After a high-profile year for the Hastings School District, filing opened with fresh faces poised to challenge for some of the four openings.
After the first day of filing, two new candidates — Robert Halberg and Andrew Trembath — filed and a third, Becky Kranz Beissel, announced her intent to file , while two incumbents filed. In the last year, the district and the board has faced scrutiny over its handling of head wrestling coach Josh McLay’s employment — he allegedly used donated funds to attend college football games — teacher contract non-renewals and Superintendent Tim Collins’s decision to rescind a request to retire.
Incumbents Lisa Hedin and Russ Rohloff have filed or plan to file, while Peter Blissenbach said he will not refile. The other incumbent , Joe Becker, has yet to decided, but said he hopes to decide soon.
“I do agree that the profile of the district is high right now,” said Hedin in an early July interview. “Maybe there’s somebody that’s been disengaged from the district and this caught their eye.”
The district’s rocky year drove at least one of the new candidates to file.
On Facebook, Kranz Beissel, a parent of three students and critic of Collins, announced she was filing . In her post she wrote that “over the past year, I have become more involved in the happenings of the school district , reaching out to district employees and researching how area districts run their schools.”
She listed two reasons as some of the reasons she planned to file: “allowing community members to have a voice in the district through public forums” and “accountability for all staff and board members.”
Kranz Beissel previously told the Star Gazette at a board meeting that she was ready for new leadership in the district’s superintendent position.
Incumbents decided to refile for a multitude of reasons. Hedin said she is still invested in the board with kids in the district, and brings strong experience and work ethic; while Rohloff said he hopes to oversee the rest of the bond funding projects.
Hedin said that over her tenure everyone has managed to work well despite not always sharing the same opinion.
“We’re all going to bring the best intent, that’s been good all the time,” she said. “We just don’t have board members with negative intent.”
Rohloff acknowledged that the district’s last year had drawn heightened community scrutiny and that there was low morale with that. He said he agreed with community concern over Collin’s retirement.
Despite that, Rohloff said he hoped that the election filings aren’t affected by last year’s events. The board wouldn’t function well if that happened.
“I just want to make sure that everyone plays fair and that there’s no bad feelings,” he said. “I just don’t want to see a battle.”