And then there were nine.
As the deadline for candidates to file for the next election drew to a close on Thursday, a pair of political newcomers joined a crowded field for a total of nine candidates vying for a spot on the Beatrice Public Schools Board of Education.
Eric Trusty joined the race for a seat on the board, saying that he wants to make sure Beatrice has the best school system possible.
Trusty, who works as practice administrator at Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center, has two children currently enrolled in the Beatrice district, including one at the high school and one in grade school.
“I want to make sure we’re providing the best educational opportunities for the students in the district,” Trusty said. “When I’m doing physician recruitment for the hospital, they do look at the schools as one of their decisions about if they live in the community or come to Beatrice. I want to make sure we’re continuing to make an economical impact on the community.“
Trusty admitted that elementary facilities will be a source of great discussion in the future and admitted that the topic of a new centralized elementary school might be resurrected although voters have twice denied the notion.
“I think it’s definitely something that the voters have already addressed that issue,” Trusty said. “I think in the future when you look at it from an economic development standpoint, it’s something we need to definitely look at. Is it a definite need? I think those are things that need to be addressed. Can we get by with the buildings we have? Yes. But does that give staff the resources they need and is that what’s best?”
Trusty, whose wife, Erin, works for the school district, also gave his opinion on a recent proposal from school administration that would make grade-level specific elementary schools.
“There’s going to be families that have students that fall across different grade levels and I would see that as a burden on those families. I think we want to keep families in the same school, it helps create somewhat of a family atmosphere.”
Trusty, who has not ran for public office before, said that while facilities will be a hot topic, he wants to make sure the district is being fiscally responsible.
“There have been some students who have left the district,” he noted while explaining lost revenue. “We need to look at why they have left and change that thought process.”
Joining Trusty in the race, Erin Chadwick filed to run for a spot on the board.
Erin and her husband, Trevor, own and operate Brown’s Shoe Fit in downtown Beatrice. Chadwick also works as the marketing coordinator for NGage economic development group.
The School Board currently has six members, though beginning in 2019, a seventh will be added. With the seventh seat being added, there will be four spots up for grabs in the 2018 election.
Board member Nancy Sedlacek did not file for re-election. Board members Jon Zimmerman and Doris Martin have filed with hopes of another four-year term. Eric Book, Eugene Fiester, Monte Lofing, Andrew Pinney and Matt Langley have also filed for election to the school board.
Because there are more than double the number of open seats, the election will be featured on the May 15 primary ballot. The top eight will then move on to the general election.
Among the other key contested races around Gage County, four candidates have filed for the Gage County Supervisor District 1 spot.
District 1 is currently held by Myron Dorn, who will give up his seat on the county board and turn his attention to campaigning for the District 30 seat in the Nebraska Legislature, where incumbent Roy Baker has decided to not seek a second term. Dorn is joined in that race by Joe Murray of Firth and Don Schuller of Wymore.
Battling for the county board seat are Republicans Eddie Dorn and Norm Parde Jr., along with Democrats Rob Ruskamp and Paul Weber.