Southern Door School Board Candidates

Terry McNulty

Age: 41

Family: Wife, Lori, and two teenage daughters, Amber and Erin

Education: Two Associated degrees, Southern Door graduate.

Occupation: Land Surveyor and Real Estate Salesperson

Previous Elected Office: Trustee for the Village of Forestville and running for Village President unopposed.

Relevant Experience/ Civic Involvement: Active American Legion Member and former Commander; Retired First Sergeant from Army Reserve; family volunteers for several events like youth wrestling and little league.

Why are you the best choice for the school board?

First and foremost I do not believe in taking away opportunities from our children. Second maybe our school system needs a businessman’s prospective if some administrators can’t seem to build a real budget. In these economic times even our schools need to live within their means and not come after the taxpayers.

There seems to be distrust between the public and our current administration and school board. I want to make meetings more open and keep people inform with a voice. Follow the campaign at “Terry McNulty for Southern Door School Board” on Facebook.

How should the school board grapple with rising costs and decreasing state aid?

With all this talk of reduced state aid, really schools should be getting money back from teachers and support personnel similar to the cuts. The public needs to know we are paying teachers well and their benefit packages are more then many residents make in a year. School boards in the future should not build expected state revenues into their budgets.

At Southern Door I don’t expect classes getting overcrowded with the number of children in upcoming classes dwindling. We need to control costs from the top and try hard not to effect educating our children.

I don’t believe bargaining will ever be really curtailed there will still be decisions both the employee and employer will have to agree on. Teachers may become almost “free agents” and be able to negotiate on their own merits.

As for extracurricular activities, I hate to make kids pay to play but all schools have clubs and boosters that we may need more cooperation from to keep polished programs.

What areas of public education at the school or in public education in general do you feel could be most improved?

Controlling costs through cooperative efforts will have to be done in the future. Also our school needs to by open and truthful about what is going on and stop threatening good employees and teachers to get them to fall in line with administration agendas. Most of our new school board candidates feel the same and we don’t always have to agree if we can come to a compromise that doesn’t adversely affect our children.

I’d like to close with a quote from one of our administrators “We cannot let kids feel they don’t belong.”

Perry DeGrave (I)

Age: 54

Family: Four children, Bailey, Jayden, Landon and Carter and four grandchildren; girlfriend Shirley and her children Jesse and Kaitlynn, Grandchild Janelle

Education:  Southern Door High School; Attended NWTC for various training courses

Occupation: Self-employed dairy farmer

Previous Elected Office: Southern Door School Board (2002 – present); Union Town Supervisor (1980-1986); Brussels, Union & Gardner Volunteer Fire Fighter (1984-2010); Held Secretary and Treasury position for 18 years for Fireman Fund; 16 years 4-H Adult Leader ; Managed the 4-H Dairy Bar for 10 years at the Door County Fair

Why are you the best choice for school board?

I think I am the best choice for the board because of my experience from being currently on the board. The Southern Door school Board has a lot of changes to make with Governor Walker’s new laws just put into place. I have been attending a lot of the meetings to keep up with the changes that will affect the school. Also, I am on the Negotiations Committee and I am always willing to work with the teachers and support staff with the contracts that are up coming.

How should the school board grapple with rising costs and decreasing state aid?

One of the things the school board needs to do is continually review the budget and its programs.

No, I do not believe that extracurricular activities should be cut back. These programs are important to keep the children active and involved.

What areas of public education at the school or in public could be improved?

The programs for the children that have special needs could be improved and enhanced to meet more childrens needs.

Pamela Parks

Family: Husband Jarrod Parks; three children

Age: 38

Education: Masters of Social Work – MSW from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, Bachelors of Social Work from Carthage College, Kenosha. Southern Door High School, 1991

Occupation: Freelance writer.

Relevant Experience/ Civic Involvement: I have a variety of experience working with people and important issues. As a freelance writer, I research issues and connect with people in many different roles in the community. In my past position at HELP of Door County, I coordinated Domestic Abuse services which included assisting individuals, leading support groups, and providing legal advocacy services; chaired the Coordinated Community Response Team and worked collaboratively with the court system, District Attorney’s office, law enforcement and other human service agencies to develop innovative programs and improve services to the people we served; and provided community education and training. I also have experience working with committees and on projects at my church as well as volunteering with several local nonprofit organizations. I am a Leadership of Door County graduate, class of 2000.

