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District 833 School Board candidate: William Thurmes

Name: William Thurmes

Age: 46

City: Cottage Grove

Occupation: District manager

Family: Wife Kelly, 22 years; Austin 21, Bailey 19

Incumbent or challenger: Challenger

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

I bring Board of Directors experience along with over 10 years of working in the real estate industry (commercial and residential). Currently I am in my eighth year serving on the Greater St. Paul Building Owners and Managers Board, serving as Chairperson from 2013-2015. Locally I have served on the CGAA Baseball Board, Park Wrestling Board, and Crestview Elementary PTA as Treasurer. I also volunteered to serve on the Middle School Boundary Committee when East Ridge was built. My background in real estate and facility management will be beneficial in budgeting and finding ways to stretch the tax payers' dollars in providing our children with an outstanding educational opportunity.

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

Narrowing academic achievement gaps is one of the most important issues facing any school district. Our teachers are asked each year to do more with less. My four part plan to help narrow this gap is as follows: (1) Lowering class sizes is an important first step. Optimal learning is achieved when the teacher to student ratio is improved. (2) Evaluating current educational and social programs within the school district. It is my belief that we should look for and implement programs that focus on narrowing the academic achievement gaps. (3) Offer as many interventions as possible. Getting to the heart of the problem is very important. (4) Connecting parents and teachers. We always do better when the lines of communication are open.

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

Budgeting and school funding is always the biggest challenge. Our School District is trusted with the limited state funding and tax dollars that come from the community. It is my belief that the administration and teachers perform miracles when you look at the great programs and successes in District 833. First and foremost, we as a community can help. I am voting for all three referendum questions on the ballot because I believe that investing in our students' future is what we should do. I have been budgeting in my professional career for over 20 years. I will work tirelessly to ensure that every dollar is used to provide an outstanding educational experience for every student.