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Incumbents face rare challenges on school ballot PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 19:31

Port, Saukville residents launch bids to unseat two longtime board members

Two longtime Port Washington-Saukville School Board members face rare challenges in the April election.

Scott Fischer, a Saukville village trustee,  is running against Sara McCutcheon, who has represented the Village of Saukville on the School Board for 20 years.

“I just think it might be time for a change, and I want to see if I can contribute,” Fischer said.

In her two decades on the board, McCutcheon recalls running in only one contested election. She fended off a challenge from Jim Cryns in 2008.

McCutcheon, 51, owns and operates Silk Screen Specialists in Grafton.

Fischer, 48, is the director of facilities at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee.

Another longtime incumbent, Brian McCutcheon, is facing a challenge from Aaron Paulin, a 38-year-old social studies teacher at West Bend West High School who is making his third run in as many years for a seat representing the City of Port Washington.

McCutcheon, who is Sara McCutcheon’s brother-in-law, is retired. He’s 59.

Marchell Longstaff, who was first elected to the board in 2014, is running unopposed to retain her seat representing the Town of Port Washington.

Board members serve three-year terms.

Supt. Michael Weber said that prospective candidates have also expressed interest in a new at-large seat the district is in the process of creating, although they will have to wait until 2019 to get their names on the ballot.

The new seat would address the problem the school district has had finding candidates or even appointees to fill a seat representing a small, sparsely populated section of the district in the towns of Saukville and Grafton, which has been vacant for more than a year.

The board intends to change this seat to an at-large position that can be filled by a resident who lives anywhere in the district, not just in this small area.

Board bylaws currently call for the board to consist of five members from the City of Port Washington, two from the Village of Saukville and one each from the Town of Port Washington and the towns of Saukville and Grafton. The proposed change would only affect the Saukville-Grafton town seat.

Although board members are elected from and represent specific areas of the district, all voters can vote for all candidates. For example, a Village of Saukville resident can vote for a City of Port Washington School Board candidate.

The proposed change, seen by officials as a preferred alternative to reducing the number of board members to seven, is not, however, a quick fix, and is one that must be approved by voters.

The board must circulate a petition and collect the signatures of 500 district residents to have a resolution put on the April 2017 ballot.

If the measure is approved by voters, it will not take effect until the three-year term of the current town of Saukville-Grafton seat expires in April 2019.

A vacant Saukville-Grafton town seat was not always a problem. For 16 years it was occupied by Jim Eden, who served as board president for two of those years before resigning in March 2014.

The board appointed Paul Krechel in July of that year. Krechel ran unopposed in the April 2015 election but resigned in October of that year.

Despite the district’s efforts to find an appointee to fill the seat, as well as an April 2016 election that failed to attract a registered or even a write-in candidate, the seat has remained vacant since Krechel’s departure.

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