Candidates set for NEH school board election
Four unopposed candidates are on the ballot for the Northeast Hamilton School Board election which will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 10 in the Blairsburg City Hall from noon – 8 p.m.
On the ballot are Eric Patterson for District One, Bruce Mark for District Three and At-Large candidates Roxanne Anderson and Marlin Pruismann.
This is the first school board election for Northeast Hamilton since it drew new district boundaries in 2012.
The school board decided to adopt three director districts instead of five because it was becoming more difficult to find residents from each district who were willing to serve.
In January 2012, the NEH School Board reduced the school districts from five to three and added two At-Large candidate positions. The entire district votes for all the directors.
Attempts were made to contact all candidates for this article. Only Roxanne Anderson was available for comment.
Eric Patterson is running for the District One seat left vacant by the retirement of Kathy Pruismann in Blairsburg.
Of the five seats on the NEH School Board, District Two Director Mike Rapp of Williams is the only candidate not up for reelection. Rapp has two years to serve of his four year term. The District Two seat will be up for election in 2015.
Bruce Mark of Williams is running for the District Three seat. Mark has previously served on the NEH School Board, retiring in 2011.
Roxanne Anderson and Marlin Pruismann are running for the two At-Large seats on the Board.
Roxanne Anderson is the incumbent At-Large director. She was appointed to the Board in 2011 when a write-in winner for the school board election declined to serve.
As a mother of two proud NEH graduates and two current students, Anderson hopes to continue serving the district as it faces future challenges.
“I think it is important to keep our eyes on the numbers (of enrolled students),” said Anderson on her reelection bid. “We have to fight to keep the numbers up and to be proactive to what the future holds for Northeast Hamilton”.
Anderson believes that among the district’s many challenges, keeping enrollment steady is the number one goal.
“Logistically, it is tough,” she said of the district’s ability to draw new students from the surrounding area. “But we have to work to promote Northeast Hamilton and promote what great things we have to offer”.
Due to redistricting, retirements, and resignations over the past two years, determining regular terms and district designations has proven to be a brain teaser for election officials, said Hamilton County Auditor Kim Schaa.
Schaa is also the retiring NEH School Board President.
School elections are always held in the odd numbered years. In one
election season, two director seats are on the ballot. Then two years later, the other three director seats are on the ballot.
The redistricting also changed the district from which directors were elected.
For instance, the new District Three seat includes areas which formerly included District Four and District Five. When redistricting was implemented in 2012, Kim Schaa became the director from District Three. Randy Greenfield, who resides in the former District Five area, became an At-Large
Problems first emerged for the district during the September 2011 school board election.
For that election, Board members Bret Schutt and Bruce Mark chose not to seek reelection but there were no candidates for those seats. Write-in candidate Scott Renaud won, but declined to serve.
The Board appointed Roxanne Anderson of Williams to serve in the vacancy.
In that same election, Lori Ratzke won the District One director seat vacated by retiring board member Kathy Pruismann. After the election, Supt. Andrew Woiwood suggested the NEH School Board redraw district boundaries with three director districts each representing the Kamrar, Blairsburg and Williams areas. In addition, two At-Large positions would bring the total seats on the school board to five directors.
The reasoning for the change would help expand the district’s pool for board candidates.
It was determined at that time that board members seated by election would be District Directors while those appointed would be At-Large Directors.
So Mike Rapp of Williams held the District Two directorship while Roxanne Anderson, also of Williams, became the At-Large director.
Tuesday’s upcoming election is the first time the new district boundaries will be in effect.
The change helped the district field enough candidates for directorships, but some problems were beyond the district’s control.
Over the past years, Northeast Hamilton had been experiencing declining enrollment. The Board knew it would possibly have to make decisions on either full grade sharing or partial day sharing for the 2013-2014 school year.
But at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, NEH was faced with an unexpected decline in school enrollment and was forced to consider its options for the following school year.
When the NEH Board voted to enter into a partial day sharing contract with Webster City CSD rather than with South Hamilton CSD, District One Director Lori Ratzke resigned in protest in the spring of 2012.
Kathy Pruismann was appointed to fill Ratzke’s unexpired term.
In June 2012, Randy Greenfield was seated as the second At-Large board member. He was chosen to fill the vacancy left by the School Board President Nate Palmer of Kamrar who resigned due to professional demands. It just so happened that Palmer had also been an appointed board member. Palmer was chosen to serve the unexpired term of Dave Mayo who moved from the district in Spring 2011. “It’s as clear as mud, isn’t it?” said Hamilton County Auditor Kim Schaa of the pending election. “It would not have been nearly as confusing but, redistricting threw in an additional monkey wrench.”.