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Olmsted: Return to traditional school grades

  • Editor's note: This interview is part of a series of School Board candidate Q&As. Find the other candidates here.

Brett OlmstedBrett Olmsted

Age: 25

Address: 4224 Griffin St.

Occupation: sales associate at Red Wing Chevrolet

Education: Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Family: wife Kait and two kids, Gwen (2) and Kane (1)

Civic involvement: Visiting veterans at nursing homes, participating in Support our Troops by distributing care packages.

What is the biggest issue facing Red Wing Public Schools right now? How should the district address it?

The biggest issue schools are facing right now is the overcrowding, followed by not being the traditional K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grades.

It puts a divide to the city as well as a hardship on families when it comes to the amount of commuting getting their children to and from different schools, as well as the strain on the bus company having longer routes.

This issue should be addressed by converting the schools back to the traditional grade set up, as well as adding a third elementary school to eliminate the overcrowded classrooms.

What are the strengths of the school district? How can we build upon it?

The teachers!

From what I have noticed, the teachers are very dedicated and eager towards each and every student. Our teachers should be the school district’s highest priority because they are some of the most influential role models in our children’s lives.

And to continue to grow on this strength, our teachers should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Their input should be one of high priority.

What skills or abilities would you bring to the board? How have you prepared yourself to understand school operations and budgeting?

I bring diversity to the School Board.

Being a parent of young children, I’d like to see change before my kids get into school.

Being a current officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, I am accustomed to policies and procedures, fairness and being a voice for a group. I have done a wide variety of research on grants and have been through a districtwide remodel through non-profit organizational grants. My main goal is to have the proper structure and space for our children and teachers to be able to teach and learn properly.

Describe your approach to resolving a disagreement with another board member over an item on the agenda.

Resolving a disagreement with a fellow board member on an agenda doesn’t come easy. It all needs to start with effective lines of communication, understanding, making sure there is clarity on both parties and stance. Being able to compromise is the new key to success. Every board member comes with a different stance and agenda, so everyone’s voice is valuable.

What should the district do with the vacant Jefferson School?

The district should see what it would cost to get the vacant school back up to code or working order and have it be used as the third elementary school by using the fund out of a 501c3 non profit organization where the funds are drawn from pledges from local businesses and not the local taxpayers’ pockets. It is a historic part of our community and should be respected to the fullest by restoring it to its original purpose.