Six have eyes on Ironton school board

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

When Ironton voters head to the polls Tuesday, they will choose three people to sit on the city school's board of education - two board members are running for reelection.

One seat became available earlier this year when board member Kathy McGinnis resigned. Attorney John Wolfe was appointed to fill her unexpired term and chose not to run for election Incumbents Robert Pleasant Jr and Gary Neal are seeking reelection. Former board member Kathy Kratzenberg and newcomers James Colegrove, Paul Kuehne and Tim Johnson are also vying for the three seats available on the board.

Colegrove said if he is elected, he would like to focus on improving the district's proficiency test scores.

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"We're improving, but we could still do better," Colegrove said. "I want to make the district the best in the county."

Colegrove said, if elected, he would put the best interest of the children ahead of everything else and would listen to the concerns of the community.

Johnson said he wants to see an improvement in the district's proficiency test scores as well.

We're No. 4 in the county right now and we should be No. 1," Johnson said. "With our resources, there is no reason why we can't be number one. We have to use the resources we have available, whether it's Ohio University Southern or whatever, to get the job done."

Johnson said if he is elected he would bring a lot of enthusiasm to the position. "Apathy isn't getting us anywhere," Johnson said. "We need to have enthusiasm to move us forward. I think this is true of the city as a whole. We need to have a vision that we can be number one."

Johnson said if he is elected he would have an open-door policy, and that people could call him anytime and discuss their concerns.

Kratzenberg said her greatest concern is improving education by closing gaps in the district's curriculum.

She said she would like to see classes added to challenge the more academically advanced students, and would also like to see improvements in the field of technology.

"I would like to see maybe a

Chemistry II class

and a calculus class available to seniors," Kratzenberg said. "I think we might need a computer class at the middle school level. We have a good tech program at the high school, but they need something before they get there. There are state standards on this, but we haven't met them yet."

Kratzenberg said finances are also a concern and would like to see the district pursue more grant funding. She said if she is elected she will work to improve education for all children.

"I'm thinking about all the kids, not just my kids," Kratzenberg said. " My main focus is on the kids' education."

Kuehne said his greatest concern is improving proficiency test scores and making sure all children get a quality education. "The kids are our future," Kuehne said. "If I am elected, I promise to do what's best for the children. The children come first.

Neal, who is seeking his second four-year term on the board, said he is most proud of the improvement the district has made in its proficiency test scores, and that the district is on sound financial footing. He said he is also proud of the school's staff and administration, many of whom came on board or were promoted within the last four years.

Neal said his greatest concern is that all children be treated fairly.

"I've hollered about that for four years. I want them all treated alike. I just want fairness," Neal said. "I care about this district more than anything, and I want to see it be one of the best in the state."

"I think we have a good superintendent and a good principal at the high school," Neal said.

Pleasant, who is seeking his second four-year term on the board, said he is most proud of the unity among the school staff, board, parents and the community.

"To be the district we want it to be, there must be unity," Pleasant said. " There has to be a strong partnership."

Pleasant said he is also proud that in the last four years, proficiency scores have improved.

Pleasant said the greatest challenge facing the city school district is money: keeping the district on a sound financial footing in tough economic times.

"Just having enough money to get the job done," Pleasant said. "This is going to require us to be creative and we're going to have to work within our means."

Pleasant stressed he has always worked with young people and is dedicated to the students in the district.

Editor's note: A photograph of James Colegrove was not available.