POLK COUNTY — Our special district election coverage continues with the questionnaire responses from candidates running for Central and Perrydale school boards.
Central School District
There are four open seats on the Central School Board, but only one candidate filed, Steven Love, for Position No. 3. No candidates filed for Positions Nos. 1,5,7.
Position No. 3
Steven Love, 57, of Monmouth
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Hewlett Packard Enterprise, 27 years.
EDUCATION: Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering, UC Davis.
POSITION SOUGHT: Central School District Board of Directors
PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT SERVICE: Current member of CSD School Board, since 2011.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA YOU WILL REPRESENT? 18 years.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE? This is my way of being involved in our community and giving back my time and talents. I think that quality education may be the most important aspect of public service when it comes to shaping the future of our country and communities.
WHAT ARE THE CRITICAL ISSUES FACING EDUCATION? Funding our schools at a level that ensures we’re giving every child the very best chance of meeting or exceeding their potential.
HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES IF ELECTED? Statewide funding is best influenced by way of our collective voices through state organizations. Locally, I would help to set priorities that align with our community goals and desires and help set a tone in the district that we must strive to do the most with the resources we have available.
WHAT EXPERIENCE OR TALENT DO YOU BELIEVE YOU WOULD BRING TO THE OFFICE? My prior eight years on the board and some of the challenges we’ve worked through hopefully give me a valuable voice in setting goals and policy in the district that create overall positive momentum.
Perrydale School Board
Position Nos. 1 and 4 are up for election for the Perrydale School District. Brian Kohlmeyer is running or Position No. 1. Anna Scharf, the Position No. 4 incumbent, faces a challenger, Jenn Larson.
Position No. 4
ANNA SCHARF, 50, of Amity
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Scharf Farms Inc., eight years.
EDUCATION: MBA, University of Phoenix 2005, BS Political Science, Southern Oregon University 1990, Philomath High School class of 1987.
POSITION SOUGHT: Perrydale School Board Position No. 4.
PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT SERVICE: Perrydale School District, Board member, 2015 to present (Chair 2017) and Polk County Fair Board, Board Member, 2010 to present (Chair 2014 to present).
CAMPAIGN PHONE NUMBER: 503-435-7743.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Facebook Page: Re-Elect Anna4Perrydale
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA YOU WILL REPRESENT? 21 years
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE?
There is still work to do keeping Perrydale a standalone, successful school district. Rural schools have greater challenges than urban schools but have a greater opportunity to make a positive impact in smaller learning environments. This would be lost if Perrydale were not a standalone school district.
WHAT ARE THE CRITICAL ISSUES FACING EDUCATION? K-12 education is facing many challenges including a revenue vs. spending crisis. The district budget for 2018-19 was $6.5 million. Portions of the school were built in 1938, the most recent in 2000. Aging infrastructure in the light of uncertain state revenue and increasing PERS obligations can’t be ignored. The district is made up of mostly exclusive farm use land and many family-owned farms like mine. Unlike urban districts, there are no new sub-divisions or manufacturing facilities going in generating additional bond-based revenue. We have what we have, and we need to be mindful of how we manage that revenue.
HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES IF ELECTED? Revenue and spending reform is a statewide conversation at the legislature. I have been at the Capitol this session engaged in the conversation of finding a long-term solution to both and will continue to do so if re-elected. On a more local level, I would work with the district and the taxpayers to see what level of bond would be affordable to the taxpayers to address aging infrastructure needs once the current bond is paid off in 2020. We must take care of the needs of current facilities and then look for creative ways to fund the wants.
WHAT EXPERIENCE OR TALENT DO YOU BELIEVE YOU WOULD BRING TO THE OFFICE? I have an MBA and years of business experience which have provided me the skills to understand budgets. I have successfully worked on legislation giving me appreciation for how laws can apply to school policy. I represent our business in contract negotiations that assist me in understanding contract negotiations at the school district level as well. In addition to the school board, I am also involved in our community serving on other boards; Polk County Fair Board, Polk County Farm Bureau Board, and until last fall, Oregon 4-H Foundation. They all tie into assisting our community and our youth.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WISH TO NOTE ABOUT THE POSITION YOU ARE SEEKING? Being an effective board member is more than attending monthly meetings. Since being elected, I’ve attended every Oregon School Boards Association summer training, spent countless hours assisting contract negotiations, worked with administration while board chair, and engaged outside resources to assist with needs of the school and our community.
