As a longtime resident of Stillwater/Oak Park Heights, I was dismayed to see the former school board member’s endorsement in the Gazette. Some of my fondest memories include watching my children and grandchildren grow and attend Oak Park Elementary School. One of the biggest heartaches I have had is seeing my two youngest grandchildren’s pain when hearing the news that this school would be closed. During Oak Park’s last year, they attended with an impending sense of loss. Then, along with families/children from two other closed schools, they moved out of this cherished neighborhood setting with anxieties they shouldn’t have endured.
Some of the former school board members names go way back with me. Seeing them reminded me of a time when each elementary school had their own cute mascot names and families were happy to merge with those from other sites when children entered the junior highs. We all felt Pony Pride when we raised teens through high school together.
But several of the names are responsible for a plan called BOLD. I never understood it, and I feel that it certainly hasn’t done much good for our district. For that reason, I do not agree with the endorsement. Instead of their chosen candidates, I fully support Mike Ptacek and Sarah Stivland for re-election.
Ptacek opposed the school closings and has become someone I trust. Stivland was voted onto the board because of taxpayers outrage over BOLD. I support the direction she has taken to right what seems like a sunken ship. Tim Brewington would like to be the missing voice for children with special needs in our district, which I regard as highly valuable. Of course, I believe Bill Gilles is correct in wanting Oak Park to be a fully functioning site for children, especially with the now overcrowded classrooms.
Dawn Beavers has worked in education with inclusion of students comprised of special education and general education students from 67 different nationalities. She missed out on the BOLD events, so she will work with unbiased views.
Please join me in voting Brewington, Ptacek, Beavers, Stivland, and Gilles.
Oak Park Heights, Minn.
Paid political endorsement