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Manitowoc nears a pivotal School Board primary as candidates get ready for Tuesday

Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 23:34:53-05

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — A big primary is coming up next week for Manitowoc schools.

  •  President Stacey Soeldner and Kerry Trask are up for re-election.
  • Four challengers are vying for the two spots on Manitowoc Public School District's Board of Education.
  • Two Manitowoc locals weigh in. Patrick Ellis wants to see change, but Ralph Sczygelski wants to see more of the same.

The crowded race is bringing the biggest issues to the minds of many in town.
From changes to the curriculum and school lunches, the Manitowoc Public School District's Board of Education has been handling a lot of issues.

Some in town, like Patrick Ellis, say there's been a bit too much action.

"It didn't used to be like this,” he said. “It used to be about the kids, the school, the education and now it's filled with a lot of hate."

But others, like Ralph Sczygelski, believe the current board is handling things just fine.

"You don't want a different school board every year, or two, or three, or whatever going back and forth and completely changing,” said Sczygelski. “You don't want that, so I think staying the course is a pretty good motto."

The two incumbents in the race are President Stacey Soeldner and Kerry Trask.

Including the teacher shortage, spending has been a topic of concern in the community

"I think right now the schools are headed in the right direction but that costs money,” Sczygelski said.

"We need to put the money that shows results and I think salaries are a good place,” said Ellis. “I think things that improve the school, not necessarily short term."

The four challengers are Keith Shaw, Basil Buchko, Lisa Krueger, and Brayden Myer.

They each told me the following is their main goal if they win the election.

Stacey Soeldner - Raise student achievement.

Kerry Trask - Rebuild the morale and relationship with the teachers.

Brayden Myer - Improve reading proficiency and maintaining/hiring a great staff.

Lisa Krueger - All students reach their potential in a safe learning environment.

Basil Buchko - Reverse the 30% staff turnover fueled by the current board's dysfunction.

Keith Shaw - Bring dignity and respect back to the board.

This election means a lot to a man like Sczygelski, who has a daughter in the school system.

"I think that that's number one,” he said. “That the school does its job and she's prepared for what is going to happen in the future."

The election will take place this Tuesday and I will be there to fill you in on the results and hear from the primary winners.