The wealth of good, qualified candidates in the District 88 School?Board race presents a pleasant prospect for district voters. Four positions are open on the board, and when three of the incumbent candidates announced this year they would not be seeking re-election there may have been concerns that there might not be many candidates to take their place.
But eight candidates came forward for the four positions, and we can't recall an election with this many highly qualified candidates.
It does make the job of endorsing for the election difficult, but we'll take a stab at it.
Of the eight, there is one candidate we cannot get behind. Sharon Gieseke is the one candidate who does not support the District 88 tax levy referendum. We have endorsed the referendum and feel it is essential to preventing the district's quality of education from taking a big slide. We cannot envision a school board member, faced with the current fiscal facts, who would not seek more revenue for the district.
Of the remaining seven, we would first endorse Dr. Patricia Hoffman. She is the sole incumbent seeking re-election, and in this year, with so much at stake and so much turnover on the board, The Journal feels it is essential to keep her experience. And, Hoffman, director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Minnesota State University, Mankato is one of the strongest members of the school board. Her knowledge and understanding of education make her an outstanding member.
Next, we endorse Matt Ringhofer, who also has a background in education as a counselor at District 77 in Mankato. He understands the workings of a school district, and while District 77 is a growing district while District 88 struggles with enrollment loss and its impact on the school budget, his educational and community background would serve the board very well.
Dennis Waloch is another candidate we endorse. As manager of Walgreen's in?New Ulm he brings a special business and management perspective. He has been active in the community in the six years he has lived here, and has a sincere desire to contribute more to the community.
Chris Cook is our fourth endorsee. He also has a strong business background, as vice president of Agronomy for Syngenta, and has shown a strong analysis of the problems and challenges facing the district. We think he would be a quick study on the ins and outs of the school district, and would be a valuable member of the board.
The remaining three candidates, Rebecca Fliszar, Jerod Spilman and Jill Hulke all possess special qualities, good understanding oif the issues and sincere desire to help direct the district in these troubled times. We would not be disappointed with any of them on the board.
District voters will be asked to vote for four of these candidates. We can only say it's too bad the board can't expand to include a few more.