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Get to Know Your Candidates

Khaly Bettorf, Staff Writer

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As high schoolers we don’t see what the school board members do everyday, but we sure do feel the policies they set in place. This is our town and our school, and that is why the school board elections are very important. Their decisions affect each and every day we spend here at school.

This year there are 6 candidates, and only 4 spots to fill. The school board election are quickly approaching, and it’s time to make your decision on which candidates to vote for. The following quotes are from recent interviews from the Belleville News Democrat.

The school board election is on April 4th, 2017. Make sure you get out and vote! ”

Matt Jones

Matt Jones, otherwise known as sophomore Megan Jones’ brother, is the youngest runner in the election. He ran for the school board in 2013 and has been a member since then.

Why are you running for the school board?

“I am running for re-election to the Granite City School Board because I truly believe that all kids should and do have the opportunity to succeed in our community. I care about Granite City, and I feel that I bring value as a young leader in our city to the board. I educate college students as a part-time instructor at McKendree University, so I am aware of the challenges that both college-bound students and those that will be looking for a job straight out of high school and college face. Since my election to the board in 2013, we have worked diligently to balance the budget and continue to provide a top-notch education from Pre-K through graduation. I use good judgment with an eye for the future each time I vote whether it be on the hiring of a position or a change to a new or existing program. It is my hope that you, taxpayers and families, will trust me for another four years.”

Why should people vote for you?

“I hope that the people of Granite City, Pontoon Beach, Mitchell, Nameoki Township, and Chouteau Township will vote for me because I have done my very best to speak for the people and to vote how I believe will lead to the best results for our students and community. There has been no board member as open to communication as I, and I will continue that trend if you, the public, will allow me. I take my role as a school board member very seriously. I also care very much about our community and want it to thrive. Few other districts in our area face the challenges that we do, and I believe the last 4 years have been a testament to what we can accomplish. We have preserved what we have and even built upon it in the face of extreme budgetary and financial constraints, many of which are now in the headlines for surrounding districts. I would appreciate your support, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. My personal email is [email protected]

 

Linda Knogl

Linda Knogl, resident of Pontoon Beach, is a new candidate running for school board. She is also a retired Early Childhood teacher.

Why are you running for the school board?

“I believe Granite City is in need of four new school board members. I am one of the new four on the ballot. I believe four could change irresponsible spending and inflated administrative salaries. We’ve lost our neighborhood schools and have become a total busing district, relying on underfunded reimbursement from the state.”

Why should people vote for you?

“As a school board member, I would focus on the early grades, when parents are the most supportive and involved, and when a child’s learning and development are the most critical. I support the neighborhood school model for our K-4 students, and I would encourage teacher involvement in any plan that reduces low performance and improves success.”

 

Kathy Hagnauer

Kathy Hagnauer, resident of Granite City, has been serving on the school board since 2013. She is a retired principal out of Niedringhaus Elementary School, and is currently the secretary of the school board.

Why are you running for the school board?

“Having served these past four years, I still believe strong schools make for a strong community. I will continue to work with determination and diligence to continue to ensure a quality education, safe environment, and student opportunities. I look forward to implementing new programs while keeping a balanced budget.”

Why should people vote for you?

“I have devoted my entire career to education. This brings experience, insight and knowledge to the current issues, not only facing our district, but also the state of Illinois. I have shown that I address issues, not special interests. One of my best pleasures serving as a board member is that I am able to hand diplomas to former students.”

 

Victoria R. Arguelles

Victoria Arguelles, resident of Granite City, is a new candidate running for the school board. She is the owner of local business, Kool Beans Café, and a graduate of Granite City High School.

Why are you running for the school board?

“Three of my children have been educated in the district and achieved great academic success. It is important to me to see the district thrive and grow. I feel that through small business and education we can strengthen the foundation of our city. I aim to bring a fresh business perspective to the school district with my experience as an entrepreneur in our community. I have been compelled to run by the love and compassion I have for my city and its people.”

Why should people vote for you?

“I am a lifelong resident of Granite City with a great affection for our students and community. I am invested in the growth and development of our city both as a business owner and through my service in the community. I will serve to the best of my ability each and every day, listening to the needs and wants of the constituents to help convey them to the board so we may make the best, most informed decisions.”

 

Tanja Cook Sedabres

Tanja Cook Sedabres, a Granite City resident, is an attorney at a local law office, and was once the assistant city attorney for Granite City. She is a new candidate running for the school board.

Why are you running for the school board?

“I am running to become a member of the District 9 School Board because I know how important our school system is to our community and its continued growth. As a mother with two children who have been a part of the district 9 school system since kindergarten, I have had the privilege of watching teachers and faculty go above and beyond time and again to ensure that my children not only receive a great education but truly love to learn, while still fostering their love of music and the arts. As a business owner in Granite City, I know how important a great school system is to the success and continued growth of our community. Unfortunately, just like almost all other Illinois districts, we have begun to face challenges, both social and financial. The school board must be prepared to make decisions that not only address the financial needs of our district, both short term and long term, but also continue to provide the best educational opportunities for our students. I believe that my love and commitment to our community, combined with my background and experiences will allow me to be a board member who is able to look at the challenges our district is facing in a new light, assisting our board in finding the right long term solutions for these new challenges.”

Why should people vote for you?

“Having grown up in Granite City, I came back home after law school because I knew it was where I wanted to have my career and raise a family. I am proud to have a business which is thriving in downtown Granite City, a home in this community, and children who are in the district 9 school system as 6th and 9th graders. I am deeply vested personally and professionally in the success of our community. Our school system is an integral part of that success. I believe I can use my background and past experiences to bring to the board a new perspective that would help the district move forward in securing our future through exploring new and innovative funding opportunities and curriculum; keeping Granite City at the forefront of education in our county.”

 

Laura A. Cole

Laura Cole, a resident of Granite City, is a new candidate running for school board. She is an attorney, and also a graduate of Granite City High School.

Why are you running for the school board?

“I am a lifelong resident of Granite City with two children attending school in the district and one son who graduated from GCHS. I and my parents graduated from GCHS. I love my hometown and I want to be a part of making and keeping it a great place to live and grow up.”

Why should people vote for you?

“I am committed to the best interests of the schools district and our town. As a practicing attorney, I have experience negotiating between multiple parties with different goals and viewpoints. I bring a different perspective to the challenges facing our district, and hope to be a creative problem solver who listens to the concerns of all involved.”


The school board election is on April 4th, 2017. Make sure you get out and vote! For more information on the candidates running visit  www.bnd.com 

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Get to Know Your Candidates