Abbey Marshall | Managing Editor
On Tuesday, November 3, voters will select the candidates that will fill the two open seats on the Mason City Schools Board of Education. Campaigning for these spots are incumbents Kevin Wise and Courtney Allen, as well as community member Erin Schmidt. Of these three candidates on the poll this election, voters can choose two to represent the district. The elected officials will serve on the Board for four years.
Courtney Allen, incumbent School Board President, hopes to continue to have a say in big decisions. Photo contributed by Courtney Allen.
According to Allen, incumbent Board President, being a current member running for re-election has both its advantages and disadvantages.
“I feel the district has faced some tough challenges during my first term,” Allen said. “The Board made some difficult decisions and worked hard to overcome those challenges and move the district in a positive direction. I feel we have been very successful which may provide an advantage. With any big decision, however, you’re going to have people who agree and people who disagree, which can convert into an advantage or a disadvantage, respectfully, when it comes time for re-election.”
School board candidate Erin Schmidt hopes to gain a position on the Mason City School Board. Photo contributed by Erin Schmidt.
Schmidt said she thinks that introducing herself as a fresh face running for Board could work in her favor towards winning the election.
“I feel at an advantage running against two incumbents,” Schmidt said. “Sometimes being the new name and face garners more attention because people want to see what you are about…I also think many residents of the school district feel it is time for a change.”
According to Schmidt, her desire to run for the Board of Education stemmed from volunteering in her children’s classrooms and witnessing firsthand the problems students and teachers face on a daily basis.
“In the last couple of years, I have seen an increase in the stresses placed on classroom teachers in the form of testing mandates and unfair evaluation measures,” Schmidt said. “Those stresses affect you as students. My interest in running for a Board seat began with a desire to be a voice for Mason’s amazing teachers and, in turn, a voice for the students.”
Kevin Wise, incumbent board member, hopes to continue to represent the board. Photo contributed by Kevin Wise.
The three candidates were in agreement that state legislations and mandates, such as funding and standardized testing, were at the forefront of the issues currently facing the district. Kevin Wise, incumbent Board member since 2002, said he hopes to address these government regulations in Mason.
“Federal and State mandates are putting more and more pressure on school districts and Mason is no different,” Wise said. “I want to assure Mason remains able to defend against these intrusions and flexible enough to navigate all of the changes.”
The three candidates said they feel a pull towards the Board of Education because of their children’s involvement in Mason schools. According to incumbent Board President Courtney Allen, the board allows her to actively make changes to benefit all students, and in turn, her own children.
“My family is very important to me, as is the school district and community we live in,” Allen said. “I firmly believe that our school district is a great source of pride and plays a major role in the strength of our community. With my 3 most prized possessions–my children–all in the Mason School District, and my family being vested members of the community, the School Board continues to be a perfect opportunity for me to utilize my skills and passion to make a difference.”
Ultimately, the goal of any candidate that is elected is to represent and be an advocate for the students, teachers, and district as a whole, according to Allen.
“As a Board, our goal is to support and protect what makes Mason special and strong,” Allen said. “I want the Board to continue to show good financial stewardship, while prioritizing the educational needs of the students…The most rewarding part about being on the School Board is definitely seeing the successes of the students, the staff, and the district.”