Moose Lake School District voters will elect three school board members on Nov. 8 and there are four candidates. The Pine Journal asked school board candidates the three following questions. Their answers are numbered to go with the question below each candidate's name. (Answers were limited to a certain word count, and edited by the Pine Journal if they were too long.)
1. How does your past experience, job or education qualify you to serve as a school board member?
2. Why are you running?
3. In your opinion, what are the top two issues facing your school district right now and how should they be addressed?
It has been a pleasure to have served two terms on the board and to see improved student test scores and student involvement in the community and increased extracurricular activities.
I understand the importance of candidates having a connection to the school and students. As an alumnus of this school and public servant of our community, I have served this area in many different capacities. Because of these roles, as well as being a parent of current students and an incumbent member of the school board, I have this connection.
It is an exciting time building a new school for our community which includes all surrounding areas. As a current board member, I have been integrally involved in the planning and execution of this project. It is crucial for the work yet to be done that there be continuity in leadership to ensure the work is carried out properly and budgets are adhered to. I am running to ensure this work is completed for the fulfillment of the community as a whole.
The new school should be the focal point of the community to include space for public gatherings, community education, and supporting our students in the activities of their choice from academics to arts to athletics. I intend to see this happen.
No. 1 — The school name has changed to Moose Lake Community School for inclusion of all surrounding areas. It is critical to the vitality of our school to engage members of our whole community on an ongoing basis so we (board, faculty and administration) learn what is important to parents, community members, and students and take steps to address issues and welcome new ideas.
No. 2 — The bonding for the new school did not include a complete sports complex: competition football field; lighting, seating and sprinkler systems for the softball and baseball fields; as well as a concessions area and bathroom facilities were excluded.
I am keeping my eye on the finances of the building project to include these items without increasing costs. Adding these amenities will bring additional revenues, as our school would have the facilities to host playoff competitions.
I am proud of the new auditorium that will bring community enjoyment, as well as competitive music and drama, to our school. If it is important to you as a voter that we provide this same opportunity for all extracurricular activities, I am your candidate.
Jerome ‘Jerry’ Pederson
I attended Mankato State and St. Cloud State. I was a chemical dependency counselor/behavior therapist for 30 years, working with children/young adults and family counseling in an inpatient-outpatient setting. I am sensitive to the needs of children. I am currently chairman of the Carlton County Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee to the county commissioners., which advises on programs/policies regarding children’s needs and services, including working with schools. I was appointed by Gov. Rudy Perpich to the State Board of Mental Health Service Providers as one of two chemical dependency positions, serving as vice chair and received a certificate of recognition from Gov. Pawlenty.
I was taught by my mother at an early age to help each other out. My father died when I was 9 years old. That value has been my life’s direction — serving people. Examples are: chemical dependency treatment for 30 years; Carlton County Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee for two terms; and vice chair of the Minnesota Board of Mental Health Service Providers. I am an active member in my church, serving on leadership teams as well as participate on multiple care ministries. I believe my prior work and community service gives me a unique insight in our school’s needs. I am dedicated, committed, tough, caring and a team worker. I am not a “yes” person. I believe in term limits for school board members (maximum of two terms).
The first issue is the safety of our children regarding traffic on Highway 73 and County Road 10. Speeds are too fast! Some children will be walking across this intersection. The speeds need to be reduced to 35-40 mph. In addition, there needs to be stop lights. We need to work with our state representative and senator, along with the Department of Transportation. A common statement is that there’s not enough traffic to warrant a stop light. Since when is traffic more important than kids’ safety? Common sense would say reduce the speed limit and put in stop lights!
Second, I believe there needs to be a discussion with the school board on whether education is priority No. 1 or is athletics No. 1? There needs to be transparency with the public on the money spent. Does the money spent on athletics affect money spent on education? Most community members I’ve spoken with feel there is little information available to them and question the money spent on athletics.
I have served on the Moose Lake School Board for the past 16 years. I am a current member of the Minnesota School Boards Association Delegate Assembly. The wealth of information/training acquired during those years is invaluable. I am employed by Carlton County as a social worker. My experiences as a social worker and school board member have provided me with expertise that makes me an asset to the board.
There are three generations of Moose Lake graduates in my family including my dad (Lyle Anderson), my daughter (Danika Reed-Probst) and me. I want to continue to promote a quality educational system in Moose Lake. I am also interested in continuing on the Moose Lake School Board for the transition to the new preK-12 School, which will open the fall of 2017.
The budget is always an issue at the forefront of school administrators. The current Moose Lake School Board works closely to balance student needs and budget issues. Respect among members of the board is integral in providing quality and consistency in the budget decision making process.
Candidate Thomas Paull did not respond to the Pine Journal.