Update: Bob Erickson to seek second Lakeville School Board term
Lakeville School Board Member Bob Erickson has announced he will run for re-election this fall.
Erickson said that among the reasons he is seeking a second term is so he can continue to advocate for “continued transparency, both internally and externally.”
“Certainly, we’ve made great strides in that regard under the leadership of the new superintendent,” he said.
It is not only about being “transparent to the 31,000 voters in the district,” he said, but there is also the need to “communicate successfully with our outstanding professional staff. It can’t be done in a vacuum. We’ve got to do it in a holistic manner.”
Erickson, a former longtime Lakeville city administrator and current board member of the Friends of the Lakeville Area Arts Center, serves as the School Board’s treasurer.
His experience in that role is another reason he is running again: He wants to ensure a continued emphasis of fiscal responsibility.
“We’ve made significant progress, but we need to continue to make progress on the business side in collaboration with the superintendent,” he said.
Other goals include revisiting transportation arrangements and a personalized, world-class education for every student.
“It’s not just a matter of asking questions we know the answer to,” Erickson said. “It is also about asking the tough questions.”
Along with School Board Chair Judy Keliher, Erickson helped negotiate Superintendent Lisa Snyder’s contract.
Erickson sees this as one of the major accomplishments of his first term because of the change in philosophy toward compensation the contract represents.
The contract of the previous superintendent, Gary Amoroso, allowed him about $361,000 in severance, sick pay and health insurance incentives when he left the district in July 2011 to serve as head of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators.
Snyder’s contract does not include those provisions.
Erickson said he is also proud of the reformed collective bargaining agreements reached with groups such as Education Minnesota Lakeville, the teachers’ union.
“There are significant changes in regard to future hires involving benefits,” he said.
Those changes include the elimination of defined-benefit health insurance for retired teachers to hold them over until Medicare eligibility in favor of a health savings account with a $51,000 maximum district payout.
Other fiscal measures he championed included a full line-item budget that spans 63 pages, a fulfillment of transparency.
There is also the debt structure.
“We have recently been able to refund some of our bonds and lower the cost to taxpayers in coming years,” he said.
Erickson said he is also proud of the AVID program, which prepares students for college through an intensive curriculum that has seen students take more AP and honors courses and then go on to college.
The Minnesota House of Representatives appointed Erickson to a task force last year to help develop reforms for integration funding, an initiative designed to close the achievement gap between white and non-white students.
Among the suggestions the task force offered included more money targeted toward the classroom and less toward administration costs.
The terms of two other board members, Keliher and Kathy Lewis, will also end this year. Keliher has said she intends to run for re-election. Lewis has not yet confirmed her plans.
Erickson said he decided to announce his run early in the election cycle because of rumors about his potential run for mayor or Dakota County commissioner.
“I’m excited to run for re-election,” he said. “The feedback I’ve gotten is pretty overwhelming. People want me to stay on the School Board and continue the work I’ve started. I’ve been very grateful for the amount of feedback.”