Brainerd School Board Candidates Debate Ahead Of November 6 Election
The candidates running for the Brainerd Public Schools Board of Education debated tonight as the November 6 general election moves closer. The seven candidates are running for three open seats on the school board.
“These people will be deciding how our money is spent for the schools, what type of education our children will get,” said Rebecca Laplante, Brainerd Lakes Area League of Women Voters President.
The debate was put on by the Brainerd Lakes Area League of Women Voters and allowed for the community to meet the candidates.
“The school board is an important position for the community, and it’s a chance for people to hear people’s ideas and philosophies,” explained Sally Jacobsen, Brainerd Lakes Area League of Women Voters Treasurer.
Tiffanie Knapp, Tom Haglin, Charles Black Lance, Sarah Speer, Ruth Nelson, Jeff Czeczok, and Matthew Avery are running for the three open seats. The candidates vary in background, experience, and age.
“I’m 34, and I’m the owner of Avery Construction in Brainerd. My wife Mallory and I are lifelong residents of Brainerd,” said candidate Avery.
“I work at Central Lakes College and I’ve had over 20 years of experience working with academics,” said candidate Black Lance.
“I’ve been blessed to be involved with a number of different organizations in the community and board members throughout these last several years as well as school board for the last nine years,” explained candidate Haglin.
“All of these experiences combined with being a mom of four have given me an overall sense of our district,” added candidate Knapp.
“I’m 55 and I graduated from Brainerd High School in 1981,” said candidate Czeczok. “I’ve been blessed to be a Brainerd School Board member for almost 13 years now,” candidate Nelson said.
They differ in opinion and vision for the district and debated topics from special education and open enrollment to how to recruit quality teachers to the district.
“Excellent schools begin with excellent teachers,” added Nelson. “I will ensure fiscal responsibility throughout the district,” said Avery.
“We need to strengthen the district’s ability to provide mental health resources to our students,” added Black Lance.
“I’ll make sure everything gets reported accurately. I’ll make sure if it’s not I’ll let the district, the people know,” Czeczok said.
“There’s a whole lot more we need to do to provide resources to all staff,” added Haglin.
“Teacher pay should be a top priority,” Knapp said.
The Brainerd School Board meets on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Washington Educational Services Building.