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Part 3: Meet your board of education candidates

Please note the change on the Schools of Choice answer for Dana Emmert. And I apologize for the mistake.

(Publisher’s note: this is the third of three stories about the four candidates who are running for the Chelsea Board of Education. The series began Wednesday and concludes today.)

Steve Olsen

Earlier this week, the Chelsea Education Foundation held a forum during which the four Board of Education candidates Laura Bush, Dana Emmert, Kathy Keinath and incumbent Steve Olsen were asked a series of questions.

The four are running for two 4-year seats on the board in the Nov. 6 election. For the first two parts of this series click here for Part 1, and here for part 2.

Below are summaries of their answers to more questions that were posed to them during the forum on Oct. 2.

With concerns about drug use in students, should high school students be randomly drug tested?

None of the candidates were in favor of this idea.

The candidates were also asked their opinion about the possibility of privatizing transportation and food services.

Olsen said he didn’t want to see community members lose their jobs but “it might become necessary  if a business can do it cheaper because resources are important. “Up to this time, we’ve been lucky,” he said, “but the board must also be practical and fiscally sound.”

Kathy Keinath

Keinath said she would be more inclined to privatize food services than transportation, but she’d need “a whole set of data” to make any determination.

Emmert said she, too, would need more information before formulating an opinion.

Bush said, “I don’t want to take jobs away from community members, either, but I don’t know enough about it” to have an opinion.

When asked what one decision the current board had made that they’d like to see changed, Olsen said in the eight years he’d been on the board, “I’ve voted in favor of every resolution” and he would not change any of his decisions.

Keinath said she couldn’t think of one decision that the board had made that she’d like to see changed.

However, both Bush and Emmert said they’d change the policy that went into effect following the retirement of former Athletic Director Wayne Weldon, who was also the longtime Bulldog baseball coach.

Board policy now does not allow administrators to also be coaches.

“I’m not here to knock the board,” Emmert said, “But I’d change the policy about certain people not being able to apply for a job.”

Dana Emmert

And, Bush agreed.

When asked about schools of choice, Keinath said she was in favor of the idea. “I’m supportive of schools of choice. We’ve lost some students, and this brings in more money.”

Emmert said that she didn’t have all the information she’d need to have a formal opinion but, “Today, I’d say I’m supportive.”“based on some of the community feedback I have heard so far, that my answer would be that I do not support school of choice.”

Bush said, she too, needed more information about it, so she “wasn’t for or against it,” because it might be a way to help with district finances.

Olsen said it was an “extremely complex issue” because with schools of choice, money does come into the school district. However, it’s Chelsea community taxpayers who are footing the bill for the assets in the schools with their tax dollars.

“I’m not saying I’m for or against it, but we may not have a choice as the governor might change things,” he said, adding the board has asked residents their opinions in the past and the community was not in favor of it.

In closing, Bush said “If elected, I’ll do my best to do what I can financially and responsibly.”

Laura Bush

Olsen said he’d like to continue on the board to continue making good decisions for a balanced budget.

“There are school districts around us that are in much worse shape financially,” he said.

Keinath encouraged everyone to vote and was looking forward to becoming a member of the school board.

Emmert said, “I really hope to be on the school board and be a part of the team.”


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