'Spousal conflict is not the issue'

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Much of the media focus on my school board campaign pertains to my spousal conflict of interest, rather than sharing what I bring to the table.

Yes, I must recuse myself from items related to teacher compensation, health insurance and any disciplinary matters regarding my husband.

These are not the pressing issues in our district right now. Areas for urgent action are staff retention, student behavior and achievement. As the wife of an SDB teacher, I have more insight on these issues than most. We have a longstanding problem in our district where staff doesn't feel supported or heard. They feel the board is out of touch with the challenges that teachers encounter daily.

I have a pre-established rapport and trusted relationship with staff. I volunteer every week in one of our schools. I know the struggles. Our teachers are the key to our student achievement so we must start stabilizing staff turnover and improving district morale. I bring that trusted relationship and understanding to the board that teachers are looking for.

Working in cancer research for 17 years (at UW Carbone Cancer Center and the pharmaceutical industry), I bring many skills to the board. I manage multi-million-dollar budgets, I spend every day proactively analyzing and mitigating challenges focusing on research based solutions.

Perhaps in a different time, when teacher strikes were happening all over the country and contract terms were of hot contention, maybe I wouldn't have been the right candidate due to conflict of interest. But today and for the next several years, I am the right candidate for Beloit School Board when our focus must be on keeping great teachers in our district, improving behaviors and stopping the chaos in the classroom.

Torie Champeny

Candidate

Beloit School Board

(Customarily, the newspaper does not provide free space to candidates for campaign statements, in their own words, outside the journalistic process. However, Ms. Champeny is responding to the paper's decision not to endorse her because she has an immediate and acknowledged conflict of interest. We have decided to suspend our usual policy in order for her to respond. - Editor)

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