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School Board Candidates Weigh in at Forum

 On Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, Beloit School Board candidates had the opportunity to discuss a multitude of topics relating to Beloit schools at the Beloit Public Library. Justice Overcoming Borders (JOB), Concerned Black Citizens (CBC) and Good Trouble sponsored the event. 

   The current candidates are: Incumbents Megan Miller (President), Gregg Schneider (Treasurer), and Alisson Semrau (Member) and newcomers Brian Anderson, Torie Champeny, Kathy Larson, DeVon McIntyre, Ryan McKillips, Christine Raleigh, Matthew Windmoeller-Schmit, and J’Juan M. Winfield Sr. Member Joyce MH Ruff (Member) made the decision to not re-run. 

   The Primary Election will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 15, where the eleven candidates will be narrowed down to eight. The eight remaining candidates will run in the general election that will take place on Apr. 5, 2022. There are four positions on the school board that are up for election. Three of them are three year positions while the fourth is a one year term. The top three candidates with the most votes will get the three year positions and the candidate with the fourth most votes will receive the one year position. 

   This past Wednesday at the forum, McIntyre, Miller, Schneider, Winfield, and Windmoeller-Schmit were present. Anderson, Champeny, McKillips and Realeigh could not attend the forum. Moderator, Kurt Handrich of JOB, read aloud their responses to the questions that were provided to them prior to the forum. 

   The candidates were first asked what makes them a good candidate for the position. After their responses, student achievement and how to address declining enrollment was discussed. 

   Larson believes that the district must be bigger than the enrollment problem. The district must want people to be in the district. 

   According to the Beloit Daily News, “We need to improve our communication and get to a more proactive style,” said Miller. 

   The right people need to be in the right positions and the district needs to prioritize getting them into those positions McIntyre said. 

   Schneider said the school district cannot control what other districts do but the district can strengthen programs that other districts don’t have such as Even Start. 

   Semrau thinks the district needs to adopt a customer service approach by doing exit interviews with students and parents to see what is driving them away and answering staff and the community. 

   Winfield said he would work on the positive activities already underway in the district. He mentioned that his children stayed and graduated from the district. 

   To Windmoeller-Schmit, the district needs class sizes to be reduced, allow kids to get intervention, and have quality staff to improve enrollment. 

  Anderson wants to set high expectations and improve safety on school grounds, fix the root causes of families leaving.

   Champeny, in her comments written prior to the forum, to improve achievement and staff retention, a fage environment is critical. 

   McKillips wrote that the district must engage in families who left the district to address their concerns. 

   Prioritizing students’ safety and success will mean more children in the district Raleigh wrote. 

   The eleven candidates will be narrowed down to eight during the Primary Election which will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 15. The eight remaining candidates will run in the general election that will take place on Apr. 5, 2022. 

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