Spring 2014 Election
Four candidates vie for three seats on Edgerton School Board
EDGERTON—Candidates for the Edgerton School Board's three open seats have more than a dozen years of combined experience serving on the board.
Incumbents Sue Tronnes and Amy Horn-Delzer have served multiple terms on the board, and Jim Salimes has been on board since 2011.
They face a challenge from 20-year-old Jordan K. Wileman, an Edgerton High School graduate and UW-Whitewater student.
The Gazette was unable to reach Salimes for an interview but asked the other candidates the following questions:
Q: If you had to choose something in the Edgerton School district—a project, a plan or an initiative, anything—that you believe the district should focus on in the near term, what is it?
Horn-Delzer: The important thing we need to work on is to increase our levels or learning. The standards are increasing, and the demands that they have, they need to be college-ready. Keeping up with both academics and technology is the most important way to get them ready when they're walking out the door. The challenge is to work within the confines of the economic constraints we have for district funding.
Tronnes: We're a year into a technology rollout. We've got iPads in a lot of the hands of students sixth grade and up. It's not a one-to-one, in lower grade levels, but I think we're planning to get there. We've got a lot of new equipment, and that's really important for students. It's part of what makes them prepared for life after high school.
Wileman: Our district with its administration and school board has done a good job of getting rid of programs that shouldn't be there. Yet a structural deficit seems to crop up of something like $180,000. I'd like to see that sawed down so there's no deficit. Lower taxes, better services, that's my platform.
Q: Is there an important issue or a plan you think may not be on the radar for the district or the board right now?
Horn-Delzer: Tonight (March 10) we passed a new and improved math curriculum to increase the rigor for our math standards. That's the new world in which the students are going to be expected to live, and it's really important. We are doing the same things in our language arts and in technology. It's a part of a broader plan that takes time and thought.
Tronnes: I think we've got a really strong administrative team. They're looking at a lot of things, dealing with common core standards and testing and still dealing with changes in budgeting through Act 10. I don't know that there's something we're not doing or paying attention to that I would call out.
Wileman: I've seen other school districts where the board meetings actually have a high school student on their board. I think we should have one student in the high school added onto the school board in some way—however it would be legal—to give some form of input permanently.
Q: There's a plan for an agricultural learning lab at the 300-acre Silverwood Park, which was donated to Dane County by the late Edgerton teacher Irene Silverwood. What do you think about the Silverwood Park project, and how do you see Edgerton schools fitting in with plans there?
Horn-Delzer: It takes funding and grant writing, but some of those things are in the works. The winter carrots, the FFA pumpkin patch, I'm very excited about it—the idea of hands-on learning for agricultural products and growing to be transferred out there. I see it as a win-win situation for our students. Financially, I'm not na´ve enough to think Dane County is going to fund all those projects. It could take the school district being creative.
Tronnes: I think it's fantastic what's going on. They've got a pond and things, there's a chance for physical activity, too. It's so close, I think the schools really would want to get involved in ways they can. There's some things that still have to be known because it's in Dane County. There are some details that have to be worked out. I don't know how we can really become a direct partner. It's a wait-and-see.
Wileman: I come from a farming family. It's a very good idea. I'd like to learn more specifics. The bottom line is we have to make sure everybody gets a quality education, but you have to look at costs of programs. We have to make sure we do more or as much with less money. That's what we're in the business of doing, I think.