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Schemmel, Scott run opposed in school board elections
October 4, 2019

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Both Districts located in the Dysart area for Union Community Schools will see the ballot for the November 5 election with a candidate each running unopposed for a school board seat.

In District #4 encompassing much of the western half of the school district minus the City of Dysart itself, Ben Schemmel has emerged as the lone candidate registered on the ballot. Schemmel moved a property south of Dysart in May of 2009, then working in Administration with Lowe's in Waterloo. He currently works as the General Manager of Tama Benton Cooperative. His family includes two children ages four and six in the school district.

"I was approached by several people about a rural school seat available in this election," Schemmel said. "I've been a part of boards for co-ops and I know it's hard to get people involved. I feel with my job in town, I could be available for people to address concerns. With my own children, I have a buy-in to ensure they have a good education system."

Schemmel has been involved in leadership from high school to his time studying at Drake University to today as a manager. His father was a school board president during his childhood. Through his gained knowledge and experience, Schemmel hopes to ask the right questions and work towards the goals set by the school district.

"I'm big on providing every student with the best education possible," Schemmel said. "I want to see our juniors and seniors have access to as many AP courses as possible, while kids around own children's age have all the opportunities possible. Union has a great reputation and I honest we can maintain that with honesty and integrity."

If elected, Schemmel fills in a void left by previous school board member Cathy Niebergall, who announced she would not be running this year after serving seven years on the board. Niebergall initially filled in the position before being elected for a full term in 2015.

"My biggest reason for not running for re-election is I have a senior and sophomore in high school," Niebergall said. "I want someone with a younger family to step in and step in. I'm to the point with only two years left of children in high school and the position is for four years."

Niebergall had been approached by her predecessor to run for the board, giving her the chance to be a part of the school district all three of her kids were attending at the time.

"The current board is very thoughtful and I hope the next person enjoys it like I have," Niebergall said.

Union's District #3 is delegated to Dysart and has been represented by Jenna Scott for the past four years and will be running for re-election. Scott grew up in Dysart and moved away after high school before returning in 2007 to raise her family. She is currently self-employed as a cosmetologist.

"I was motivated to run after being approached by numerous people four years ago," Scott said. "I have four children, including one with special needs, and I felt like that population has been under-represented in our board. I feel like I still have some work to do with the board. I have one child still in school and I want to be involved in the board until he has graduated. I have been motivated to represent the 'regular' parent with 'regular' kids in our school district.

Scott stated she's proud of the work and research the board put into getting the voted PPEL approved to help provide funds for repairs which were needed throughout the school district, including the new HVAC system and lighting in the middle school.

"I hope to continue making decisions that better our district for all of the students in our district," Scott said. "I hope to be able to find ways to do that, while making the district the best it can be from all sides - students, parents, teachers, staff and administration."

Residents of each District may vote for their respective board member. Corey Lorenzen of La Porte City is running for re-election for an At-Large city while District #1 in La Porte City will see Brandon Paine also run for re-election.

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