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Six running in West De Pere school board primary

By Press Times Staff

DE PERE – The ballot for the Feb. 15 primary election is set for the West De Pere School Board race.

Incumbents Scott Borley and Barb Van Deurzen are in a six-way race for two seats with challengers Dr. Nathan DeLorey, Jamie Kinjerski, Adam Aleknavicius and Jason Dorn.

The top four vote-getters advancing to the general election April 5.

The district is made up of the west side of De Pere, and includes parts of the Town of Lawrence and Village of Hobart.

Candidates were emailed the same question:

“What do you see as the most important issue facing the West De Pere School District, and if elected, how will you address it?”

Each candidate had 200 words to respond.

Jamie Kinjerski

A: I think the most important issue is making sure parents feel heard and represented, while also giving district staff the flexibility they need to make the educational choices they’ve been trained to make in the best interests of our children. 

This applies across the board to the recent issues facing the schools right now from health and safety to the curriculum.

As a board member, I will serve the district by being a voice for the community, and by carefully considering how to best meet the needs of the district.

I will listen to the concerns and needs of our students, parents, staff and district residents.

I will present those concerns to the School Board and the district administration, and work with them to find a solution that best meets the needs of all stakeholders.

Steps to address this issue:

• Be available and responsive.

• Take the time to listen before thoughtfully responding.

• Consider the needs of all students while providing options for parents who want more input in their child’s education.

• Encourage open discussions between parents and educators related to the curriculum.

• Consider input from sources outside of the schools as needed to address issues that impact the schools.

Scott Borley

A: I believe the most important issue facing the school district of West De Pere is addressing our rapid growth.

This is due to the exceptional education provided by our teachers and staff, resulting in many new families who want to live in our district.

This growth will come with challenges that are best addressed by someone like myself with experience in educational and financial leadership.

I’m proud of the proactive steps our board has taken, such as passing a referendum to build our new intermediate school and add classrooms at the high school, which helped keep our class sizes low, as well as purchased land for future options. 

As a candidate running for reelection, I am committed to maintaining our healthy culture and financial viability, so we can retain and attract the very best staff to work in our school district.

This will include providing the support and resources our teachers need to meet the needs of all students.

With so many challenges on the horizon, we need consistency of leadership, and I would be honored to serve our community for another term to provide the best education possible for our kids.

Go Phantoms.

Barb Van Deurzen

A: I feel that the most important issue facing the West De Pere District is growth.

We recently finished our referendum project, which should tide us over for the next few years. However, we are a growing district, and there will be future businesses and homes built that will increase the number of students in the district.

We have already purchased land in Lawrence for a future elementary school, and are in the process of having a population study done, so we can start planning for the next building project, so it’s ready when needed. 

Adam Aleknavicius

A: I feel that there are two items right now that need to be addressed as a district.

I am happy that West De Pere has kept our kids in school.

I feel masking should be a choice and not a requirement.

The district has gone back and forth on this too many times, and it creates too much animosity. I agree with the new five-day quarantine guideline.

I feel families should make the decision on whether to keep their child home from school, and children should not be questioned by school staff concerning potential COVID-19 symptoms.  Most, if not all, of the community has been exposed to COVID in one form or another over the last two years.

Experience has taught us that 99+% of children infected with COVID fully recover.

The second item that I feel needs attention is making sure the district has transparency in decisions affecting our children’s education.

Teachers and parents need to be supported in their efforts to ensure children receive the best education possible.

I feel this should be a collaborative effort in educating our children.

I will collaboratively work with both teachers and parents to meet these goals. 

Jason M Dorn 

A: By my estimation, there are two issues that residents want addressed immediately: COVID-19 strategies and what is being taught in school.

Now that we’ve all had about two years of living with this virus, we’ve had ample time to reach our own opinions on what is best for our families.

Because of that, I feel that it is most important that we allow families the freedom to choose how they wish to deal with it.

I don’t think it is the place of our schools to be making any medical requirements or even recommendations. That is for parents and their medical providers to agree upon.

Though I generally believe it is important to provide broad access to all kinds of reading material, it is important that whatever is made available is age-appropriate and easily accessible to the parents, so that they can also have a say in what they want their children to have access to.

Dr. Nathan DeLorey

Dr. Nathan DeLorey

A: The most important issue facing the West De Pere School Board is selecting a curriculum that is both of the best possible quality and that matches the shared values of our community.

If elected, I would seek to work with the members of the board to first define what we want to ideally see in our district’s curriculum.

Then, I would encourage the board to communicate to the administration what we want to see in the curriculum.

The board and the administration should work collaboratively to deliver to the students a curriculum of the best possible quality.

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