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Paynesville Press - Oct. 27, 2010

Paynesville School Board
Lew Storkamp

Lew Storkamp, 71, worked for the Paynesville School District for 25 years, including 10 years as groundskeeper and 15 years as the building and grounds supervisor. A 1957 PHS grad, he is retired, though he still drives a van part-time for the school district. He and his wife Helen have six adult children, 18 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

Why are you running for school board? I feel I would be an asset to the school board as I know the buildings and the daily operations. I've always had a great interest in the success of Paynesville Schools.

Describe your experiences with kids and explain how these will help you make decisions on the board? I worked for the Paynesville Area School District full time for 26 years and for four-plus years as a van driver. I've supervised athletic events over the years. Being around students listening to them made me aware of their concerns and needs. I've coached Little League baseball and some basketball.

What new ideas do you think you can bring to the school board? I would rather help the board with the ideas at hand and in time present new ideas.

The district has not made Adequate Yearly Progress in three years (and in four of the past seven years) How should the district improve its curriculum and test scores? MCA testing, interventions, secondary math and English boot camp (two weeks in the summer). Be receptive to ideas from staff and other educators on what works in the classroom to improve student achievement. Perspective website.

What measures should the board take to deal with declining enrollment? Working with the city, we need job opportunities for growth. Good educational programs for our kids.

How important are strong extracurricular programs to our school district? What should the board be doing to encourage and enhance these programs? It's very important. One of a few of the reasons, it keeps kids in school.

For the past four years, the district has exceeded its goal for a general fund balance (more than $1 million). What should the district maintain as a healthy fund balance? A six to eight percent guideline fund balance with the state deficit about six billion. We are fortunate to have a current fund balance. We may see a cut in K-12. Continue to be good financial stewards of the district.

As district funds allow, where do you see funding needs in the school district? Building and grounds improvement and maintenance.

The school board approved a $16.5-million renovation and repair project in August that includes a $14 million tax increase. Would you have supported this project and tax increase? Yes.

A proposal to raise the district's operating levy was rejected by voters in November 2009. Do you support asking voters to increase this tax in November 2011? Why or why not? Yes, looking at neighboring schools, we are at the lowest, and if we want to compete and keep our class sizes low.

What is the proper role of of the school board in making personnel decisions? Take recommendation from the committee for the superintendent and administration. The board has a role in hiring and dismissal.

How much weight should board members give committee recommendations? Strong support. Trust fellow board members. The board needs to work as a team. The committees have three board members.

Should school board meetings be televised on the local Channel 8? Yes. If this is something the community would want and take advantage of.

How should the school board - and the school district - encourage and maintain community support for the Paynesville Area Public Schools? Communications.

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