Letter to the editor: Support Muellenberg and Keith on April 5

By JEREMY MACK | Ontario

N-O-W stakeholders,

My name is Jeremy Mack. I have been a homeowner in Ontario for the past eight years and am a life-long resident and 2003 graduate of the N-O-W School District. In addition, I have taught high school mathematics at Brookwood for the past 11 years. In that time, I’ve served the students and members of this community as not only a teacher, but as a football coach, basketball coach, volunteer in youth athletics, and member of several committees. 

Outside of the school, I’ve volunteered at The Well Youth Ministry, taken part in community fundraisers, and my family and I have spent time at several area churches. Throughout those experiences, I’ve met and become acquaintances, or, in many cases, friends with so many people in our communities. I consider myself a very proud and invested member of the village of Ontario and the N-O-W family! With that in mind, I feel compelled to voice my support for Matt Muellenberg and Cari Keith in the race for the N-O-W School Board open positions. 

Watching the public forum on March 21 was very interesting, to say the least. Challenger to the incumbents, Anna Allison’s “responses” to the questions posed were littered with dangerous misinformation, mis-leadings, and fallacies. I put responses in quotes because anyone watching the forum, live or online, could likely tell that Mrs. Allison’s meandering responses were focused much more on dropping buzzwords, catchphrases, and pointed topics rather than actually addressing what had been asked. 

Much of what Mrs. Allison said points considerably to her lack of understanding of how public education works and is funded. Her cavalier approach to thinking that we can do as we please with no recourse in the form of funds or penalties is dramatically flawed and dangerous. 

In addition, her implications of several things were misleading and/or outright falsehoods; case in point, her assertion that our declining enrollment is due to an increase in students being school-choiced out of the district at a higher rate than in the past. She went on to argue that she has information that this is the result of lack of communication between school board and community members. And yet, Mr. Muellenberg was able to point out that our open enrollment numbers remain fairly balanced between in and out and that our numbers have remained steady for quite some time; our decline in numbers, instead, is the result of fewer school-age children living in our district than in the past. Which makes logical sense as area farms continue to fall off with little to no new businesses opening to offer employment in their place. It begs the question, does Mrs. Allison have insider information that actually represents what many are thinking, or is she just speculating and generalizing a conversation that she’s having within her group of supporters?

I could continue but won’t. I DON’T believe Mrs. Allison to be a bad person, nor am I questioning her intent to do good in this world. I am, however, concerned about her level of experience and understanding of the public education system and the impact that her political standings could have on her decision making as an elected official in our school district. Once again, I urge everyone to strongly consider casting their votes for Matt Muellenberg and Cari Keith on April 5. The N-O-W School District has positive direction and forward momentum like never before! Starting at the board level and working on down through the administration, teaching and support staff, and most importantly the students. Let’s keep things moving in the right direction!

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