and started asking them what do they want to see kids learn in school, and I went from there.”
Response to highlighted question: “I believe that I am actually a representative of the community. We are the voices that are speaking for them … Who are we as a board member to make decisions without speaking first to our community members and asking them what they want?”
Closing: “I chose to live here in Stevens point mainly because I love the school system that I attended. Attending K-12 here, I had smaller class sizes. I feel like the school system has changed a lot from when I started going … My skill sets here are a lot different than a lot of candidates. I feel like I will have real conversations with families.”
Check the Portage County Gazette for more information on all of the candidates running for
Contact Taylor J. Hale at [email protected] with Portage County news and information.