NEW ULM - Rebecca Fliszar would like to represent the entire community, not just parts of it, if elected to the District 88 School Board.
Fliszar is one of eight candidates running for four seats on the board.
"My interest in running for school board is based on the need for the entire community to become involved and support out public school system," the candidate says.
"Our schools, teachers and students affect the quality of our entire community; because tax dollars from all residents are required to support out schools, it is important for our entire population to have representation on our school board."
Rebecca (Gag) Fliszar grew up in New Ulm and graduated from New Ulm Catholic Schools.
"Growing up and graduating high school at New Ulm Cathedral affords me the perspective of student, parent and community member for District 88," Fliszar says.
Fliszar earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota, with a follow-on degree from the University of Texas Pan-America. She served in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years and has been a registered dietician for 13 years. She is currently employed by Allina Health Systems as a community intervention dietician for the Heart of New Ulm Project.
Fliszar is a graduate of the Minnesota Excellence in Service program, which provides her with additional experience in public policy, government functioning, and leadership in public service, the candidate says.
"My commitment to our community, along with my extensive background in leadership and community engagement, makes me an excellent candidate for school board," says Fliszar.
Fliszar has four children; one attends New Ulm Public High School, and three attend New Ulm Area Catholic Schools.
Fliszar says that volunteerism, children's activities and her role as the community dietician for the Heart of New Ulm allow her to interact with a variety of community members on a frequent basis.
"I believe that it is through these conversations and availability that I am a good fit for a school board member; I am available and willing to listen to the concerns and opinions of a broad spectrum of community members."
Asked what she needs to learn more about in order to be effective in her service, Fliszar says she is "looking forward to better understanding local government aid funding standards."
"State funding to schools is dollars that we as tax payers have already paid into the state, and I feel that a more balanced amount needs to be returned to out-state school districts to help fund the rural education system," explains Fliszar.
Fliszar identifies the high quality of teachers, the level of engagement of many parents, and opportunities that are currently in place for students, as the main strengths of the local school district.
"District 88 continues to meet and exceed the educational standards set by the state of Minnesota," the candidate adds.
Fliszar believes the district can improve on identifying those teachers who excel both in and out of the classroom.
"Rewarding these teachers for their efforts is essential to keeping these high-quality professionals in our district," says Fliszar.
The main issues facing the district are future funding, parent engagement, and maintaining quality facilities, says Fliszar.
"Maintaining the services and opportunities for all students in our district, ensuring that tax dollars are maximized to yield the greatest return for our tax payers, and ensuring our students are provided current technology tools are essential to the future of our school district," says Fliszar.
Budget challenges need to be addressed via a "full community approach," says Fliszar.
"While immediate cuts may be necessary, long-term investments still must be made," she goes on to say. "Facilities upgrades, technology and extended class offerings must be examined to ensure opportunities for future students."
Fliszar believes school offerings can be enriched through utilization of local professionals, technical training and better cooperation among multiple schools.
Other views shared by the candidate:
On a proposed new local tax levy:
Fliszar supports the levy and also believes the school district should look for outside funding sources (such as grants). When allocating any new funding, she would prioritize class size reduction and course offering increases.
On selling the former middle school and addressing the space needs of the district:
Fliszar believes the district should weigh current utility costs versus rents, and consider partial space sales.
On a newly-instituted six-period day at the high school:
The six-period day appears to be beneficial to students because it allows for more interaction with their teachers, according to Fliszar.
On potential cuts in the all-day, every-day kindergarten program:
Fliszar believes the district may need to look at small fees to maintain current programming.
Asked about issues of more personal interest, as pertaining to school board service, Fliszar identifies "creating a positive morale, increasing community pride and awareness, and making sure students and schools are giving back to the community."