North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district race draws five candidatesA total of five candidates will square off to fill four seats on Nov. 6. The candidates for District 622 School Board are: incumbents Nancy Livingston, Steve Hunt and Theresa Auge’ and challengers Rich Bennett and Becky Neve.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
The stage is set for the District 622 School Board race.
A total of five candidates will square off to fill four seats on Nov. 6.
The candidates for District 622 School Board are: incumbents Nancy Livingston, Steve Hunt and Theresa Auge’ and challengers Rich Bennett and Becky Neve.
One of the School Board seats is open since current School Board Member Pam Cunningham is a candidate for House District 53A.
Bennett, who lives in Maplewood, was a 2010 candidate for District 622 School Board.
He said he decided to run again this year because he is still displeased.
“I am running because the district isn't responding to the needs of the children in the district,” he said.
Bennett’s major concern is the district’s response to pressure under No Child Left Behind.
For instance, a new principal was brought on at Carver Elementary, Bennett said, thus helping the school to improve its score significantly.
However, several other schools within District 622 continue to perform well below expectations, Bennett said.
“Why didn’t the schools at the northern end of the district get the same attention,” he said. “I want all the schools to benchmark each other and good schools in other districts so we can provide an excellent education to all students.
“Remember, we are here with one goal – to educate the students.”
Neve, who lives in Maplewood, said she’s running because she has been heavily involved with the schools as a parent and would like to continue her involvement.
“I’m very passionate about ensuring that all our children have an opportunity to learn and reach their highest potential,” she said.
Currently, Neve said she doesn’t have any specific concerns relating to District 622, however she would like to see the district continue on its current path.
Neve said she feels her viewpoint as a parent would benefit the School Board.
“I have a different insight into how the schools are functioning,” she said.
Livingston, of North St. Paul, is currently serving her 13th year on District 622 School Board, and said she wants to continue her work with the board.
“I just think standing up for public education is the most important thing we can do,” she said. “I’ve been on the board long enough to know how important this work is.
“I want to continue to support all the good people who are working so hard for our district.”
Livingston said she wants to address the achievement gaps between white students and students of color and work to identify struggling students early.
“Not all students learn at the same rate,” she said. “We need to look at this idea of individualized learning so that we are providing whatever we can to keep each and every student moving ahead.”
Auge’ and Hunt did not respond in time for the Bulletin’s press deadline.