Milroy school board candidate: Angie Orren
Why are you running for school board?
While attending a Truth and Taxation meeting, I specifically asked the current members if they knew when the Charter School closed what this was going to do to our taxes? No current member would look at me and no one answered my question. It was then that I decided I needed to be more active in what was happening in the school and that the community deserved to have a say. A 10-year referendum is a long time to go without the ability to ask, “Is this right?” “Is this best for the students?” “Is this best for the community?”
From your perspective, what is the role of a school board member?
To represent the community, make decisions to assure our students are getting a quality education. A school board member needs to be open and willing to communicate with the community, open to new ideas and perspectives. Be objective, willing to listen and compromise.
How would you as a school board member balance fiscal responsibility and ensuring students receive the services they need?
Milroy is in a very unique situation where we have $900,000 reserve in the bank and a 10 year referendum where they can ask for the maximum level amount. So I think the emphasis needs to be on what are we doing to assure quality. Milroy’s students deserve better than what they are getting. Data from Minnesota Report Card shows that 46.2% of the school is at reading achievement, state average is 58.2%. Math 50% of the Milroy students and 53.8% is the state average. I think we need to assure that we have the money available for our aging building but also look at is that fiscally possible. I think we need to assure the money is going to programs to get our students exceeding. Reading is the passport to everything. I believe our emphasis needs to be on what is best for the students. With the small class sizes with 37 students in K-6 with 5 teachers that is an average of 7.4 kids per teacher. That does not include the support staff or a full time Special Education teacher. I think individualized instructions, and working with students to increase and maximize their ability should be an expectation of parents and community members.
What do you think is the Milroy School District’s greatest asset? How would you as a school board member best utilize that asset?
Milroys school’s greatest asset is the community that has given them the resources with referendums in the past that gives the school great resources and flexibility. I think we owe it to the students to assure that they are getting a quality education. I hear stories of students having to work to get to grade level when they are moving on. We need to set our students up to succeed. We need to assure that each student is encouraged to be his or her best. With classroom sizes as they are, I believe it gives lots of flexibility. Again, our greatest asset is the support of the community and approving maximum levy for 10 years. How will I best utilize that asset is to work with the community? Do we need to have a $900,000 reserve in checking? I am aware the school can ask for the maximum levy but is that appropriate for the viability of the school and the sustainability of our community. How would you work to collaborate with other units of government at the local, state and federal level? I think working with other units of governments is necessary in any role. We need to collaborate and work towards the best for our community. I welcome learning how the units of government work together.
What would you envision as the future of the Milroy School District?
What I see for the Milroy School District is up to the community of Milroy. I feel that many different options can happen. If elected I believe you can see an increase in accountability at all levels in the school. I will ask and expect teachers and support staff to hold each other accountable to better the outcomes for the student. I also believe that this vote is important if the School District Voters want change and want transparency than a unanimous vote for Brian, Mary Ellen and myself is your ticket to a School Board that will listen to the majority of voters to look at the viability of our school.
Other than the above topics, what do you think is the school district’s most important issue that needs to be addressed? How would you work to resolve it?
I think the community needs the opportunity to know how much money it is taking to keep the school open, what the costs are to maintain the school currently and projected in the future. We have an old building, what is it going to take? I would work with the community giving them the option to have their say in what they want for the future of the school.
Please provide a brief bio of yourself.
I am a 1986 Graduate of Milroy Public School. I have an AS degree from Presentation College and a BS Degree in Elementary Education from SMSU. My husband Jeff and I have two adult sons, Austin and Jacob. I have worked in the Human Services field most of my adult life and in the past 19 years have been with Southwest Health and Human Services as a Case Manager for Disabled Adults. With my current job, I authorize the expenditures of large sums of taxpayer’s money, having to ask, “is it a responsible and cost effective use of tax payer funds.” In my free time, you will find me hanging out with my family, reading, watching the Hallmark channel or sporting events.