School board welcomes two new members

By Emily Bialkowski
Caledonia Argus

The Caledonia School Board extended their thanks to two outgoing board members while simultaneously welcoming two newbies at their Dec. 17 meeting.

Both John Klug and Scott Longhorn were applauded for their contributions to the school district and service on the board. Replacing Klug is Jared Barnes, who ran unopposed in the November general election.

Replacing Longhorn is Amanda King, who was selected from a pool of three for the vacant position made available by Longhorn’s resignation.

The Caledonia Argus asked the two to answer a few questions so the community may get to know them a little better.

 

Amanda King

Amanda King

Age: 27

Town of residence: Caledonia

Family: Husband, Nick; son, Isaac age 3; daughter Jordan age 6 months

Profession: Tax analyst at Fastenal Company

 

Q: Why did you want to become a school board member?

A: I wanted to become a school board member in order to get more involved in the community. I was particularly interested in joining the school board because my children will begin attending school in the district within the next two years. Also, education has been an extremely important part of my life, and I feel that it is essential that the children in our community receive the best education possible.

 

Q: What professional or personal experience do you possess that would be of benefit to the board?

A: I feel that my dual degrees in elementary education and accounting will benefit the board because I can analyze the issues from both a fiscal and an educator point of view.  Also, as a parent of children that will be attending school in the district, I have a vested interest in the quality of education that they will be receiveing.

 

Q: Did you support or vote against the district’s one-day bond request in the November general election and what was your reason for voting the way you did?

A: In the November election I supported the district’s one-day bond referrendum. I supported this referrendum because one of the major ways the money will be used is to update and expand the technology available in our schools. Technology is becoming increasingly important in the job market, as well as our everyday lives, so having up-to-date technology in the schools will be a huge asset to the youth in our community.

 

Q: How will you balance the district’s needs against taxpayers’ budgets?

A: In order to balance the district’s needs against the taxpayers’ budget I will try to analyze which expenses are essential and identify some areas in which we could find some efficiencies in order to stay within budget. I am both a parent and a taxpayer, so I can sympathize with each of these perspectives. As a board member I will try to prioritize the district’s expenditures in order to ensure the programs our community finds most beneficial can continue into the future.

 

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

A: My life outside of work really revolves around my family.  Other than my family I participate in a local bowling league and softball league and also enjoy time out on the Mississippi River boating during the summer months.

 

Jared Barnes

Jared Barnes

Age: 32

Town of residence: Caledonia

Family: Wife, Tiffany; three sons, Jace age 8, Braden age 6 and Evan age 3

Profession: Dairy production specialist for Farmers Coop Elevator & Purina Animal Nutrition

 

Q: Why did you want to become a school board member?

A: The biggest reason I wanted to become a school board member is for my kids and every other child in this district. I believe that every child deserves the right to a quality education from a top rated school.  I want to do my part to help make Caledonia School District #299 one of the best districts in Minnesota and a school that other children from other districts want to come to for open enrollment.

 

Q: What professional or personal experience do you possess that would be of benefit to the board?

A:  I would have to say that the best experience I have to bring with me to benefit the board would have to be my ability to work with people in general. My job requires me to work with farmers and all their employees, all who do things differently and/or believe things should be done differently.  I have to try to work with everyone and come to a consensus that will benefit all people involved. My job has also taught me that there are many ways to get things done and still be a profitable business; it’s just a matter of how you can make it work for you!  I also bring with me the experience of running my own business from 2003-06, which was a registered Holstein dairy farm that was located in Hillsboro, Wis. When I was operating my farm, Big-Time Holsteins LLC, I learn what it meant financially to own/run a business and a business that is very hard to cash flow when starting out on your own with nothing, just being fresh out of college.  I had to make enough money to pay my many loans (mortgages, cow loans, machinery loans) and pay all my bills, which is extremely difficult in this day and age in dairy farming. I became a very good manager with what money I did have and still wanted to be one of the top registered Holstein farms in Wisconsin, which I accomplished.

 

Q: Did you support or vote against the district’s one-day bond request in the November general election and what was your reason for voting the way you did?

A: I very much supported the vote for the district’s one-day bond. If we wish to provide our children with the best quality education we cannot fall behind with the 21st Century.  We have to make sure our children can graduate from high school, go on to college and be at the top of their game. There are many things in this district that we have skipped on because money hasn’t been there, such as technology, curriculum and up-keep on our facilities.  The one day bonds allow us to catch up on some of these things that have been put to the wayside for some time.  The other reason I support it is because it does not raise taxes on our community in this very tough economy.

 

Q: How will you balance the district’s needs against taxpayers’ budgets?

A: I will do whatever possible to not raise taxes on our taxpayers and still meet the needs of the district for our children to be successful. I know it is not fun when your taxes go up every year, and I want to try and make sure that it’s not because of the school district that they are increasing. That is why I am a big supporter of the one-day bond; it helps get the district some things it needs very much but doesn’t increase our taxpayer’s taxes!

 

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

A: In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family doing things outdoors. Some of our favorite activities are boating, snowmobiling, ATV riding, camping, fishing, biking, hunting or just about anything else you can think of that involves the outdoors!  We also enjoy traveling to the East Coast and Colorado to visit family, which gives us the opportunity to see other parts of the U.S. and camping along the way.

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