Stoughton Area School District voters will choose their top three candidates for school board at the polls Tuesday, April 2.
That race, two in the Town of Rutland and a choice for state Supreme Court are the only contested elections this spring.
Other area races that are uncontested include five City of Stoughton Common Council seats and various town board chairs and supervisors.
Area judicial seats are also uncontested, with Rhonda Lanford running for Dane County Circuit Court and Jennifer Nashold for Court of Appeals judge.
The state Supreme Court race pits two newcomers against each other in Brian Hagedorn and Lisa Neubauer.
Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2.
Stoughton Area School District
The four-person Stoughton Area school board race features three incumbents and one newcomer.
Shawn Rundblade is hoping to take over a seat from incumbents Joe Freye, Yolibeth Rangel-FitzGibbon or Jill Patterson. The top three vote-getters will be elected to three-year terms on the board.
Rundblade, an appliance and television repairman who moved to the district in 2018, wrote in a questionnaire that he “didn’t have the support I needed” as a child in school, and wants to make sure that doesn’t happen in SASD. He wrote that he wanted to “look for more creative ways to increase funding, while also saving without cutting staffing” and avoid a referendum if possible.
Patterson, who was appointed to the board in May 2018, wrote that she would focus on “increasing enrollment, improving our district image, prioritizing student mental health, innovation and creativity, and ensuring all students have the tools they need to meet and exceed state standards.” She added that talking to young families about what they like in SASD could help the district find ways to attract others here.
Rangel-FitzGibbon has been on the board since 2015 and wrote that she wants to “ensure that we’re doing everything possible to meet our students’ diverse learning needs.” She suggested another referendum could be necessary if Gov. Tony Evers’ budget proposal is not approved, to avoid “making reductions to programs and services.”
Board vice president Freye, who has served six years on the board, wrote that the board is “setting a positive tone” and he wants to help create “a culture that endures.” Freye added that his proudest accomplishments of the last six years include the district’s “strong” non-discrimination policy, safety improvements, a focus on equity and a meaningful raise for staff.
Town of Rutland
Voters in the Town of Rutland have two chances to choose between candidates on the ballot.
In the race for constable, incumbents Shawn Hillestad and Nels Wethal face a challenge from Steven Williams. Voters will be able to vote for up to two on their ballot.
The constables’ duties, according to town ordinance, include enforcing violations of town ordinances, acting on behalf of the Town Board as directed and informing the Dane County Sheriff of “all trespasses” in the town violating state statutes.
For the town supervisor seat, incumbent Dave Grueneberg is facing off with David Krueger.
The pair has been on opposite sides of noise complaints that another supervisor said has made Town Board meetings “contentious and uncomfortable.”
They have squared off previously over noise from trucks using engine brakes in the town and more recently have disagreed over Madison International Speedway.
Grueneberg managed the track for 15 years and still does business there. He supports waiving the $50-per-race fee that is part of the track’s permit, as has been done since the 1990s.
Krueger told the Hub he wants to increase the fee to $500 per race, but only using it to encourage compliance with the track’s permit. He also supports increasing the annual license fee from $500 annually to $5,000 by 2022.
State Supreme Court
The state Supreme Court race pits two Court of Appeals judges against each other.
The winner will succeed outgoing Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who did not seek re-election.
Hagedorn has been supported by conservatives throughout the campaign, while Neubauer has generated support among liberals, though both candidates have dismissed partisan labels.
In a League of Women Voters of Dane County questionnaire, Hagedorn wrote that “personal political values have no place on the bench,” and that he would “return confidence and trust to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.”
“This means putting aside personal differences and working together collegially and with mutual respect,” he wrote. “Most importantly, this means being a court that can be counted on to decide cases based on the law rather than political considerations. The job of a judge is to say what the law is, not what the judge thinks the law should be.”
Neubauer responded to the same questionnaire that “judges should not be partisan politicians,” and that she has “a deep commitment to a fair, impartial and independent court,” prioritizing treatment courts and alternatives to incarceration “when appropriate.”
“The public’s perception of our court is critical to our entire system of justice,” she wrote. “The court’s legitimacy depends on the public’s confidence.”