Bos, Reynolds, Thaden, Barnes win Willmar School Board seats
WILLMAR – Justin Bos, Mike Reynolds, Scott Thaden and Tammy Barnes were elected to four-year terms on the Willmar School Board Tuesday.
Jackie Saulsbury and Brian Kath were not elected in the race where six candidates were running for four seats on the board. All members of the School Board are elected at large.
Vote totals were Bos, 6,352 votes; Reynolds, 5,907 votes; Thaden, 5,509 votes; Barnes, 5,294 votes; Saulsbury, 5,022 votes; and Kath, 4,454 votes. 32,656 people cast ballots for School Board.
Bos, Reynolds and Saulsbury are incumbents on the board. Bos was elected in a special election in May. Reynolds served on the board from 1992 to 2003 and was elected again in 2008. Saulsbury was elected in 2012. One incumbent board member, Liz VanDerBill, did not file for re-election.
One of the major issues in the campaign was the ongoing teacher contract negotiations. The School Board and Education Minnesota-Willmar have been negotiating since April 2015 on a contract which was scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2015.
The School Board held a closed meeting, as allowed by state law, to discuss negotiating strategy last week. The purpose was to be prepared for negotiations when they resume, Superintendent Jeff Holm said after the meeting.
The last meeting between the two sides was in mid-September.
The union had promoted its preferred candidates in advertising and on Facebook in the weeks before the election.
Other issues candidates brought up during the campaign included working with the district’s need for more state funding, closing the achievement gap, keeping class sizes manageable and watching over the school district’s construction program.
Voters approved a $52.35 million bond issue in May 2015, and construction is under way on additions at Willmar Middle School and Senior High School. A new elementary school is being built in southeastern Willmar.
Barnes is a union representative for Education Minnesota’s Willmar office.
Bos is a funeral director at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar.
Kath is operations manager at West Central Steel of Willmar.
Reynolds is area manager for Newpark Mats and Integrated Services.
Saulsbury is a registered nurse/public health nurse Supporting Hands Nurse-Family Partnership in Kandiyohi County.
Thaden is an agriculturalist at Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative at Renville.