Election Preview: Southland board hopefuls focused on state cuts, budgets

Published 3:47 pm Friday, November 2, 2012

Six candidates are campaigning for three open seats on the Southland Public Schools Board this year, as Kim Bruggeman, Diane Klingfus and Paul Kuehneman vie for their seats against challengers Shawn Kennedy, David Kirtz and Rod Nordeng.

“With the experience I’ve obtained over the last four years serving, I just feel like I can help the district continue running with a positive fund balance, and try to continue to provide those things for our kids,” Klingfus said.

Klingfus said the board will deal most with budget issues as school districts across the state face reduced funding from the state Legislature over the next several years, and many candidates say they too are hoping to help with budgetary concerns.

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“I see it as a balance,” Nordeng, who has experience serving on various nonprofit boards, said. “[We have to ask] how do you maintain everything as you’re required to do certain things through mandates and the revenue isn’t increasing for school districts?”

Kuehneman agreed, saying it was important for the district to be mindful of its budget while at the same time addressing educational opportunities, like the district’s updated plan to provide one-to-one iPad use for every student over the next several years. Another key issue, according to Kuehneman, is stemming the tide of students leaving the district so Southland can remain for future generations.

“We’ve got decreasing enrollment out there, and the board needs to address that,” he said.

—Kennedy, Kirtz and Bruggeman did not return calls for comment.