2 incumbents, 1 newcomer take school board seats

Herald Staff Writer

Two Dubois County school corporations will retain current school board members while one will have a new board member come January.


Nancy Habig, 64, who has served on the Greater Jasper School Board since 1984, was re-elected to her position as a Bainbridge Township representative on Tuesday. Habig earned 83 percent of the vote while her opponent, John King, received 17 percent.

“The win means a lot to me. I’m really grateful for the confidence of the voters,” Habig said.
She spent the evening at home with her family listening to the results come in. “I’m really looking forward to plowing ahead with all of our efforts to keep our schools on top.”

Habig, the current board president, said she plans to continue helping the school corporation as it deals with accountability measures — including A to F grades for schools and teacher evaluations — that have recently been mandated by the state. Her main goal, she said, is to ensure Jasper schools remain highly ranked while keeping the educational process “enjoyable” for teachers and students.

“It’s a lot of work to be able to address the needs of every single student. We are up to the challenge,” she said.

In the Southwest Dubois School Corp., incumbent Brian Partenheimer, 37, beat out two challengers to retain his seat representing Ferdinand Township. Partenheimer received almost 60 percent of the vote. Challenger Neil Werne received 25.8 percent and David Wylam received 14.3 percent.

Though Partenheimer has served on the board since March, he has never been elected to the position. He replaced board member Larry Hochgesang after his retirement.

“It was kind of weird to see my name voting. I look forward to joining the rest of the school board members to serve the community and the kids in the corporation,” Partenheimer said.

With a new formula that determines state funding for each school corporation based entirely on enrollment, Partenheimer said he knows the upcoming years will be a series of challenges to maintain the student population and spend money wisely.

“Depending on what happens with all the other elections, things will change in the school system,” he said, referring to the races for governor and state superintendent of public instruction. “The budget is going to affect every school system in Indiana.”

Newcomer Michael Broeker, 44, will take over the Southwest Dubois School Board seat being vacated by 16-year member Phil Fischer. The seat covers Patoka precincts 1, 2 and 3. Broeker received 71 percent of the vote while his opponent, Gregory Painter, received 29 percent.

Broeker has never held political office before but said he hopes to bring more unity to the school board and school corporation when he starts the position.

He said board members need to always “ask questions about things that are going to be put in front of us instead of just voting yes on everything. I hope other school board members can follow along with that and we can have a little more unity in the school corporation. Try not to be led blind,” he said.

Broeker also said he appreciated the “clean” race Painter ran.

“Nothing negative was being done,” he said. “Seeing your name on the ballot and winning, it’s a special feeling. I hope I can serve these people the way they expect to be served.”

Jasper board members Mike Braun, who represents Boone Township, and Greg Eckerle, who represents voters in the city limits, were unopposed in the election and will retain their seats.
Southwest Dubois School Board President Kevin Wertman, who represents Cass Township, ran unopposed for his seat and Southeast Dubois board members Matthew Eckert, who represents Jefferson Township, and Cecilia Hamilton, who represents the entire district as the at-large member, also were unopposed.

Contact Claire Moorman at cmoorman@dcherald.com.


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