Harberts, Zylstra to vie for vacant 518 seat
WORTHINGTON -- Two candidates are vying for a seat on the Independent School District 518 Board of Education. Mike T. Harberts and Marvin Zylstra filed for the vacant unexpired one-year term by the Aug. 15 filing deadline. Votes will be cast on Nov.
WORTHINGTON - Two candidates are vying for a seat on the Independent School District 518 Board of Education.
Mike T. Harberts and Marvin Zylstra filed for the vacant unexpired one-year term by the Aug. 15 filing deadline. Votes will be cast on Nov. 7.
Both Harberts and Zylstra are farmers - Harberts in the Reading area and Zylstra near Worthington.
Harberts said he decided to run for the vacant seat at the request of citizens in the school district.
“I initially hesitated, but upon their insistence eventually agreed,” said Harberts, who has had three generations of his family attend the district. Harberts has also driven school bus for 20 years in the district.
Zylstra said he filed for the vacant seat with no particular issue or agenda other than he felt he can contribute to the education of area youths.
“I felt like I had the experience and felt like I could contribute to the discussion and be a part of the decisions,” said Zylstra, a former 14-year Nobles County Board of Commissioners member.
Zylstra said his No. 1 priority should he be elected is to base his decisions on what he believes will give students the best opportunity to learn.
“I’m a strong believer in education,” he said.
For Harberts, his No. 1 priority is to bring sound spending judgement to the district.
“So we can continue to provide quality education, but at more affordable costs,” he added. “I’ve tried to be wise with my own money and will be even more so with my neighbors’ tax monies.”
With regard to the current board’s decision to hold a Feb. 13 bond referendum on a new $68 million high school, Harberts said he joined 65 percent of voters last November who opposed the $79 million proposal.
“And (I) have been discouraged by the board’s response to most of the community and the poor process they’ve undergone since then,” he said, adding that he supports the Worthington Citizens for Progress group.
Zylstra said he supports the board going forward with the referendum.
“The students are there, no question,” he said. “It’ll either pass or fail, and, if I’m elected, I’ll be at the table to contribute. I’ve always said it’s the right of the minority to be heard, and the right of the majority to rule.”
Between now and the November election, Zylstra said he plans to familiarize himself with the school funding process and peek in on some classrooms.
“I want to kind of get a handle on it before I get into it so I can speak with some knowledge on funding and classroom size,” he said.
If elected to fill the one-year term, both Harberts and Zylstra said they intend to seek re-election.