Candidates from left to right: Terry Wegner, John Heideman, Kim Schroeder
Five candidates will aim to fill three seats this election for the New London Board of Education.
The race features three incumbents, John Michaels, Kim Schroeder, and Mary Swifka, as well as two challengers, John Heideman and Terry Wegner.
Three of the candidates were in attendance at the Wolf River Area Patriots forum Tuesday night, where they were able to make their case to potential voters.
Incumbent Kim Schroeder addressed concerns from the public about the board’s transparency and trustworthiness, and used the opportunity to talk about who she is as a person.
“Every person has dignity and every person has a right,” Schroeder explained. “I taught my children through my example to be a good steward of the earth, the environment, everything you’ve been given. Bulldogs of Character, the program that I developed and wrote the initial grant for, speaks about being trustworthy. That’s one of the most important things that leads everything else.”
Challenger Terry Wegner had previously served on the New London Board of Education, resigning in 2010. Now that he is retired, he’s hoping to become more involved by running for the board again and wants to make sure students have opportunities in whichever field they choose.
“To me, education is what provides our communities, and most importantly our children, with opportunity,” Wegner claimed. “Whether they choose to go on to a four-year university, or whether they choose to go to a technical school, or whether they choose to leave school and go right to work, the education they have is what gives them those opportunities.”
Challenger John Heideman may not have previous board experience, however, he’s been successful in farming. He believes there needs to be more focus on the trades for students, as well as improved transparency from the board.
“First and foremost, I believe our kids need basic skill sets to build their lives on,” Heideman said. “Too many kids graduate high school without knowing how to balance a checkbook, or how to manage their credit…I believe we need to end any cloak of secrecy involving our school board’s decision making, fully respecting and applying Wisconsin’s open meeting and disclosure laws.”
Mary Swifka and John Michaels were not in attendance during the forum. New London voters will decide on the three seats April 4.