Why are you the best choice for the school board?

I am current on the challenges facing our school, having attended school board meetings – including the budget meeting, annual meeting, and listening session – and have spent hours reading the budget line-by-line. I have seen how the board operates and makes decisions. Change is needed. Now more than ever the school board needs to be communicating and collaborating with the parents, staff and the community. We need to be thinking outside of the box, having thorough and diligent discussion, and insisting on transparency. I value this process, which will continue to provide a quality education amidst the current fiscal challenges.

How should the school board grapple with rising costs and decreasing state aid?

The school board at Southern Door needs to be working harder and smarter to control costs, cut spending and increase revenue at Southern Door Schools. The standard game plan that has worked for decades is now inefficient. We need to be working together, asking for community involvement and creative ideas in the process, refining ideas, putting them all on the table for discussion and then selecting the combination that will work the best for our school. And the dialogue needs to be in the open with all the stakeholders – parents, staff, and taxpayers. It takes time and effort but is an expected standard and is what is needed.

Reducing costs should be a process that looks at the budget systematically. No stone should be left unturned and the process should be inclusive. Every staff member as well as the public should be encouraged to come forward with ideas to encourage efficiency, consider cost savings and develop new ways to increase revenue for our district.

It is a strategy that starts with leadership setting the example, and that includes the school board and administration. We need to be discussing hundreds of line items in the budget and weighing them against our mission and the needs of the district. Just a few examples of items I would like to see discussed are: should school board members and staff who attend meetings be reimbursed for mileage to come to work? Does the school board need $,1000 of food a year? Does our superintendent need a monthly car allowance? Do we need a separate District Office building when office space is available in the Elementary/Middle School office? Do we need $3.4 million in our General Fund 10 balance or can we operate efficiently and effectively with $3.2 or million or less? Do we need 12-month contracts for administrators? Should we have an energy audit? How can we use our excellent resources (ie: buildings, staff, and auditorium) to create additional revenue for the school? The cumulative effect of addressing the budget in this manner would be substantial.

What areas of public education at the school or in public education in general do you feel could be most improved?

Southern Door has a strong tradition of providing an exceptional education to our students. That said, no system or business is perfect. Evaluating processes, policies, programs, and operations is key to insuring our school is effective, efficient and accomplishing the mission and goals we have set before us. Evaluation also opens the door to celebrating excellence and successes as well as allows for revision and retooling, insuring the best results. The process should be open and inclusive, involving parents, staff and students. It is a proactive approach rather than reactive.

Additionally, there is great opportunity for area schools to increase collaboration. A common calendar is the first step to being able to share staff and distance learning opportunities. With today’s fiscal challenges, we need to creatively and work together as districts in order to continue to provide quality education and additional opportunities to our students.

Public education also needs to strive to insure that all our student are prepared to meet their future goals whether that career path includes college or technical school education, directly moving into the workforce, serving in the military, small business ownership, giving back through community or civic service, and the boundless array of additional opportunities awaiting our students.

Larry Jeanquart (I)

Age: 61

Family: Single

Education: Southern Door High School; UW – Madison Farm and Industry Short Course

Occupation: Retired dairy farmer and now raise crops and beef. I added rabbits to the mix.

Previous Elected Office: 24 years on the Southern Door School Board.

Relevant Experience/ Civic Involvement: I am involved in the showing of beef and dairy animals along with rabbits in the open an 4H classes. I am a lifetime FFA Alumni member.

Why are you the best choice for the board?

I have always advocated for students because they are our future. Southern Door School District has an enrollment of nearly 1,200 students, all of which I think of as my own and which are special to me, since I have no children of my own. This allows me to be an advocate for all our students.

We need stability and quality education. The most pressing issue of course is finance, which is a balancing job between the education need of our students and how much the taxpayers of our district can afford.

How should the school board grapple with rising costs and decreasing state aid?

The cost of operating our district continues to rise, such as the expense of purchasing busses, paper supplies, fuel for the heat and transportation, as the taxpayer is experiencing themselves. The state aid payments are being reduced along with change in the payment dates, which makes it very hard to budget and plan for the future education of our students who are our future. Class sizes will need to be looked at with the possibility of being increased in the upper grades and high school first. All employee wages, benefits and workload need to be looked at very carefully along with supply costs. Everybody needs to tighten his or her belts, not just the other guy. Our buildings must be maintained in good repair, the cost of which continues to increase. Salaries and benefits of employees continue to increase. The poor economy at this time is not in line with rising cost, let’s all tighten our belt. I am semi-retired with nobody paying any benefits, maybe others need to pay a bigger share of their benefits, and then they would realize the cost of them. The state needs to be much more consistent with their funding and wants.

