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COLFAX — Incumbent Colfax school board member Todd Kragness is one of four candidates running for two positions on the Colfax Board of Education in the April 5 election.
Incumbent school board member Andrew J. De Moe also will be on the ballot along with challengers Matt Flatland and Tom Hendrickson.
Kragness, age 52, is married to his wife, Cassandra, and they have two children, Brianne and Ben.
A graduate of Colfax High School, Kragness is a production supervisor at Cardinal Glass Industries in Menomonie.
He currently serves as president of the Board of Education.
The Colfax Messenger sent out questionnaires to the candidates.
Here are Kragness’s answers.
Why did you decide to run again for a position on the Colfax Board of Education?
To continue the strong educational, academic and extra-curricular traditions that the School District of Colfax has always provided.
What do you believe to be the two biggest issues facing the Colfax school district?
State funding: We received no increase in state aid from the biennial budget, which is the first time this has happened. Obviously, with inflation and the cost of everything going up, the result is, this adversely impacts our school.
Hiring staff: Staffing has become an increasingly significant issue for not only our school, but schools around the state. There is a shortage of applicants for all jobs in our district. Private sector competition, with a great deal of jobs available, has made this market very competitive. Lastly, without the state increasing our aid dollars, we are finding it very difficult to stay competitive and attract new employees.
How would you go about addressing those issues?
Solution is state funding: The State of Wisconsin currently has a $2 billion budget surplus with the likelihood of having approximately $3 billion more dollars added to it by June of 2023 for an approximate total of $5 billion. These available dollars far exceed what a normal biennial budget increase for our public schools would be on any normal year.
Hiring staff: Funding public schools properly will allow us to attract and retain the best teachers and staff while continuing to provide the top quality education the Colfax schools are known for. Also, fair funding from the state may give us the opportunity to provide all day junior kindergarten. This is a benefit to our youngest students and alleviates some day care needs for parents.
Anything else you would like voters to know?
We were able to keep our school open, every day, for the last 2 years under some adverse conditions. I am proud that our students could attend school in-person and participate in most school activities while many others around the area and state could not. Also, we currently offer over 40 post-secondary credits to our high school students. Our students have taken full advantage of these credits and it has benefited them greatly in their post-secondary education.