Argyle School Board
There are five candidates, Keith Ritschard, Loren Bruehlman, Peter Herman, Stanton Bigelow and Lee Montgomery, running for four spots on the Argyle school board. Ritschard, Bruehlman, Montgomery and Bigelow are incumbents.
City/town of residence: Argyle
Family: Married with four children. Wife Marjorie and daughter Beth both graduated from Argyle High School. We also have two international exchange students living with us for the remainder of this school year.
Education: BA from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI in Russian history
Occupation: Retired from the US Foreign Service in 2006 where I worked in American embassies overseas as a Management Officer. Also in that capacity, I was involved in oversight of international schools established for the education of children of U.S. diplomats as well as children of the other international diplomats.
Previous elected positions held: Elected twice to the Board of Education in 2009 and 2012.
What are the top issues facing this district/municipality and how would you work to resolve it?
Last fall, The Monroe Times reported that Argyle had the highest average ACT scores in Lafayette County. We are pleased with these results and will continue to work towards academic excellence. And we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish with Project Lead the Way - an engineering-focused program that we have added to our curriculum that extends from elementary school now up through middle school.
Most of the issues that Argyle school district faces emanate from Madison. Not only has school funding been reduced in the last several years, but further reductions are projected in the biennial budget currently being discussed in Madison. And additional requirements come from Madison with no increase in funding. For example, there is a new teacher evaluation system mandated by Madison that significantly increases the amount of time supervisors need to complete the evaluations. The new system appears to be an improvement over what we had been doing. However, the new requirements came with no additional funding.
Most smaller, rural school districts in Wisconsin have these same issues. However, school districts cannot solve funding issues independently. All we can do is to try to educate the citizens of our district as best we can in concert with other school districts to try achieve a reversal some of educational policies and funding reductions coming out of Madison. All rural areas of Wisconsin need healthy, vibrant schools in their own communities.
What are other key issues facing the district/municipality, and how would you work to resolve them?
Why are you the best candidate for this office?
My previous two terms of experience on the Argyle school board, as well as my international school experience, allow me to make contributions to the functioning and operation of the board.