Barry Wittenberg

Barry Wittenberg says the decisions he has to make as a farmer can help him make the decisions a school board member has to make.

"I've had to make tough decisions as to when to spend money — and when not to spend money," he said. "People who run for a board often say they want to do this or that because it's not their money.

"But I don't think that way."

Wittenberg, 41, is one of six candidates for four available seats on the Stewardson-Strasburg Unit 5A Board of Education. He said the Stew-Stras district is in a position where it can't cut much more to remain a viable school district.

"We can't lose too many programs or classes," he said. "There's going to be a fine line.

"If we start losing too many core classes, kids aren't going to be ready for college."

Wittenberg said a variety of factors qualify him for a seat on the board.

"I've got kids going to school here, I'm a business owner, I grew up in this area, and I have a decent background in finance," he said.

Wittenberg said he would be going onto the school board with an open mind.

"I don't have much of an agenda," he said, adding that he would like to monitor the progress of a cooperative athletic agreement with Windsor schools.

"We've got that sports-related co-op with Windsor," he said. "I want to make sure we keep that going."

Like many of his election opponents, Wittenberg grew up in the Stew-Stras community. After graduating from Stew-Stras High School, he attended Lake Land College before earning a bachelor's degree in ag business from Illinois State University.

Not only is Wittenberg engaged in farming, but he is also involved in both church and community. He is Sunday School superintendent at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Strasburg, as well as a member of both the Strasburg Lions Club and Strasburg Fire Protection District.

Nor is he a stranger to elective office as a Richland Township trustee and past township clerk.

Wittenberg and wife Courtney have four children and live north of Strasburg.

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