Twin Bridges is the only school district in Madison County holding a formal election for trustees this election season—the candidates in other districts are running unopposed. On Wednesday, April 30, the Twin Bridges Schools hosted a question and answer forum so community members, teachers and students could learn more about the three candidates running for two open seats.
Lori Harshbarger, Randy Lowder and Gary Konen all have school board experience—Harshbarger currently serves on the Twin Bridges board, Lowder was a previous board member and Konen served as a board member in Whitehall. Two will be elected as Twin Bridges trustees at the May 6 election.
Current chairman Dave Ashcraft posed a set list of questions to the candidates, rotating through all three so each had an opportunity to answer. Approximately 15 community members, teachers and students were in attendance.
Harshbarger cited her 20 years of experience as an attorney as a qualifying skill.
“Policy is law,” she said. “[The board] deals with policy… someone with law knowledge is a benefit.”
Lowder served as a trustee on the Twin Bridges School Board for 12 1/2 years—in 1996 he completed another trustee’s unfinished term and then served until 2009.
“This is a job and sometimes it’s thankless,” Lowder said, explaining he has thick skin and is able to work with the community. “At the end of the day it’s all about the kids—the teachers and support staff too, but really about the kids.”
Konen, a parent of five, said he is familiar with the Twin Bridges district and after he received a degree in education he taught for a short time in a facility for troubled youth.
“I have a good relationship currently with all the people in the walls of this school,” he said.
Ashcraft questioned the candidates about what they consider the major issues facing the school in the future.
“The big one is budget,” Konen said. “We want the highest quality education for our students while living within our means.”
Harshbarger agreed with Konen but also brought up the “digital world.”
“Upgrading our digital equipment without breaking the bank [is difficult],” she said. “I see that as a real concern.”
Lowder emphasized Harshbarger’s point about the potential future issues with technology, but focused on fiscal responsibility.
“Taking care of the needs of the staff while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers,” he said, defining what he understands to be the board’s biggest upcoming issue.
Constituents have until Tuesday, May 6 to decide which candidate to vote for. The polls open at noon and close at 8 p.m. on May 6 and are located at Twin Bridges High School.