Deb Kluth

Age: 37

Family: Husband James F. Kluth Jr.; sons Trae and Andrew

Occupation: customer service

Education: Norwalk High School, Norwalk, IA; I continued to attend college which included certificates in the following: Early Childhood I; Early Childhood II; First Responder; Financial Institution Management; Supervisory and Team Building Management; Investment and Trust; Banking Operations and general business. I successfully completed the entrepreneur program through E-Hub.

Relevant Experience/ Community Involvement: I have successful experience and training in many key areas. To mention some: team-building, problem solving, human resources management, dealing with change in the work place, customer service, fraud/loss prevention, train the trainer, time management, business writing, performance reviews, assertiveness and conflict resolution. Lastly and most importantly, I am a mother and an advocate for my children and others.

Civic Involvement: Volunteer: Linus blanket program; Southern Door wrestling program; Cal Ripken baseball program; Southern Door school system; Door County Library; Scholastic Books; PATH; Treehouse Learning Center (as Vice President and Treasurer); YMCA Kids Campaign; YMCA Fun Night; YMCA Halloween Party; Gardner First Responder Group; and United Way. Brussels Cub Scout Pack #4140; Door County Alcohol and Other Drug Coalition youth organization representative; Door County Parent Coalition; Southern Door Food Service Committee; Southern Door P.I.E. group

Why are you the best choice for school board?

My actions and decisions will support my dedication to the students of our district. I will put the ‘public’ back in our public school system because everyone has value to contribute. I will do this by opening fair and professional channels of communication. This will only contribute to better decisions and outcomes. I believe in utilizing our resources within our community. I believe that our school board needs to take back its position of managing the district. I will actively continue all training necessary to be successful. I am approachable, empathetic, assertive, fair and ethical.

Chuck Bretl (I)

Family: Wife, Kandice; daughters Ally and Katie

Age: 46

Education: Bachelors Degree plus many graduate credits

Occupation: Teacher and coach; construction in the summer

Previous Elected Office: Southern Door School Board (1999 – present)

Relevant Experience/Civic Involvement: CESA 7 Board of Control member; member on various board subcommittees; community volunteer

Why are you the best choice for the school board?

I am the best candidate because of my educational background and experience on the board. I have been a teacher for over 22 years and a board member for 12. I have also served on the CESA 7 Board of Control for eight years, four as the chair. CESA 7 provides support to area schools when districts require unique services. The knowledge gained from this position has given our district a distinct advantage in solving problems by networking with other schools. Because of my teaching and board experiences, I am the person who will serve this district best.

How should the school board grapple with rising costs and decreasing state aid?

Anything that is cut from a school budget will impact the children in some way. The question then becomes, “What cuts would be the least detrimental to our students?” Because of the rough financial straights we are in, I have chosen to not take any mileage or per diem compensation for the last couple years. This is the least detrimental to students, because this only affects me. However, this is only the proverbial drop in the bucket in a multimillion dollar budget. Money saving measures have to be bigger to make a significant impact on our multimillion dollar budget. Enlarging class sizes is not an answer, especially in the lower elementary grades. The lower the student to teacher ratio, the more one-to-one time the teacher can spend to catch and help needy students. Cutting extracurricular activities could and has caused students to open enroll in another district, taking any state aid with them. Curtailing bargaining rights will strain the relationship between the board and staff, causing bitterness between the two, and possibly putting the students in the middle of any disagreement.

Because about 80 percent of the budget is compensation related, any significant cuts are going to need to be directed here. These types of cuts are the most painful because they involve livelihoods and personal attachments. Trying to maintain programming, while making these personnel cuts, is challenging. As I said, any cut will impact our students. As a community we will need to work together to create a priority list and make it as painless as possible.

What areas of public education at the school or in public education in general do you feel could be most improved?

The way public education is funded is the biggest challenge in our country today. We need to provide the best public education we can, because well-educated youth are the only guarantee we will have a prosperous future for everyone. If our educational system cannot teach our students to compete globally, the American dream will be no longer.