Budgets, policies face the next Maple school boardIncumbents David Paulus of Brule and Kim Pearson of Poplar are facing challenger Joyce Hood-Orlowski of Iron River for two seats on the Maple School Board. Paulus and Pearson are finishing their first terms on the board.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Incumbents David Paulus of Brule and Kim Pearson of Poplar are facing challenger Joyce Hood-Orlowski of Iron River for two seats on the Maple School Board. Paulus and Pearson are finishing their first terms on the board.
“Being a board member has been a very challenging and rewarding experience,” Paulus said, and he wants to continue to serve and give back to the community.
Pearson, who lives in Poplar, said she’s been an active participant on the board, serving as treasurer and clerk, and wants to continue the work she started on issues.
“I spend a lot of time at district events and try to stay apprised of what is happening in the schools by talking to students and staff,” she said.
Hood-Orlowski said she is running for the position to have input into what children are learning and to make their education better.
“I just think it’s important we take an active role in our children’s education,” the Iron River woman said. She also wants to hold administration accountable.
“I don’t want to be another rubber stamp,” Hood-Orlowski said.
All three candidates said budget cuts are the biggest challenge facing the district. Hood-Orlowski hopes to find creative solutions to the budget crunch — such as leasing school buses instead of owning them and applying for more grants — and search for ways to trim the budget.
As a business owner, she deals with worker benefits, including health and retirement plans, on a regular basis. She hopes to put her business experience to work for the district.
Pearson said dealing with budget cuts is difficult, but it has to be done.
“I think that every program that we currently have is going to need to be carefully scrutinized to determine what things can be cut back on with minimal effect on the students,” Pearson said.
Paulus said collaboration between staff, administration and the board has allowed them to work through budget issues and still manage to avoid layoffs up to this point.
“We are doing more with less (money) and that speaks volumes about the quality of our staff,” he said.
Pearson said one of her biggest strengths is that she is aware of what is going on at the schools. Her work experience dealing with budgets, employee and labor issues, policies and procedures is also a plus. And Pearson said she is used to working together as a team.
Moving the district forward in a positive direction is Paulus’ goal.
“We as citizens want what is best for our children and I intend on making that happen,” he said.
Hood-Orlowski said she is an excellent mediator who is able to listen to both sides objectively and bring them together. The Iron River woman said she has a good sense of humor and is not afraid to ask the tough questions.
Top issues facing the district are retention of highly qualified staff, curriculum mapping and standards, and working to “make all of our schools the very best they can be for each student,” Pearson said.
Partnering with Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College to increase opportunities for students is one of the things Hood-Orlowski would like to explore; children are our future, she said.
“We need to look out for them and make sure they have every opportunity to succeed,” Hood-Orlowski said.
None of the candidates had much to say on the employee handbook or changes that may take place as a result of the new collective bargaining law. The handbook is being worked on by the district’s legal counsel and a draft may be available in a few weeks, Pearson said.
“I know that the board members as well as all staff are extremely anxious to see this handbook so that all parties can review it and make comments on it,” she said.
In the Solon Springs School District, two incumbents are seeking re-election to the seats they currently hold. Rome Deming is finishing her fifth year on the board; Gitzy Wicklund has been on the school board for 15 years.
In Northwood School District in Minong, two incumbents are running for two seats on the school board. Max Ericson has served on the board for 26 years in the town of Minong seat. Mary Ganzel has held the town of Gordon seat for 12 years.