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Races have become 'more intense': Four candidates vie for two seats on De Pere school board

Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-29 18:48:45-04

DE PERE (NBC 26) — With referenda looming, over-enrollment happening and a flag policy in some minds, it's an interesting time to be running for school board in the Unified School District of De Pere.

  • The four candidates are: Scott Hemauer, Joel Neuville, incumbent Matthew Petersen and Brandy Tollefson
  • The Republican Party of Brown County endorsed Hemauer and Neuville, while the Democratic Party of Brown County supports Petersen and Tollefson
  • Video shows each candidate giving a brief insight into their platforms

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Four people for two seats — we are introducing you to the De Pere school board candidates: Scott Hemauer, Joel Neuville, Matt Petersen and Brandy Tollefson.

Hemauer and Neuville have been endorsed by the Brown County Republicans, while Petersen and Tollefson have been endorsed by the Brown County Democrats.

The candidates on the ballot simultaneously with a nearly $24 million operational referendum — which Hemauer says he is "mildly in favor of," and Petersen and Tollefson say they support.

"It is a state issue of lack of funding for our schools right now," Tollefson said. "It, in my opinion, needs to pass to be able to maintain the level of excellence that our schools have been able to achieve over the last several years."

Neuville says he does not support the referendum, citing fiscal responsibility as a key part of his platform. He also says this:

"I talk about traditional De Pere values. That's a big part of my platform. And really, what that means is it's Midwestern values. It's not West Coast, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, progressive values.

Hemauer says the district needs "accountable and accessible leadership."

"We want to provide a classroom where your best learners can learn, where teachers can teach, can share their passion — and remove the rest of the noise that goes on these days," he said. "So the district can be the best that it can be."

Beyond the operational referendum, each candidate says the idea of a capital referendum to build a new high school needs more discussion.

Petersen — the incumbent — says he wants the community to have a voice in conversation.

"In the long term, I do believe we are going to need to build a new school to meet the needs of many new students coming into the district," he said. "But I think where that school goes, and what kind of school it is, is all to be determined by the community."

Election day is next Tuesday — polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.