Educated Guess: The 2022 School Board Election


Wentzville School District

List of the candidates on the ballot for the school board election on April 5th.

   On March 29th students and voters alike were able to experience the future of what the Wentzville School District could look like. A week before Tuesday’s school board election a student-led town hall took place to get a glimpse of potential school board members. 5 potential board members attempted to make them stand out from the pack. And two seasoned veterans trying to maintain their seats. With two seats up for grabs and seven candidates vying for it, a combination of student and parent questions gave more insight to the candidates wanting to cement their place on the school board.Six members attended with current board member and  current seat holder Sandy Garber could not attend. If elected each member gets a four year term and the power of making significant changes to the school district wide. Many great candidates are on the ballot this year but only two can walk away with a seat.


   The first issue brought up at the town hall was the work environment teachers in the district are in right now. Candidate Julie Scott argued that the current board has done an adequate job of collaborating with staff in the search for a new superintendent, but that the collaboration should be further expanded. Along with many of the other candidates many of them thought the district had fallen short in certain areas regarding board-to-staff collaboration. Another message was the growing collaborative and positive working environment for the staff with candidate John Kaelin reinforcing his idea of educator support being a top priority, suggesting that “the chief challenge that I’ve heard is changing the culture of the district from one where teachers feel mistrusted to one where they are empowered to teach”. With bullying being a major cause for concern, J.J. SuftKo called for a “back to basics” approach to creating a positive learning environment, with acts of violence being unreported. Also going off of the improving working environment in the district. Suftko proposed “ developing a measurable plan and strategy on attracting and retaining all district employees” according to his bio page. 


   After the district received backlash received from the district banning the novel “The Bluest Eye” in libraries in the district, the question was brought up of what makes a book academically viable. There was a stark divide between those who thought the book was not academically viable and should not be retained, and those who thought because the book is difficult to stomach it makes it essential for students to grow as people. As a member of the board who supported the books removal from district shelves, 15 year board member Dale Schaper argued at the town hall that “oppression is still here today, but I did not feel that the book was proper form our libraries and should not be retained”.  Katie Lyczak deviated from that opinion saying it is up to the parents’ choice and not the district. On the opposite side of the aisle, the book was deemed necessary to help students understand such a difficult issue. Donald Looney Jr, who ran last election for the school board argued that it helps better understand the “inherited traumas” of African Americans to those students who would never have to experience that kind of discrimination. The book is still in shelves in the district after the board voted to retain it in libraries. 


   All of these candidates will be on the ballot on Tuesday April 5th. All registered voters before the registration deadline will be able to participate at their designated polling place. Absentee voting will be available during this election. With only 2 seats up for grabs makes this a highly close race. More information can be found by watching the full town hall video on Liberty High School Publications’ YouTube channel or by going to their bio pages on the WSD website.