Three candidates—one incumbent and two challengers—are seeking two seats on the Elkhorn School Board.
First elected in 2013, Dan Thompson is running for his third term. He has two children at the high school and said it is “valuable” to serve wherever possible.
Ed Scaro, who moved back to Elkhorn in 1996, said he recently attended his 40th Elkhorn Area High School reunion.
He said he has gotten to know current and previous school board and district officials, and he thought it was time for him to help keep the district moving in a positive direction.
Kevin Gahart has three children in different district schools. He said he is running because he has heard others raise concerns, but he declined to elaborate.
Carol Burton, the school board treasurer, is not running for re-election to her seat.
Here are candidate responses to questions:
Q: What are the biggest issues the school board needs to tackle in the next few years?
Scaro: Having served on the high school’s safety and security team, Scaro said he has an interest in continuing security improvements. While he likes where the district is at now, he said security requires ongoing attention.
He also said the board needs to maintain the infrastructure the district has built since its recent referendum because it can deteriorate without proper care. That could mean extra costs.
Gahart: He wants to see less emphasis on standardized tests and more on generalized education.
Gahart also said he was concerned the district was putting too much emphasis on things such as facilities additions, which are “new and look good.”
In a follow-up email, he said he wants “to provide a solid base of learning that allows students to explore their interests, achieve academic goals and fulfill their potential.”
Thompson: He said his biggest concern is making sure tax dollars are well spent.
The district, which has been exceeding expectations, is able to do so at a good value for taxpayers, Thompson said, and he wants to continue that.
Q: Where do you see Elkhorn’s Project Lead The Way programs improving?
Scaro: Scaro thinks Elkhorn’s program is great, but he said the district needs to keep moving forward and prioritizing its “strategic purpose.”
He said it’s not sustainable to stay “average.”
“Maybe sometimes we need to step back and say, ‘OK, let’s focus on doing this very, very well’ and not just say, ‘We’re doing it,’” he said.
Gahart: “Having a teacher in the system that has recently won a fairly impressive award, I don’t know if more is needed to continue the current course of what Ms. Card is doing,” he said.
Thompson: He praised the program and said the board depends on district leaders to identify and advocate for the program’s needs.
In a follow-up email, Thompson pointed to the several staff members who have been recognized for their work in Project Lead The Way.
“We often can best serve (them) by letting them do what they’re good at,” he said.
Q: What makes you the best candidate?
Scaro: Working with people with disabilities as board president for VIP Services has given Scaro a “better perspective of really how things can work in this world.”
He said he has been with the board for about 11 years. Now he wants to be part of the “A team” in Elkhorn.
“I made the decision to be committed to this,” he said. “I have a lot of leadership abilities I can provide.”
Gahart: All three candidates are qualified, Gahart said.
When asked why someone should vote for him, Gahart said he is “a concerned citizen that’s willing to spend my time promoting policies.”
Thompson: Having served on the board for about six years, Thompson said he understands how the governing body works.
The board has added new members in the last few years, so it has a good mix of experience, he said.