Victors look to improve schools in Janesville
Janesville School Board
Peter D. Severson (I) 3,067
Kristin Hesselbacher 2,923
Karl Dommershausen 2,710
Diedre Richard (I) 1,504
Rene’ Bue 881
JANESVILLE The three people voters chose for the Janesville School Board on Tuesday say they’d like to see a variety of improvements in the schools and administration.
Voters returned incumbent Peter D. Severson to the board and elected newcomers Karl Dommershausen and Kristen Hesselbacher.
Those three were the only active campaigners late in the race.
The names of Rene Bue and incumbent Diedre Richard were also on the ballot. Bue dropped out for health reasons. Richard announced she still wanted votes but could serve on the board for a couple months at most because her family is moving out of the district.
Dommershausen said he wants to help homeless students. He knows the district provides services to the homeless, but he wants to investigate what more might be done.
Dommershausen also wants to get the district involved in a local effort to curb Internet bullying, and he wants to find more ways for the community to get involved in district business.
Other than that, “I want to learn the ropes and figure out how to balance the budget and keep our children well educated and well rounded,” Dommershausen said.
Hesselbacher said she’s all about the children, and she believes helping them will help the local economy recover.
“Mostly, I’d like to make sure that for the next three years we keep focused on what children need to succeed,” Hesselbacher said.
Strong schools will attract businesses and families to the community, Hesselbacher said.
“I think Janesville is at a point where we need to invest in education in order to keep the community alive,” Hesselbacher said.
To that end, Hesselbacher is particularly interested in improving the new Chinese language program and services to talented students.
Severson said the district needs a long-range financial plan so that it doesn’t drift from one annual budget crisis to the next.
Severson also wants to continue his push to reduce expulsions by getting students the services they need so they don’t become a danger to others.
“I would like more community input as to the job we are doing week to week, rather than just at election time,” Severson added.
Severson said e-mail is the best way to contact him. His address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
None of the winners foresaw any difficulties as the nine-member board begins its work. Along with Richard, the board is losing Tim Cullen, who did not run for re-election.
“Every board’s a little different, so having two new personalities certainly will change it some,” Severson said.
Severson and the new board members will take the oath of office at the school board’s meeting Tuesday night. They officially take office April 26. Their first scheduled school board meeting is Tuesday, April 27.
The board’s first job April 27 will be to choose a president for the year