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District 833 School Board candidate: Katie Schwartz

Name: Katie Schwartz

Age: 39

City: St. Paul Park

Occupation: Store management

Family: Husband, Tony; four kids — Regan, Alex, Josephine and Henry

Incumbent or challenger: Incumbent

How do your skills or experience set you apart as a candidate?

I have been on the board for almost four years so I have firsthand knowledge of how the board and district work together. Having four kids on various levels throughout the district is something that no other candidate has. My youngest three are still in the district and attend elementary, middle and high school. My oldest son is also in the special education program at Park. This means that I will have a direct connection on all levels of the district.

What do you believe the school board can do to narrow academic achievement gaps?

We can provide the necessary tools that will allow the teachers the ability to provide extra support to those in need. By giving teachers the support they need to provide the important interventions so kids that are struggling can get the extra help they need. Small class sizes will also help in these efforts. When class sizes grow there is less time for teachers to spend with each student. We can't allow this to happen.

Is the budget and school funding the biggest challenge facing the district?

The budget is the biggest concern and challenge facing the district right now. The budget affects everything we do. Having the necessary resources to keep class sizes down and retain quality teachers is in direct correlation with the budget. If our resources continue to decline we will need to make cuts. The initial cuts need to be done without touching the classroom but if a downward spiral happens eventually it will hit the classroom. I will do everything I can to make sure that does not happen. Vote Katie Schwartz on Nov. 7.