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Three seeking one spot for Plum City School Board

PLUM CITY -- There will be a newcomer on the Plum City School Board as a result of the spring election next Tuesday.

Mark Gilles, who is the board's clerk, chose not to seek reelection; therefore, two challengers--Julie Gilles and Kraig Krueger--announced their candidacies. Paul McDonough also announced he is running for the vacant seat as write-in candidate.

In an effort for the public to get to know the candidates, the Herald sent a questionnaire to all known candidates. This is their responses. (Note: Some of the candidates' responses have been edited for space requirements.)

Please give a brief description of yourself. Include information such as age, family, where you live and for how long, and list any educational, life or public service experiences which you believe will assist you in the position you're seeking.

GILLES - I graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1977 as Julie Brunner. I married Tom Gilles from Plum City in June 1980, and have lived there since. We have three children - Katie, Kim and Kyle - along with three grandchildren. I have been president of the Ladies Alter Society twice, and also a member of the Parish Council for St. John's Catholic Church here in Plum City. I taught CCD for 14 years. I was on the board for the Tri-County Youth Football League and Plum City Youth Football League.

KRUEGER - My name is Kraig Krueger. I am 41 years old, married and have three children. We live in rural Maiden Rock, and have lived in the Plum City School District for the last 15 years. I have Bachelors Degree in eBusiness and work in supervision at 3M in St. Paul. I have practical experience in leadership, having served as Cubmaster for Plum City Pack 134 and Advisory Council Chairman at Ono UMC. I am the current President of the Plum City Support Our School (SOS) group and a member of the District Leadership Team. I have coached/volunteered in various capacities in our school district, in support of our youth sports and music programs.

MCDONOUGH - Hello, my name is Paul McDonough. I'm running as a write-in candidate for the Plum City School Board of Education. I'm a graduate of Plum City Schools and long-time resident of Plum City. My wife and I currently have four children, with two that are in the Plum City School System. I also enjoying volunteering for the youth football program and coaching the fifth grade basketball team.

If you are a challenger, explain how and why you chose to seek the position and what areas particularly interest you; if you are an incumbent, discuss the committees on

which you have served, review any accomplishments to which you feel you have made a particular contribution and share your intentions for involvement during a new term.

GILLES - As a former employee of the Plum City School District, I feel I have some knowledge of how the school runs. My position with the school was a victim of the infamous budget cuts. So I know how the financial issues affect the school. I enjoyed my time at the school. We have really great kids in this district. I also worked with some wonderful and caring parents. I hope to take that experience to the School Board.

KRUEGER -- I seek the school board position because I have served the school/community in many capacities and would like to take my leadership and service to a higher level. My particular areas of interest include: school funding, district/teacher/student recognition, and academic excellence. In the wake of our district's failed referendum last spring, I chose to try to understand the way the school funding formula worked. I dug into the details and even traveled to Madison and met with our state representatives. My experience led me to believe that there needs to be improvements in the way schools are funded if we are going to be able to maintain or improve the high standards of education for our children in the future. Until the funding formula changes, we need to spend prudently, without sacrificing our children's educational needs.

Discuss your approach to representing and being responsive to the residents in your area.

GILLES - Having lived in Plum City for almost 30 years and with our children attending the school, I have gotten to know many of the people of the community. I feel I would do a good job representing them. As a former employee, I know the staff members and feel that I could work closely with them also.

KRUEGER -- Empathy is important when representing and I will always be available and willing to hear people's viewpoints. I like to keep an open mind about issues and try to understand other people's points of view. Knowledge and idea exchange via email or personal discussions are great ways to stay in touch with the wants and needs of the constituency.

Identify and elaborate on any issues facing the board you're running for which you feel to be important.

GILLES - I know that declining enrollment is a top issue with most schools. State aid is anyone's guess, more would be wonderful, but we have to work with what we get. We have a great school and keeping it running efficiently is important. I would like to see more parents attend the school board meetings on a regular basis. These are public meetings and all are welcome. I think that input from parents and taxpayers is important. This is their school, too.

Plum City is a great community and the school is an important part of this community. I want to see this district continue for a long time.

KRUEGER -- As I touched on previously, first and foremost in everyone's mind, is how school funding balances with the quality of education being provided. I think I can represent the district with a good grasp of how the funding school formula works and a strong ability to analyze data to help determine where the school district can get the best "bang for the education buck."

MCDONOUGH - If elected, I will do my best to make the right decisions for this school and community here in Plum City.