Spring 2014 Election

Bill Sodemann survives re-election bid for Janesville School Board

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Nick Crow
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

JANESVILLE—Incumbent Janesville School Board member Bill Sodemann could hardly believe the results. He was so disgusted that he turned off his radio and began picking up his yard signs while thinking about his past nine years in office.

“I was driving around picking up signs, reflecting (on) what I should have done differently,” Sodemann said.

It wasn’t until then that he realized he had narrowly won the third and final available seat on the Janesville School Board.

“I must admit, still I’m disappointed in the numbers even though I won one of the seats,” Sodemann said. “I am happy to win, don’t get me wrong, but I am disappointed in the numbers.”

With 100 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, unofficial results from the Rock County Clerk’s Office had incumbent Kevin Murray easily retaining his seat with 28.96 percent of the vote. Former school board member Dale Thompson was second with 20.27 percent, and Sodemann was third with 17.35 percent.

Challenger Diane L. Eyers took home 16.97 percent, and Fred Jackson had 16.26 percent. Eyers missed earning the final seat by 58 votes, and Jackson missed by 164.

Murray, who like Sodemann has been on the board since 2005, says it’s a privilege to be elected for another term and sees his first order of business as locking down employee contracts and compensation packages for the next school year.

“I want to set up employee contracts and a compensation package,” Murray said. “It’s something I want to get out of the way right away. There’s been a consensus this is something we need to address as soon as we can so we can move into the next year focusing on students.”

Thompson, who served two terms on the board in the 1990s, wants to meet with district staff to find out as much as he can prior to his swearing in May 13.

“I’m still raising the same questions on team spirit and funding that I was during the campaign,” Thompson said. “I’m also raising the question that after we reach our goal of 100 foreign students, should we expand or not expand? I’m not necessarily opposed, but I want as much information as possible before I vote.”

Thompson said he was pleased that people voted for him and hopes not to disappoint them by looking at every topic from every angle before voting.

“I’m simply delighted to have the opportunity to serve the Janesville school system,” Thompson said.

Sodemann said he plans to continue his work on the district’s Journey to Excellence, an initiative started using Studer Group principles.

“I’m concerned other candidates aren’t as concerned with it as I am,” Sodemann said. “I was worried that if I didn’t run again the progress would stop.”

Both Eyers and Jackson were hoping to fill the seat vacated by outgoing board member Scott Feldt, who decided not to seek re-election. They both ran for board seats in 2013.

The Wisconsin Education Association Council had endorsed Murray, Thompson and Jackson.

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