Janesville80.2°

Changes in store for Edgerton School Board

Print Print
NEIL W. JOHNSON
March 31, 2010
— With three open school board seats and a new superintendent set to take the helm at Edgerton School District, new blood will meet institutional memory in 2010-2011.

Changes in the district are on the horizon. For one, longtime Superintendent Norm Fjelstad is retiring. Dennis Pauli, a Madison school principal, is set to replace him in July.


Also, 21-year board member Brian Donnelly and three-year board member Jeff Smrecek aren't seeking re-election.


Some of the five candidates for Edgerton School Board recently talked to the Gazette about the district's future.


"For the last 20 years, it's been kind of automatic. Everyone knew how things worked and how things fit in. It'll be a little different," said candidate Matt Towns, 32.


Candidate Sara Stinski, 36, who couldn't be reached for an interview, told the Gazette earlier that the end of Fjelstad and Donnelly's tenures means the district is "saying goodbye to a really good brain trust."


Candidate John Falligant, 48, sought to downplay the possible learning curve.


"The board has three or four current members who will continue on. That ought to provide pretty good continuity," he said.


The race's lone incumbent, Amy Richardson, couldn't be reached for an interview. Richardson, 41, a six-year board member, told the Gazette earlier that the district must find ways to cover costs without drawing from its reserve funds.


Candidates had different approaches to reach that goal.


State funding for schools is tied to student enrollment. In past few years, Edgerton schools have seen enrollment declines. In 2010-2011, school officials predict that trend will continue.


Towns said as long as Wisconsin school districts continue to operate under revenue caps, and state funding models are reliant on enrollment numbers, school boards must be poised to make continued cuts.


"Our decision-making process needs to be the same every year, whether there's a revenue increase or decrease. Some years that'll be harder than others. But we can't change the process," Towns said.


Falligant said he's willing to examine "every pocket" of the district's operating costs.


"The bottom line is when you have fundamental gaps in your budget, you're not going to make it up by attacking some single entity," he said.


Candidate David Weger, 58, said the board needs members who will bring fresh perspectives to talks on district finances.


"You can't keep electing school board members that keep making the same cuts year after year," he said.


Weger said the board should examine grant opportunities "under a microscope" and look for ways to save on energy costs at district facilities.


"If we're scrimping and saving every dollar we get, we need to know everything about all of the programs and grants that are offered," he said.


Bios

John C. Falligant


Address: 335 Craig Road, Edgerton.


Age: 48


Job: Mechanical engineer


Education: Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering


Community service: None


Elected posts: None


***


Amy T. Richardson (I)


Address: 939 E. Lakeside Drive, Edgerton.


Age: 41


Job: Bank examiner


Education: Bachelor's degree in finance from UW-Whitewater


Community service: Superintendent search committee and transportation committee


Elected posts: Edgerton School Board, six years.


***


Sara Stinski


Address: 857 Bliven Rd., Edgerton.


Age: 36


Job: Small business owner, marketing and public relations.


Education: Bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in journalism


Community service: Volunteered for Rotary Botanical Gardens, the March of Dimes and a Milwaukee organization that grants end-of-life wishes for terminally ill adults.


Elected posts: None


***


Matt Towns


Address: 510 St. Joseph 's Circle, Edgerton.


Age: 31


Job: Agriculture banker at M&I Bank.


Education: Bachelor's degrees in agriculture business and dairy science at UW-Platteville


Community service: Treasurer for Janesville Farmer's Market, general manager of the Albion Tigers, executive board of the Home Talent League.


Elected posts: None


***


David Weger


Address: 1025 Robert St., Edgerton.


Age: 58


Job: Retired union ironworker; now works for Shorewest Realtors, Janesville.


Education: MATC, associate's degree in business management.


Community service: Member of Coalition for a Healthier Edgerton


Elected posts: None



Print Print