Four candidates seeking two seats on Lindbergh school board discuss issues facing district

By BURKE WASSON

Four candidates in pursuit of two seats on the Lindbergh Board of Education in Tuesday’s election took time out last week to answer questions from the public during a forum at Lindbergh High School.

Janine Fabick, Board of Education Vice President Kenneth Fey, Bill Klostermann and Rebecca Soeder participated in the March 20 forum, which was moderated by Board of Education President Mark Rudoff.

Barry Cooper did not file for election. He was appointed to the board last spring after Drew Walk resigned. Cooper previously had served two three-year terms.

Fabick, 46, 33 Maclane Court, 63127, works as a homemaker and also spent 20 years as a certified public accountant for Schowalter & Jabouri. She and her husband, Bob, have two children who attend Lindbergh schools. She is making her first run for elective office.

Fey, 49, 40 Concord Lane, 63128, is employed as corporate controller for the Hager Cos. He and his wife, Marsha, have three children — two who attend Lindbergh schools and a son who graduated from Lindbergh High School in 2002 and is now a senior at Webster University. Fey is seeking election to a second term and is the only incumbent running in Tuesday’s election.

Klostermann, 65, 10712 Wrenfield Drive, Apt. B, 63123, is the owner of Environmental Equipment Specialists. His adult children attended Lindbergh schools, a grandson graduated from Lindbergh High School last year and three grandsons attend Lindbergh schools. He is seeking elective office for the first time.

Soeder, 30, 9624 Antigo Drive, 63123, works as an attorney with the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court. She and her husband, Jack, have a son who attends a Lindbergh school. Soeder is also running for elective office for the first time.

While the candidates generally agreed on each question posed to them, they discussed their plans for several key issues, including working to improve community relations, budget cuts and state assessment testing.

Regarding a question about teaching abstinence as the only form of sex education in Lindbergh schools, Fabick strayed from the rest of her fellow candidates by simply saying: “Yes.”

Soeder, Klostermann and Fey responded that while they see abstinence as the most effective method of sex education from a moral standpoint, they also believe that further education should be taught to Lindbergh students.

“I’d be fooling myself to think that all the students would adhere to abstinence,” Fey said. “I believe you have to have some education for folks who need or want that to that extent and reach out to those in need. We have to be smart. Abstinence is what I preach. But again, being from public education, you must help and educate all the folks.”

Candidates also shared their opinions on what they believe is the best method to develop community involvement with the Lindbergh School District.

Soeder said she believes community involvement would be more effectively implemented at the individual school level than by the district as a whole.

Klostermann proposes bringing more business involvement into the Lindbergh district and advancing advertisement strategies concerning the district.

Fey said he believes parent groups are the most effective way of fostering community involvement with the district because they are gauged toward the district hearing ideas from its residents.

Fabick said that as a board member, she would push the district’s public relations department to work well with local newspapers and media.

“The district does a very good job of disseminating information to the public,” Fabick said. “I do think it’s important for the community to know what’s going on in their district, and getting information from local newspapers is really the only way of doing that.”

When the candidates were asked to grapple with the question of budget cuts, each agreed that the last place they would propose funding slashes would be in the classrooms.

Klostermann said that besides keeping classroom learning viable, he would refrain from making any cuts to teaching positions and administrative staff.

“I think you have to be extremely careful,” Klostermann said. “As soon as you cut, you cut not only funds, but availability. And I wouldn’t attempt that.”

Fey said as a board member, he has tried to move toward consolidation of resources when money is tight rather than cutting programs, positions or resources altogether.

Fabick said she believes when it comes to budget cuts, the Lindbergh School District has been run more efficiently than most other districts in the area and that she does not foresee the need for many. If needed, however, she said she would keep cuts furthest from the classroom.

Soeder said while she also would like to see potential budget cuts start as far from the classroom as possible, she would most likely look at spaces in schools that haven’t been used to full potential and creatively cut or consolidate from there.

Regarding state assessment testing, the candidates agreed that they would support replacing Missouri Assessment Program testing with the ACT test at the high school level.

“It’s a very interesting idea,” Soeder said. “Students are more motivated to do better on the ACT than the MAP because they’re trying to go to college. Right now, 75 percent of high school students take the ACT. I think it’s more accurate.”