CANTON- With the county’s general election less than two weeks away, USD 419 board of education candidates took opportunities at community meetings Monday and Tuesday to voice their hopes and plans for the future of the Canton-Galva school district.
The community meetings, held Monday at the Canton-Galva High School in Canton, and Tuesday at the Canton-Galva Middle School in Galva, were intended to give the districts’ school board candidates a platform to illustrate their vision for the future of the district.
The meetings also allowed Canton-Galva district superintendent Bill Seidl to explain the district’s budget and its different funding sources as well as provide an opportunity for parents and residents to ask questions of both the candidates and Seidl.
Before the candidates spoke, Seidl explained the makeup of the school district and the areas represented by the six candidates. The Canton-Galva school district has three regions of representation — Canton and a small section of Galva Township, Galva and a small section of Empire Township and the remainder of the rural areas east of the McPherson School district. Each region is represented by two board members, Seidl said.
It is the multiple communities and area that require community members, school board members and city members to work together  and communicate using venues like community meetings, Seidl said.
Christina Kidd, candidate for district two, position five, and Donald Howard, John Shearer and Bruce Bray, all candidates for district three, position six, were all give an opportunity speak about themselves and their long and short-term goals for the district.
All four highlighted the looming budget cuts and declining enrollment as short-term issues for the district.
And all candidates spoke about the need to recruit families to both Canton and Galva and keeping the school competitive as solutions to the district’s long-term needs.
Bray and Kidd also emphasized the need of the communities to work together to ensure long-term success for the schools and its students.
During the budget information session, Seidl outlined the budget in the wake of current and anticipated future funding cuts from the state in hopes of giving residents a better idea of where the district receives it funding.
The district has been forced to cut $165,000 from its current budget to meet state budget cuts. And more schools are anticipating more cuts as the state looks for ways to deal with its declining revenue.
Seidl said the district is also dealing with declining enrollment, which futher negatively impacts its revenue situation.
Like other area school districts, Seidl said the district knows that it will need to cut from its 2009-2010 budget but is still unsure how much and where the cuts will come from.
During both meetings, Seidl also took the opportunity to explain and emphasize the importance of parents and community members getting and staying involved in the schools and the community.
Seidl repeated the candidate’s desires for a successful district and also noted the importance of parent and community involvement.
“We need to get involved here,” Seidl said. “We really do. You are either getting better or getting worse and we need all of you to step-up to help us continue to get better.”
Seidl classified the lack of candidates for two of the district’s open board of education seats as a “slap in the face.”
“We have to become involved for our kids, our grandkids and our communities.”
He said taking action, such as running for the school board and participating in site councils are are important and much-needed ways to get involved.
“We need your input to get involved,” Seidl told those in attendance Monday. “We have to get people involved instead of waiting for someone else to step up.”