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Klatt: School board can improve communication

Editor’s note: This is the first of several stories about local candidates for public office.

Dave Klatt

 

A local insurance agent is hoping to double his time spent on the Albert Lea School Board.

Currently serving as vice chairman in his first term on the school board, Dave Klatt said his approachable demeanor and support for the community as a whole make him a good fit to return to a board position with Albert Lea Area Schools.

Klatt said the biggest challenge facing the school board is increasing the district’s kindergarten readiness. The district’s goal is to have 70 percent of students coming in kindergarten-ready. He cited improvement in graduation rates, the teacher-to-student ratio and the recent Austin and Albert Lea Special Education Cooperative as areas of success for the district.

Klatt said the school board monitors state testing performances and classroom rigor. Elementary schools are instigating personnel shifts and curriculum updates to better student achievement.

“Our teachers continue to find new ways to reach each of our students, which I believe will pay dividends in higher achieving test scores by our students,” Klatt said.

Though Klatt did not state any future plans for addressing the needs of students living near the poverty line, he did note the addition of a summer free lunch program a few years ago, as well as the addition of elementary school counselors last year as examples of ways the school board is working to meet those needs.

On the school board itself, Klatt said a focal point needs to be working together.

“The biggest hurdle (to) all boards, specifically our school board needs to focus on, is communication and cooperation,” Klatt said. “This will help all of us ‘work together’ better as long as each member is committed to this program. We need to discuss problem situations prior to a board meeting so if there is outside research needed to answer our concerns we can have them addressed at our meetings.”

He put attracting and retaining teachers on the list of things the district is doing well.

“We have to understand that not (everyone’s) first job as a teacher or administrator is necessarily their ‘one and only’ job, and certain circumstances may cause a very good teacher to leave our district,” Klatt said. He encouraged the district to continue offering competitive benefit packages and salary ranges and a district supportive of staff needs, including continuing education opportunities and smaller class sizes, which Klatt said allows teachers to be creative in educating students well.

Klatt also cited good facilities to work in as a draw for teachers. He said the district has been doing a good job maintaining what it has.

“The (long-term) facilities maintenance plan that has been developed by our district addresses the needs of our buildings and now with the recent passage of our local referendum, we will be adding a much overdue upgrade for our Halverson school and Hammer Field complex,” Klatt said. “…The new facilities will also add (a) new economic impact to our community with numerous outside activities.”

Klatt owns a State Farm Insurance office in town, is a coach and has raised three children. He has been an Albert Lea community member for 23 years. He was elected as one of seven statewide board members for the Minnesota School Board Association Insurance Trust board.

“I will be your voice for the most important resource we have, our children,” Klatt said.

School board members will be elected Nov. 6. There are four seats to fill.

 

Dave Klatt will face off against Brian Anderson, Mark Ciota, Dennis Dieser, Jill Marin, Kim Nelson and  Kalli Rittenhouse. See Anderson’s Tribune election profile here. See Ciota’s Tribune election profile here. See Marin’s Tribune election profile here. See Rittenhouse’s Tribune election profile here. See Nelson’s Tribune election profile here. See Dieser’s Tribune election profile here.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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