Two compete for a seat on the Bentonville School Board
BENTONVILLE – An analyst disputes the seat holder of zone 7 of the school board.
The winner of the November 2 election receives a five-year term. Early voting begins October 26.
Joe Quinn, 65, is running for his second term. Mike Swanson, 32, is making his first run for public office. The two men live in a part of Rogers which is part of the Bentonville school district.
Most of the state’s school districts held board elections in May, but Bentonville opted for an election in November. School board positions are unpaid in Arkansas.
Only those who live in Zone 7 – which covers southwestern Bentonville and parts of Centerton, Rogers, Highfill and Cave Springs – are eligible to vote in this election. There are 14,140 registered voters in the area, said Dana Caler of the Benton County Clerk’s Office.
Swanson is the father of three children: a 4-year-old, a fourth-grader at Evening Star Elementary School and a first-grader who attends First Baptist Rogers School, he said.
“The older I get, the more I realize that our time on this earth is very temporary,” Swanson said. “If you don’t throw yourself at someone else, you’re kind of wasting your time. “
Swanson is an analyst for General Mills. Previously, he worked as a substitute teacher in Nebraska, as a consultant for Bayer Healthcare and as a project manager for Advantage Sales and Marketing.
Swanson also serves the community as a Sunday School teacher with First Baptist Rogers and coaching his son’s flag football team, he said.
His work experience has given him analytical and forecasting skills that he believes would be useful to the school board, he said.
Swanson said he has been attending board meetings for eight months and would also like board members to delve into the topics presented for their approval to ensure decisions are well thought out.
On at least two occasions during the time allotted for public comment at board meetings, Swanson has spoken out against the board requiring masks to be worn in schools.
Quinn has repeatedly voted in favor of mask mandates.
Giving a conversation equal to the value of students pursuing a trade, rather than an academic path, after graduation is a topic he would like to see the board address at a higher level, Swanson said. Greater prominence and development of offerings at the District Ignite Center for Advanced Vocational Studies would be a good start in raising awareness about careers in the trades, he said.
Ignite opened in 2015 and offers training and certifications in several career fields such as construction, culinary arts and health. More than 340 high school and junior high school students are enrolled in Ignite programs this school year, administrators said.
“A lot of students think they have to go to college to be successful,” Swanson said. “The reality is there are a lot of people out there who could start their own businesses, join the workforce, go to trades school and be equally successful. “
Quinn is an independent consultant with experience on KTHV television in Little Rock, the Arkansas Department of Social Services and the office of former Governor Mike Huckabee, he said.
I think I come from the background of communications, policy and budget and how to get a message out to large groups of people, ”Quinn said.
Quinn is also a board member for Junior Achievement of Arkansas and executive director of the Arkansas Good Roads Foundation, he said.
Quinn ran unopposed to the school board in 2016, a year after the board appointed him to a vacant seat. He has two children, both graduates of Bentonville High School.
He said he was running for a second term because he did not want to leave the board during the turbulent times of the covid-19 pandemic and the district’s continued growth.
Enrollment in the district was 18,536 as of Wednesday, an increase of about 500 students from a year ago, said Leslee Wright, spokesperson for the district.
Quinn said her experience as a board member is invaluable.
“I’m proud of the fact that the day I arrived at the school board, this district still had kids in trailers behind the school buildings – that the growth was so extreme that we were using overflow trailers,” he said. he declares. “We got through this and put in place strategies and funding to build nine school buildings in 10 years, and now all the kids are in quality classrooms. “
Quinn said he was ready to ask tough questions at board meetings. He called himself a “big believer” in transparency.
He added that the district needs to become more sophisticated in the way it zones students in school buildings.
Council had to set new elementary school attendance limits in June that will take effect when the district’s 13th elementary school opens next fall at the corner of Southwest Barron and Opal roads.
• Age: 32 years old
• Residence: Rogers. He has lived in the neighborhood for seven years.
• Job: Analyst at General Mills
• Education: Master of Business Administration from John Brown University, 2019
• Political experience: none
Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette
• Age: 65 years old
• Residence: Rogers. He has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years.
• Job: independent consultant
• Education: Bachelor of Audiovisual Journalism from Marietta College in Ohio, 1978
• Political experience: member of the Benton-ville School Board since 2016
Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette
Benton County will hold an early poll and election day for the Nov. 2 election for the Benton Town School Board.
Only Zone 7 voters will have a council race on their ballot. Zone 3 has an unopposed candidate. All other bulletins will only contain a question on the mileage rate, which does not change.
Early voting will be available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from October 26 to 29 and November 1 at these locations:
• Benton County Clerk’s Office, 215 E. Central Ave., Suite 217, Bentonville
• Benton County Clerk’s Office, 2111 W. Walnut St., Rogers On Election Day, the polling stations will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on November 2 at these locations:
• Benton County Fairgrounds, 7640 SW Regional Airport Road, Bentonville
• First Landmark Baptist Church, 206 SE 28th St., Bentonville
• Lakeview Baptist Church, 1351 E. Lowell Ave., Cave Springs
• Rogers Convention Center, 3303 S. Pinnacle Hills Parkway, Rogers
Source: Benton County