Jenn Larson, 42, of Sheridan
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Homemaker / home business owner, 16 years.
EDUCATION: Crater High School diploma 1994 studied Business management.
POSITION SOUGHT: Perrydale School Board Position No. 4
PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT SERVICE: None.
CAMPAIGN PHONE NUMBER: 541-206-0301.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Facebook page: Jenn Larson for Perrydale School Board.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA YOU WILL REPRESENT? Six years.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE? To keep Perrydale Great! We have a uniqueness about Perrydale. As a parent of five children who attend Perrydale and community member, it is our school. We need to keep what is great about Perrydale, small class sizes, individually focused learning, I will focus on keeping it that way.
WHAT ARE THE CRITICAL ISSUES FACING EDUCATION? We have a growing need for special education with some of our students. They want more than anything to fit in and to be able to do their best. Providing them with the assistance they need to overcome the obstacles they face will shape who they can become for the rest of their lives. There is also a need to make sure that our students are ready for graduation and beyond. Choosing a career path, applying for scholarships, perfecting a trade will give our students an edge when facing life after graduation. They need our support and guidance.
HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES IF ELECTED? Supporting our teachers and administration as they continue to help guide students on their individual paths. Teachers need resources, cutting edge technology and equipment to teach, allowing our students to experience education differently. Our teachers and administration have worked tirelessly to apply for grants and funding for infrastructure and improvements at Perrydale. Their efforts need to be respectfully thanked and appreciated. I will keep a positive light, make the board feel approachable to students, staff, parents, and community members. It does not take one person, we are all part of a village that it takes to help our children succeed.
WHAT EXPERIENCE OR TALENT DO YOU BELIEVE YOU WOULD BRING TO THE OFFICE? As most mothers would agree, being a mother gives you and education and insight like none other. As a mother with children who have special needs my education grew quickly. I believe in supporting other families going through similar challenges. I started an Autism support group to help support families here in Polk County. I believe that we can learn from each other. What is at the top of my list is that I am a mother, but I am a listener, I am patient, I am honest, I am a friend, and I love Perrydale School.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WISH TO NOTE ABOUT THE POSITION YOU ARE SEEKING? I love that I have been asked to do everything from summertime cleaning rearranging, to participating on interview boards. This has allowed me to teach my children that a strong school makes a strong community. We all love being a part of our Perrydale community, so let keep Perrydale Great!
Position No. 1
Brian Kohlmeyer, 33, of Amity
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Salem Police, 11 years.
EDUCATION: Perrydale School, Linn-Benton Community College, Oregon State University.
POSITION SOUGHT: Perrydale School Board Position No. 1
PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT SERVICE: None.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA YOU WILL REPRESENT? 33 years.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE? I’m running for office because I am passionate about the growth and well-being of Perrydale School, and I want to be involved in planning for Perrydale’s future as well as preserving its integrity.
WHAT ARE THE CRITICAL ISSUES FACING EDUCATION? The education system, as always, faces the critical issue of funding, and the best way to distribute funding amongst various programs. The education system also faces the issue of increased security needs in order to maintain a safe learning environment for our students.
HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES IF ELECTED? If elected, I would address funding issues by working with the Perrydale Budget Committee and offering suggestions as I am able. I would address safety issues by forming and promoting school policies that ensure our students’ safety, such as limiting entry points into the school.
WHAT EXPERIENCE OR TALENT DO YOU BELIEVE YOU WOULD BRING TO THE OFFICE? I bring 11 years of police experience to the school board position. That experience will help me to be an effective communicator and problem solver. As a police officer, I deal with a wide variety of individuals, and one of my primary jobs is to resolve personal conflict. I believe this experience will serve me well on the Perrydale School Board.