Hastings High School

With just under a month for Hastings’ voters to cast their ballots on the school board election, the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum Tuesday giving voters a chance to hear from the candidates on the ballot.

On Tuesday evening, six candidates for the Hastings School Board staked out their ideas on the roles and responsibilities of the school board.

Six candidates are competing in the Nov. 2 election with Kelsey Waits and Scott Gergen running for re-election and newcomers Jessica Dressely, Carrie Banaszewski Tate, Mike Reis and Tashina Miller vying for one of the three open spots on the board.

During the forum, each candidate answered questions on challenges of the board, balancing the schools’ budgets, equity in schools and declining enrollment.

Candidates were first asked what they thought the biggest challenge ISD 200 is facing and what role the school board plays in addressing that challenge.

Miller, Reis and Tate all stated the biggest challenge is the district’s declining enrollment because it is leading to less funding for the schools.

Gergen said the local levy funding will be the biggest challenge the school board will face in the next two years.

Levies are local property taxes for a school district that generate revenue to fund programs and services the state doesn’t pay for.

Waits said the board and the community need to get rid of the divisiveness happening over issues that come to the school board.

“We need to find ways for the board, our administrative team and our community to work together to support our students,” she said.

Dressely said the board needs to address the learning lost due to COVID-19.

“I think we really need to focus on evaluating where they’re at now and figuring out ways to better help them move forward so that they’re not just continuously behind from where they’re supposed to be,” she said.

The full recorded forum is available on Hastings Community TV’s YouTube.

The school board election is on Nov. 2 with early voting available now. Absentee ballot application can be picked up at the Hastings Middle School main office Monday through Friday during school hours.

Written By

Reporter

Sophia Voight is a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette. She is from Oshkosh, WI and graduated from the UW Oshkosh with a bachelor's degree in Multimedia Journalism in 2021. She can be reached with any news tips at svoight@orourkemediagroup.com

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