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Retired teacher, incumbent win Evansville School Board seats

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Gina Duwe
April 3, 2013

— The two winners in the Evansville School Board race both say the district should take another look at starting a 4-year-old kindergarten program.

Retired teacher Sandra Spanton Nelson brought in the most votes with 861 in Tuesday's election, followed by incumbent Eric Busse, who was voted back in with 683 votes.

Former school board member Melissa Hammann received 566 votes while parent Kris Schmidt received 320. Incumbent Nancy Hurley did not seek re-election.

Spanton Nelson, who is a retired Evansville health and physical education teacher, attributed her turnout to voters knowing her because she's lived her whole life in the area.

"I think they trust that having been a teacher, that I can see both sides and make some good decisions," she said.

Addressing the $860,000 shortfall for next year will be her first task, she said.

Administrators presented four plans to fill the gap at last week's school board meeting, but Spanton Nelson said she didn't care for any of them because they involve "cutting a lot of staff and programs."

"We need to look a little further," she said. "There are other areas that haven't been touched that we could look at."

When asked what those might be, she said administration and some programs—"not necessarily the classroom teacher and those programs."

Busse, who has been on the board since 2010, said there's going to be tough reactions to the board's decisions.

He said he thinks more information is needed before making decisions, and he said he'd like to see the district expand by adding new programs and courses.

Evansville is an island among area districts by not having a 4-year-old kindergarten program, he said. Both Busse and Spanton Nelson say they would like to see the district take another look at starting a program.

The board still has one open spot after board member Sharon Skinner recently resigned. The agenda for Monday's regular meeting calls for a discussion on a timeline to fill the seat.



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