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Monroe's Larry Eakins honored for 30 years on school board
Monroe school board treasurer Larry Eakins was recognized for his 30 years served on the board at the 2014 Joint State Education Convention this week in Milwaukee. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
MONROE - Monroe school board treasurer Larry Eakins was honored for 30 years of service to public education at the 2014 Joint State School Board Convention in Milwaukee, Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Eakins, who owns a farm southeast of Monroe, was first appointed to the Monroe school board in 1983. He then ran for election the following year and lost. In 1985 he ran again and won, and has been a staple on the board ever since.

Eakins said his eldest child graduated in 1986 and his youngest in 1992, but he kept working on the school board out of a sense of civic duty to spend taxpayers' money wisely.

It wasn't always easy to budget his time between working on the farm and tending to school board business. He used to raise beef cattle and pigs, which required a lot of work before school board. But, Eakins said, "when you commit to doing something like this, you make the time." He now farms grain, which gives him more freedom to work on the board.

Eakins said the productive school board members are the reason he has stayed on the board for so many years.

"If it would have been a fight every night, I probably wouldn't have done it this long," he said.

Eakins will be running for re-election this April. There are three seats open and four people running.

"I decided a long time ago that if folks think I've got what it takes, then I will continue on," Eakins said.

Over the years, Eakins has earned the respect of constituents and colleagues alike.

Ron Olson, business administrator for the Monroe School District, said he has known Eakins for eight years and considers him an invaluable asset to the school board.

"He has either seen or experienced any problem we could come across," Olson said. "He really has the history and perspective that time brings."

Cory Hirsbrunner, district superintendent, said in an email she values Eakins' devotion to education.

"His focus on students, finances and the district as a whole are much appreciated," she said.

Eakins said he has worked hard to return a balance to school funds since running a deficit in 2005. The board now has a maintained fund balance and Eakins said he hopes to keep it that way, if re-elected.

The annual school board convention, which began Tuesday, Jan. 21, features speakers, workshops and will have a trade show atmosphere, Eakins said.