Jorgensen, Maassel win new terms on school board

2013-06-24T19:43:00Z 2013-06-24T21:26:22Z Jorgensen, Maassel win new terms on school boardBy Phil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | The selection of the City Council's appointee to the Valparaiso School Board was accomplished Monday without the anger of the Center Township Board's appointment to the board last week.

The results were similar in that incumbents Mark Maassel was reappointed by the township board over two other candidates, Stephen Cronk and Debra Fray, while Jim Jorgensen received another four-year term from the council against one other candidate, Joesph Espinosa.

Following the township appointment, some of those seeking to change the board to an elected rather than appointed body voiced disapproval. Only three residents attended Monday's special council meeting, and though the meeting was specifically for the public to ask questions of the candidates, no questions were received.

Instead, Jorgensen and Espinosa were given a chance to make a final statement before the council made its selection. Espinosa said the schools could deal with their recent budget shortfall by issuing bonds. He said he would even buy them and maybe the councilmen would too.

To provide greater security in the schools, he said an employee could be trained and armed with a Taser or tranquilizer gun. He also said the board needs to hear more from the parents of students by getting out into the community, and it needs to reach out to the neighborhoods.

Jorgensen said the past four years were remarkable, filled with challenges and opportunities "many of which we wouldn't have foreseen four years ago." He said the budget was balanced, full-day kindergarten started and the schools are in a solid position heading into the future.

For the next four years, Jorgensen said the board needs to complete a facilities study, stabilize the finances, find a way to help the 12 percent who fail to meet the state's testing standards and make sure all students, whether career or college bound, are prepared for their path.

After the vote, Jorgensen said he wanted to hear Espinosa's ideas and offered to take him out for coffee. Espinosa said he is a novice at the process of seeking office.

"There are a lot of things that have to be addressed for the children," Espinosa said. "From preschool through high school we need to make sure they get the proper education. Some are falling through the cracks."

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