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Wondra seeks third term on FM School Board

August 10, 2017 GMT

The right fit for the school board could have been there all along.

Dr. Tim Wondra is one of six candidates looking to fill one of three seats available on the Fort Madison Community School District’s School Board at the Sept. 12 election. Seats currently held by Wondra and Gayla Young are up for election this year, and board president Timm Lamb announced several months ago he would not seek another term.

Wondra has served two 4-year terms on the board. In that time, he says he has garnered the experience to understand the complexity of school finances and the need to put the children first.

“I understand school finances because it is such a complicated beast. And, having spent the time learning that, it’s a major time commitment. It’s more than just two meetings a month.”

Wondra continued to explain the amount of time that is required to be an exceptional board member.

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“You wanna try and attend as many district events as you can. It’s a huge time requirement. I know what it takes. But here’s the kicker,” he said, holding using one hand to make a zero sign. “We get paid nothing for doing this. It’s all volunteer time.”

Further, he said. “You need to know it’s all about the kids. It’s whatever’s best for the kids and the most amount of kids we can continue to improve the education for them.”

The bond referendum to build a new elementary school is another top issue Wondra wants to address. However, the method at which to educate the public is a matter that he’s currently pondering on.

“Our board and staff did a wonderful job getting the information out to the public. But the problem that arose was the misinformation or incorrect information. When you present to them the correct information, some of them would immediately dismiss it as ‘fake news, that’s a lie’ and I don’t know how to combat that.” He went on, “the new school would’ve been a tremendous addition to the district. Our current elementary is not air conditioned, lacking in handicap accessibility and could pose a safety concern on the pick up and drop off.”

Wondra commented on the district’s current momentum in creating real-life opportunities for the students. The trade programs at the school, including welding, construction and culinary classes, are crucial components, which Wondra says prepares many students for the workforce.

“We’ve made tremendous progress in offering those programs that get the kids ready for real world. They can get a diploma from us and walk out with a certificate in a specific field that can make them employable, so in a sense, they could graduate on Friday and start work on Monday.”

The students going to college aren’t left behind either, says Wondra.

“We’re trying to increase the quality and rigor of the instruction they’re getting at the high school level. We want to prepare them for those advanced classes for college.”

Wondra has lived in Fort Madison for 18 years. He and his wife, Dr. Lauri Wondra, own and operate Wondra Chiropractic in downtown Fort Madison. His daughter, Dalyn, is a sophomore at Fort Madison and Wondra says that emotional attachment towards the school should be necessary to be on the board.

“Personally, I think you should have a kid or grandkid within the district. It really impacts you, it makes me want to work harder and do the best I can,” he added.