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ELECTION 2022 | School board races

Primary needed for La Crosse School Board race, other area school boards could see turnover

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After a tumultuous year for school boards, candidates have been finalized to run for a number of open seats on area boards this spring, and some may see some turnover.

The La Crosse Board of Education in particular has eight candidates vying for its three openings this spring, and will require a primary to narrow the race down.

The board’s current president, Juan Jimenez, and clerk Dawn Comeau are the incumbents running for re-election. Pelli Lee, the other board member whose term expires this year, will not run for the board again, and instead is a candidate for the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors.

This spring election comes after school boards have taken a lot of heat in the -past year — nationally and locally — over masking in schools, curriculum and more, which may mean more competitive races this time around and fewer incumbents returning.

In Holmen, there was major debate last fall over masks in schools, even prompting the creation of a Facebook group that was intended to show for support board members who faced pushback.

One of two incumbents up for re-election on the Holmen Board of Education this year, Anita Jagodzinski, will not seek another term. Vice president Rebecca Rieber will run to keep her seat, and three newcomers are throwing their hats in the ring to try and snag the two seats available.

But not every board is seeing a rush of new faces interested in the job. In Onalaska and West Salem only one newcomer is running for a seat, and the remainder are incumbents.

One current West Salem Board of Education member, Ken Schlimgen, will not seek another term and, like La Crosse’s Lee, is instead running for the La Crosse County Board.

Almost all of the Onalaska Board of Education leadership team is up for re-election this year and each incumbent is seeking another term. The school district's website previously listed another incumbent as a candidate, but he is not yet up for reelection.

Most of the area school board races will not require a primary because of the number of candidates in the running and will instead appear only on the April 5 ballot this spring. For more voting information, visit MyVote.wi.gov.

Here is a list of candidates running for area school boards:

La Crosse Board of Education

A Feb. 15 primary will be held for the race to fill three spots on the La Crosse Board of Education. These seats have three-year terms.

  • Katie Berkedal
  • Dawn Comeau (i)
  • Merideth Garcia
  • Juan F. Jimenez (i)
  • Kimberly Krejchik
  • Mary LaMothe
  • Kent Stein
  • Jake Williams

Onalaska Board of Education

This race will appear on the April 5 ballot. There are three seats open and members serve three-year terms.

  • Ann Garrity (i)
  • Brian Haefs (i)
  • Shawn McAlister (i)
  • Erik Archer

Holmen Board of Education

This race will appear on the April 5 ballot. There are two seats open and members serve three-year terms.

  • Barbara Wuensch
  • Chad Updike
  • Josh Neumann
  • Rebecca Rieber (i)

West Salem Board of Education

This race will appear on the April 5 ballot. There are three seats open and members serve three-year terms.

  • Tom Grosskopf (i)
  • Bob Minard
  • Sean Gavaghan (i)

This story was corrected on Jan. 10, changing the candidates running for the Onalaska Board of Education after the school district had originally listed them incorrectly on its website.

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