Four are competing for school board seats in the Milton School District. The top two vote-getters will serve a three-year term. Candidates include:

*Shelly Crull-Hanke, 55, Milton, previously served on the Milton school board for three years. She has lived in the district for 17 years and is a middle school teacher with the Beloit Turner School District.

*Karen Hall, 54, , Janesville, has been on the board for four years. She has lived in the district 24 years and is a guest advocate at Target.

*Michael Hoffman, 56, Milton, recently retired from the Milton School District after 30 years. He has lived in the district for 30 years.

*David Holterman, 44, Milton, is vice president of First Community Bank in Milton. Holterman is an alumnus of Milton High School.

Each candidate was asked:

What do you view as the school district’s biggest challenges in the next three years? How can you help with these challenges?

  • Crull-Hanke: The three biggest challenges will be budgeting, staffing, and future growth.

• Creative financing – With the operational referendum expiring, the district will need to look at creative ways to reallocate dollars. This could include looking at programming that is no longer needed or restructuring areas in order to best use the budgeted dollars. It also does not rule out presenting a future operational referendum to the citizens.

• Incentives/competitive pay scale – Attracting and retaining qualified staff is a priority. Creating a competitive salary structure, benefits package, and a positive climate for our staff will lead to retention of our staff.

• Growth – Watching housing development market, creation of new businesses, and working with chamber of commerce.

  • Hall: Capital project completion, $2.5 million operational referendum and district-wide literacy.

Keeping a close eye on the accounting for both the capital project and the operational referendum. Continuing to foster open, honest communication between the district, the construction team, community stakeholders and district taxpayers. I will continue to encourage the district administration to look at ways for the district be become more financially responsible. I will continue to look at the district curriculum and foster staff to work at meeting each student where they are at academically.

  • Hoffman: Working toward finishing the current building projects on time and on budget, with as little inference to student learning, is a high priority for the district and the school board. It’s exciting to see the progress that has taken place so far! In addition, hiring and retaining high quality teachers should be a top priority. There is a teacher shortage nationwide and in the state of Wisconsin. You can have the best facilities, and great curriculum, but without top-notch teachers, you won’t have quality education. Finally, there are pockets in the district where student achievement needs to improve. Student achievement should always be a high priority for the district.

My 30 years of working as a teacher in the district will be invaluable as the board works together to meet these challenges. I will bring a perspective that is currently not present on the board – someone who has been on the inside of the organization. I know how important board decisions are to hiring and retaining quality educators. These decisions have affected my life for the past 30 years. I also understand how to improve student achievement. It’s what I’ve dedicated my life to for the past many years, and I look forward to bringing this perspective to the board.

Holterman: We’ll soon need to decide how we will maintain or improve our level of support for programing within the district. The current operational referendum will expire in 2021 and a plan on how to proceed will be paramount to the future of the district. The administration will need to formulate a recommendation, the board will need to consider the potential impacts on all of the districts stakeholder’s, and the public will need to be educated on whatever is ultimately presented to the voters.

I think my education, background in the financial services industry, and prior volunteer work can be helpful to both the board and the community as we consider our options and how to proceed. I’m a Milton graduate and a parent of three Milton students, I believe I have the ability to assess complex issues and work to find solutions that will support the education of our kids.

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