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Paynesville Press - July 27, 2005

Four file for school board

By Melissa Andrie

Four local residents have filed for three four-year terms on the Paynesville Area School Board. Filings opened on Tuesday, July 5, and closed on Tuesday, July 19.

Candidates filing were incumbent Mark Dingmann, incumbent Debora Glenz, David Johnson, and incumbent Allen Schmidt.

Elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8, for the four positions currently held by board members Dingmann, Glenz, Schmidt, and Tami Stanger. Currently, Schmidt is the board chair, Glenz the vice-chair, and Stanger - who did not apply for reelection - the treasurer.

To qualify for a position on the seven-member board, a candidate must be an eligible voter, 21 years of age when assuming office in January 2006, and a resident of the school district for 30 days prior to the election.

*Mark Dingmann, 680 Spruce Street, has served on the board since 2001. He is a member of four board committees and was part of the searches for the current superintendent, Todd Burlingame, and new secondary school principal, Lorie Floura.

Dingmann studied radiology at the St. Cloud Hospital School of Radiology, earned an associate's degree in ultrasound at Chippewa Valley Technical College, and finished a bachelor of science in health care management from Ashwood University this year. He is the radiology manager for the Paynesville Area Health Care System.

He has lived in Paynesville since 1992 with his wife, Kathy, and has three children: Zachary will be a sixth grader; Nicholas will be a third grader, and Katelyn will be a first grader.

Equality learning for all students is something Dingmann said he strives for as a member of the board. Difficult decisions will continue to be needed because "the severity of declining enrollment is a reality to us," he said, but he wants to protect curriculum offerings despite the decreases in funding.

*Debora Glenz, 28487 Highway 55, is completing her third term on the board since being elected for the first time in 1994. She is currently the vice-chair and has served on many committees, one of which she has served on since starting with the board: Schools for Equity in Education. This group is decreasing the "distance between the haves and the have-nots" among school districts, according to Glenz. As a community member, she served on the planning committee for the auditorium and fitness center built at the high school and is a member of both the wrestling and overall athletic booster clubs.

After going through military education most of her youth, Glenz graduation from high school in Duluth and has run a daycare out of her home for over 17 years.

One of her four children is still in the district (Sean, who will be a senior this fall) and the other three attend school in Mankato (Michelle, 26, in a master's program; Julie, 24; Ryan, 20).

Glenz is excited about many new things on the school board, including Burligame starting his second year as superintendent, Floura coming to the high school, a turnover in the teaching staff, and a change she believes is pending in the education funding system. New options in the elementary school to help children find the right fit - including looping classrooms, of which she believes more will be offered, and multi-age classrooms that the board is considering - will help the school stay competitive, she said.

*David Johnson, 15424 263rd Ave., said involvement with the school district is "brand new" to him, though he was involved in the Keep the Quality campaign in the district.

After graduating from PHS in 1984, he double-majored in business and history at Gustavus Adolphus College and got his law degree from Hamline Law School. Johnson has worked as an attorney in Paynesville since 1999.

Johnson's three children are Ella, who will be in second grade, and Eric and Luke, four-year-old twin boys.

He wants to be involved as his kids go through the school system, and offer the best for children. Johnson dislikes cuts that have been made, both in extracurriculars and on the curriculum, and said, "If there's anything I can do about that, I'll put my efforts in there." He believes that his business experience and background as a lawyer will help him in a board position.

*Allen Schmidt, 18750 190th Street NE, has been the board chair for the past two years, while in his first term on the board.

A 1979 PHS graduate, Schmidt has also served on a rural electric cooperative board. He is employeed as supervisor of the live-haul division for the Jennie-O Turkey plant in Melrose.

Schmidt has four daughters with his wife, Lori, three of whom are in the district. The oldest, Sarah, just graduated and will be attending St. Cloud Technical College this fall. Rachel, 16, will be a junior; Nicole, 14, will be a freshman; and Megan, 11, will be a sixth grader.

He believes that community members ought to invest in their communities, and his involvement on the board allows him to do that, he said. Though Schmidt acknowledged that the board cannot please everyone, he said it makes the best, most informed choice that it can. Priorities for him are having "offerings that are competitive and some financial stability."

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