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Local

Balanced budget key in school board race

PROPHETSTOWN – Financial stability is the top concern of candidates for the Prophetstown-Lyndon-Tampico School Board.

Five candidates are vying for four open seats. Incumbents Jill M. Ringenberg, the current board president; Douglas Wetzell, the current board vice president; and Tya M. Boucher are seeking re-election. They face a challenge from newcomers Bruce Franks and Lori Juhola.

Incumbent Lisa Casson is not seeking re-election.

Those elected will serve a 4-year term.

Ringenberg believes the district faces a challenge in implementing “new programs with no money to back [them]” from the state.

Boucher agrees,

“We are looking at a money crunch,” she said. “I’ve seen the good and the bad, and I’d like to be there to see if we can improve things with the limited funds.”

Wetzell, who if elected likely will serve his last term, knows the board has some challenges ahead.

“We want to keep our budget balanced, but we’re getting less and less money from the state and we’ve lost a lot of enrollment,” he said. “We’re just trying to bring things more in line. ... We’re not in the red, but we have to keep things together so we don’t have to cut programs.”

Franks, 48, wants to bring new ideas to achieve a balanced budget.

“The taxpayers need to be involved in some of it,” he said. “The belt is going to have to be tightened.”

Juhola, 42, agrees: “I think we have a lot of opportunities as far as state funding,” she said, “identifying ways to be profitable [in the face of reduced revenue].”

Other contested races

• Erie School Board: Seven candidates are vying for four seats. Charles W. Brown Jr., the board president, is the lone incumbent on the ballot; he faces a challenge from registered write-in candidate David Bomleny. Newcomers Chad M. Miner, Penny F. Papineau, Gary M. Farral and Nichole Friedrichsen are vying for just one seat, as only one person may come from the area they represent. Jason Norman is the other newcomer on the ballot; he is unopposed.

Those elected will serve a 4-year term.

• Eastland School Board: Four candidates are vying for three seats. William R. Woessner, the board vice president, is the lone incumbent on the ballot; he faces a challenge from newcomers Jennifer L. Sturtevant, Brian Heldt and Steven W. Snider.

Those elected will serve a 4-year term.

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