Spring 2014 Election

Westrick, Cruzan hold onto Milton School Board seats

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Neil Johnson
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

MILTON—Milton voters decided they'd stick with two incumbent Milton School Board members whose seats were up in Tuesday's election.

Tom Westrick and Jon Cruzan both held onto their seats against challenger Shelly Krull-Hanke, although Cruzan topped Krull-Hanke by less than 100 votes Tuesday.

Even as the district faces a budget gap that has become a perennial specter—a ghost that seems to evaporate into the mist by July or August every year—the district has launched a sweeping, $600,000 technology project that could put computer devices in the hands of nearly every student.

The Gazette was not able to reach either Cruzan or Westrick on Tuesday night for comment on winning the election.

In interviews prior to the election, both board members didn't seem to flinch over technology spending in the face of a projected budget gap.

“Budget gaps are serious issues, but we can't allow them to freeze us into inactivity in needed areas of advancement like technology,” Cruzan told the Gazette in the interview.

Cruzan called Milton's technology initiative a platform “from which to launch Milton students into the post-school world.”

Westrick in an earlier interview defended the use of district funds for “educational endeavors,” saying the district had decided last year to spend what at the time was a surplus instead of lumping the extra money into the district's fund balance.

He pointed out a projected budget gap is “less than 1 percent” of the district's total budget.

Prior to the election, both Cruzan and Westrick answered questions about a potential spending referendum for school facility repairs or a potential new high school.

Cruzan said he'd like to see the community form another study group to look at facility needs as the district did it 2007-08, when it last entertained a referendum for a new high school.

Westrick earlier told The Gazette it's high time the board and the district start discussing the “inadequacies of our almost 50-year-old high school.”

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