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2 file for Brainerd School Board

Two candidates filed for the three seats available on the Brainerd School Board, as of Thursday, Aug. 2. Candidates can file until Aug. 14, with the general election set Nov. 6.

Two candidates filed for the three seats available on the Brainerd School Board, as of Thursday, Aug. 2. Candidates can file until Aug. 14, with the general election set Nov. 6.

Matthew Avery

Newcomer Matthew Avery, who has five students at three schools in the Brainerd School District, hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the board.

"I also would like to advocate for, not only my kids, but kids districtwide for more learning and not so much emphasis on extracurriculars," he said.

Avery, a 10-year U.S. Army veteran who owns his own construction company, said he believes parents can sometimes put too much focus on extracurricular activities.

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"My kids are in a lot of extracurriculars, and I know as a parent you have a hard time saying 'no' to them," he said. "But there needs to be as much time given to studies and learning as there is to extracurriculars."

A better understanding of the recent bond referendum and how those funds are allocated is also high on Avery's priority list.

"I just want to have some better oversight on that," he said.

When it comes down to it, Avery said he is just a parent who wants to be more involved with his kids' school district.

"The school district is good, and they do great things. I just feel like I could give my own perspective on it," he said. "Everything can always be improved."

Ruth Nelson

Thirteen-year school board veteran and current chair Ruth Nelson hopes to add a fourth term to her tenure.

"I'm excited to run for another term," she said. "We have a strong board and we communicate well together at the board table."

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Some of Nelson's highlights over the years are hiring Superintendent Laine Larson and working hard on the bond referendum passed in April.

"I think (Larson), along with her staff and help from the board and obviously the support of the community and how we communicated to the community on the bond, was why that passed," Nelson said.

Keeping the district in tip-top financial shape is another thing Nelson said was among proud accomplishments while on the board.

"The most important thing for the board to do is keep the financial management, and we managed even with some tough times to come through it pretty well," she said.

If re-elected, Nelson said she will focus on settling the rest of the contracts that haven't been settled and keep a close eye on finances.

"I hope the residents will continue to support me as they have in the past," she said. "I think stability on the board is important, so I'm hoping that I can get another term."

Related Topics: SCHOOL BOARD
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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