South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Five candidates running for three open seats on Lindbergh school board

Editor’s note: The following questionnaire appeared in the March 16 print edition of The Call. This is a developing article — continue to check for additional web-exclusive questions and answers from the candidates.

The race for the Lindbergh Schools Board of Education features five candidates running for three open seats — the seats of Matt Alonzo, Cathy Carlock Lorenz and Christy Watz are up for election. The municipal election is Tuesday, April 4.

The four candidates include incumbents Matt Alonzo and Christy Watz, as well as Andrew Lawson, Paul Leinweber and David Randelman. Randelman unsuccessfully ran for the board in 2022.

Alonzo is a teacher with the Parkway School District. He has been on the Lindbergh Board of Education since 2017 and has three children in the district.

When asked why he is seeking reelection, Alonzo said, “As an incumbent member … I am seeking reelection to continue the work started six years ago.”

Lawson is senior manager at Ameren’s Digital Command Center. He is the father of three children in the district.

When asked why he is seeking public office for the first time, Lawson said, “I want to help continue the great experience my family and I have had at Lindbergh, influence its evolution and continuous improvement, and advocate to ensure every student in the district enjoys the same exceptional experience we have, today and in the future.”

Leinweber works for Hagerman & Company Inc., a software training institute. He has two children, one who graduated from Lindbergh Schools and another in first grade. He has not held public office before.

When asked why he was running, Leinweber said, “restoration of academic excellence.”

Randelman works as a cloud computing architect at RGA. He has one child who graduated from Lindbergh High School and one currently attending LHS.

When asked why he is running, Randelman said, “I believe we need more diverse voices that are for the students and their success along with representing the parents, residents and stake holders that make up our community. I also want to preserve our district’s focus on academics and support for our teachers.”

Watz is a career coach with Christy Watz Coaching and IMPACT Group. She has three children, one in college, one at LHS and one at Sperreng. She has served on the board since 2017.

When asked why she is seeking reelection, Watz said, “I am running to continue to work on safety, bringing the rest of our buildings up to date, and ensure students get a great public education while getting the skills to be successful after graduation.”

The candidates gave the following responses to The Call’s questionnaire:

What issue do you consider the single most important issue in this race?

Alonzo: “Student achievement is always an important issue as it is directly tied to public perception of success … However, student achievement is just one measurement … It is important that the district continues to employ high-quality educators and provide opportunities for students to prepare for success …”

Lawson: “Dignity and inclusion. There are students and families within our district that are struggling to be seen and heard and deserve the same access to excellent education as any student that onto one of our campuses. We cannot expect students to … excel academically if they do not feel safe, seen and respected.”

Leinweber: “Understanding, identifying and agreeing on what ‘academic excellence’ is and then resorting it. Academic excellence should be the primary purpose and goal of any educational institution.”

Randelman: “I have concerns over our elementary and middle school academic performance … we should be targeting an 80 percent proficiency rate in math, science and literacy … However, according to our internal district assessment tools … we are at around 40 to 50 percent … We must do better for our students by providing evidence-based programs … We should also provide more support for our teachers …”

Watz: “Providing a learning environment that students and teachers/staff feel comfortable to learn and work … choosing a candidate … who can balance all of the issues in their deliberations is the most important issue in this race …”

Are you satisfied with the leadership of Superintendent Tony Lake?

Alonzo: “Yes. Dr. Lake has been very well accepted in the district … Teacher morale is the highest it has been since he was hired and teacher retention is no longer an issue in the district.”

Lawson: “I am very satisfied with Dr. Lake’s leadership and believe he has done and will continue to do an excellent job for our district.”

Leinweber: “Dr. Lake has some leadership qualities I can very much respect and admire …”

Randelman: “I perceive Dr. Lake has displayed good leadership when dealing with the need to improve teachers’ benefits and … his management of the pandemic … is commendable. I would like to see more community dialog and conversation being done when drafting up the next five-year strategic goals with … clearly defined measurable goals and a larger portion of community involvement …”

Watz: “Absolutely. Dr. Lake has moved our district forward very quickly in the five years since we have hired him. We have secured entryways … moved up in the competitive rankings of teacher pay, taken a deep dive into finances, and working on student achievement by measuring growth.”

If additional revenue is needed what do you propose?

Alonzo: “One of Dr. Lake’s challenges when first hired was to increase teacher pay and reduce teacher attrition. At the time it was believed the only way to accomplish this was through a tax increase until he was certain that the district was efficiently using all funds available. At the moment, we are able to fund all operations under our current budget. Should the need arise, I am confident the public would support a tax increase.”

Lawson: “I will support the development of additional no-tax-rate-increase bond issues as well as exploring new and creative ways to solve challenges.”

Leinweber: “Let’s … try something new … Consider leasing buildings or field names to local businesses.”

Randelman: “My hope is that with Proposition R we will have the budget for the coming years to improve our existing infrastructure and security needs … With the new higher tax assessment, we should be able to avoid additional taxes unless a special need arises.”

Watz: “In 2024 we are targeting another no-tax-bond issue to make renovations to Truman Middle School … I will support this plan, no-tax-bond issues do not raise taxes and allows us to make upgrades.”

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