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There are two positions up for election in the Spring Green-based River Valley School District in the April 3 election. There are two candidates for each position. (I) indicates incumbent.

Area 7 seat

Frederic Iausly (I)

Age: 50

Address: S12279 Liegel Court

Family: Married to Natalie and we have three daughters

Job: Senior GIS analyst, Dane County Land Information Office

Political experience: One term on the River Valley School Board

Other public service: Chair of town of Spring Green Plan Commission, member of Spring Green Joint Extra-territorial Zoning Committee, member of Spring Green Lions; Board of directors of River Valley School District Endowment and past chair of Land Information Officers Network

Education: Bachelor of science, geography, UW-Oshkosh, 1991; Master of arts, geography, Mankato State University, 1994

Noah R. McVay

(Running as a registered write-in)

Age: 21

Address: E5815 Jones Road

Family: Unmarried; no children.

Job: Full-time student at UW-Platteville

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Founder and former president, River Valley Area Community Gardens, a nonprofit community gardening organization in Spring Green, from March 13, 2016, to March 13, 2018. Also served as student representative on the River Valley School Board from May 2012 to October 2014.

Education: B.S., environmental horticulture and soil and crop science, UW-Platteville (May 2019). Alumnus of River Valley School District, class of 2015. Intend to matriculate into graduate school; strong research interests in both plant pathology and mycology.

Website or email address: mcvay4schoolboard.weebly.com

Area 8

Kiley Prusso Cates

Age: 30

Address: 6101 Highway Z

Family: Married to Eric Cates and we have one daughter

Job: Co-operator of Cates Family Farm

Prior elected office: None

Education: Cal State Fullerton, B.A., comparative religion, 2008

Email address: kileycates@gmail.com

Marty Limmex

Age: 50

Address: 4575 Highway C

Family: Married for 25 years to my wife, Vicki, and we have six children in college, middle school and elementary school

Job: Managing partner for Advanced Testing & Inspection and a part-time farmer

Prior elected office: Two terms as a town board supervisor for the town of Spring Green

Education: UW-Platteville

Email address: mobile@midwestxrf.com

Q&A:

In what way are you better qualified than your opponent to serve on the board?

Iausly: I want to see the district not only succeed, but excel. We need to continue to move forward and the district needs board members that are willing to make hard decisions that are focused on the children and the long-term success of the district. My first term has given me a lot of experience that I will continue to bring to the position.

McVay: I’m not necessarily running in opposition to the incumbent, but rather because our school district needs reform. In terms of qualifications, I humbly point towards my prior work in the nonprofit world: in order to retain tax exemption, nonprofit organizations have higher policy and accountancy standards to comply with versus local governments. I am willing to share that knowledge.

Cates: I will only respond to why I feel I am qualified to run for the River Valley School Board. I value respectful listening, respectful questioning, and big decisions being made with discernment. I think the biggest qualification is to have the time and willingness to show up — I have both.

Limmex: I am in no position to judge and my opponent is part of a fine family. I personally would like to give back to the community where I had the chance to grow up in and the one where we are raising our family in. I have had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States, as well as 25 countries and I feel that the River Valley area is unique and provides a diversity that we can continue to grow and develop on. I would like to bring to the table ideas and leadership that I have experienced and witnessed.

What is the main challenge facing the district and how would you address it?

Iausly: The regressive state school funding model will continue to place increasing fiscal pressure on the district, making it more challenging to maintain our curriculum, retaining/recruit quality staff, and provide needed services to our students. This means keeping an eye on our budget while working to provide our students an exceptional education. It also means engaging the legislature, lobbying for our district.

McVay: River Valley’s greatest challenge is bringing people back together after the failure to pass a non-recurring referendum in May of 2017 and ongoing school closures. I want to take a middle way through the discourse, foster consensus on major issues, and bring forgotten folks back into the fold so that a period of healing and reconciliation may begin.

Cates: The main challenge facing our district is funding. At the school board level your fight is to balance costs vs. programming and trying to prevent referendum through responsible expenditure. I think the bigger picture is encouraging our constituents to demand our state representatives take real measurable action by reworking our funding formula to make sense in 2018.

Limmex: Financial obligations with reduced enrollment will continue to be a logistical challenge. When a student enrolls elsewhere or home schools, there should be a review of why this happened with someone appointed to keep it touch with the parents and the student, thus offering them potential options. Recent listening sessions have raised the late busing options and additional after school educational opportunities which is a continued challenge with a spread-out school district. Chromebooks are a neat technology for all involved, but the lack of internet connection or an Internet connection with high latency, calls for additional options to be available.

In what ways can the district improve, and how would you do that?

Iausly: The district ranks high on many state and national measures, but we can always look to do better. The retaining/recruiting of quality staff is a critical component of our student’s success. We also need to focus on the achievement/excellence gap for our students, providing them the resources they need.

McVay: Our School Board should improve in how it exercises oversight of administrative actions. This can be accomplished by increased, prudent scrutiny and active engagement in policymaking and fiscal management. Likewise, River Valley must improve work conditions, pay, and benefits for faculty and support staff – “the bread and butter” of your children’s or grandchildren’s education. That’s somewhere to start!

Cates: I think right now our area of improvement would be a more productive dialogue between our board and constituents. I think this is a recognized issue and the board has taken the beginning necessary steps to address the issue, and I look forward to, and am excited to see where the process takes us.

Limmex: Continuing to regain the trust of the communities can be enhanced with the proper utilization of unused River Valley School District assets within the villages. With the school district providing the leadership and access to the community facilities; local governments can seek potential grants for the building and land use for a variety of options. Community centers and businesses can help keep communities active and viable.

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Barry Adams covers regional and business news for the Wisconsin State Journal.