Three file for 622 board

Filing unopposed for four-year terms on the District 622 Board of Education were board chair Cathy Miller and members Scott Duddeck and Mark Wheeler.

“Isn’t that interesting?” Miller said, admitting she was somewhat mystified about the lack of challengers. “I think it could mean many different things. I’d like to believe that it means that folks are supportive of the school board as it is right now. I do think that plays a factor.”

However, another reason Miller noted was the new state law, put into effect this year, that demands local governments be prepared to hold primary elections if “twice as many candidates as there are seats, plus one candidate” file for office.

Previously, each jurisdiction could choose for itself whether to have a primary. In Maplewood, primaries were routinely held; in Oakdale in the mid-1990s, huge fields battled it out in the November elections.

Now, every local government has to be prepared for a primary, meaning filing dates are in mid-July instead of early August.

Miller said her first goal for the new term is dealing with the change in leadership on the administration side, with a new superintendent and new director of teaching and learning.

Second, she says, is for the board to find out what “more money” from the Legislature really means.

“The Legislature gave us more money than we anticipated, so there will not be additional cuts this year, but that does not mean there will not be reductions in 2006-07,” she warned. The board had to cut $4.5 million from its budget for the 2005-06 year, and Miller says she does not anticipate the “new” money from the state will be enough to restore those programs.

“However, we have not had a chance to see how much money we will be seeing and how that relates to our fund balance and our immediate needs,” she said.

A special meeting is scheduled Aug. 9 to examine those funding questions.

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