The South Washington County School Board has five seats up for election in 2013.
Four members will be elected to four-year terms; one will be elected to fill the vacancy of the two-year term expiring Jan. 4, 2016.
There are 14 people vying for the four-year terms and three candidates for the two-year term. The election is Nov. 5.
Frederick E. Hess, of Woodbury, is vying for a four-year term.
Check back on Patch for more candidate profiles.
Patch: Why are you running for school board?
Hess: I spent the 2012 election cycle working to elect representatives and a senator from MN Senate District 53 that would not play games with educational funding to balance the state budget. Those efforts were successful and in the past legislative session we saw a return to the strong principles of putting our children’s educations first. While working to help elect representatives that could serve our community better in St. Paul I became more aware of the challenges placed on our local school district and felt compelled to learn more and do more in our district.
Like many parents I believe in hands-on parenting and being involved with my child. To that extent I have been a field trip chaperone and a classroom helper for projects. I have worked closely with my son’s teachers and school staffers to make his educational experience successful. When we attended his graduation from 5th grade last spring saying my good-byes brought tears to my eyes as I thanked those teachers that had a profound impact on my son. Teachers and those that work in our schools deserve the best working conditions we can provide them and that motivates me to want to serve them and our community as a member of the 833 school board.
Patch: What qualifications do you have?
Hess: I am employed in the field of patient accounting in the finance department at Life Link III, an air medical transport company based in Minneapolis. For the past 15 years I have specialization in reimbursement and compensation related issues with government entities and commercial insurance companies, requiring negotiation skills, fact-finding research and critical thinking. As an elder in our church I serve on the church council where consensus building is an important part of leadership. I am a director on the board of the SD53 DFL Party and work on issues facing our community as well as encouraging citizen participation in our legislative processes. I am not afraid to ask questions and do the research required to get the job done.
Patch: How are you voting on the three ballot questions? Why?
It is common knowledge that school districts cannot rely solely on
state’s per pupil funding and as a result local districts turn to levies
to support general fund expenditures. Ballot Question One renews
operating revenues that the district relies on to provide the services
and programs we currently enjoy. I support the renewal of the two levies
at issue in question one to sustain the programs and services already
In addition I support ballot question two, which when approved will increase funding for security, safety, technology infrastructure and assist the district in maintaining its fund balance policy. All of these items are important to the vitality of our district. Providing a safer environment for our school children is not something we can take for granted. We must work proactively to assure our buildings are safe. Technological advances move at a fast pace and if we fail to commit to keeping up the infrastructure needed to promote personalized learning we will do a disservice to our students and community.
question three provides for the district to be in a better position to
plan for the future needs of our district based on the projected growth
in the district. It is not a matter of if there will be future growth
and additional families moving into the district but a matter of when.
Now that we are coming out of the economic recession we can expect housing starts to increase in our communities. We need to be ready to respond to the growth and plan for the future, which may include the need to build a new middle school. I support the passage of ballot question three as the district recognizes the future need for land to accommodate a new school. Planning ahead my save the district millions in the future.
Patch: What is the biggest challenge facing District 833 schools? How would you address it?
With the advancement of social media, blogs, emails and websites, on
top of more traditional communications such as newsletters, there is an
abundance of information available for the public to sort through to
keep on top of the activities in the district.
Erroneous news and
misinformation coming from outside sources seems to be a problem even
with the best efforts of the Communications Department to provide
residents and families accurate, fact based information. I believe that
energy and resources are wasted on dispelling false information and
keeping rumors under control. We are in an age where we have come to
expect information to be available immediately and to be accurate.
As a school board member I will work to help the district find solutions to effectively communicate and work toward more transparent operations. Like most people I am inundated with email communications and might suggest starting with trying to find a way to use emails more effectively with less repetition.
Patch: Anything else you'd like to add?
I have become aware that some residents may take issue with a family
like mine. I consider myself to be an open and honest person and have
never shied away from standing up for myself or my family.
My past posts on the Woodbury Patch or letters to the editor of the Woodbury Bulletin have always been in defense of families like mine. Like other families we put the highest priority on raising our child to respect others, to understand what is right and what is wrong and to do his best in all his endeavors including his school work. As our community becomes increasingly diverse it is important that we have school board leadership that is receptive to that diversity and embraces our differences and gives voice to those that may not be in the majority.
Feel free to talk to me on my candidate Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frederick-E-Hess/544758585594351?ref=hl
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