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Maple Grove Voice

Election 2016: Osseo School District 279 School Board Candidate Mike Ostaffe

Oct 27, 2016 10:18PM ● By Wendy Erlien

Mike Ostaffe

Mike Ostaffe is among 10 candidates on the 2016 election ballot for three seats on the Osseo School District 279 School Board. 

Osseo School District 279 candidates were asked several questions via email by Maple Grove Voice. Below are the responses from Mike Ostaffe.

 Q: What is your professional/personal background as it relates to the Osseo School District/School Board?

A: I am an electrical engineer with an MBA in Marketing, Finance, and Strategy. I have held leadership positions in companies from technology start-ups to the Fortune 500. I have worked collaboratively, from the shop floor to the boardroom, in order to identify problems, collect data, and develop and implement successful solutions.

I have lived in Maple Grove for almost 11 years. I have three children in 10th grade at Maple Grove Senior High. I have coached youth baseball and basketball, am active with a local Scout Troop, I have been a math tutor in an elementary school, and am currently a member of the Maple Grove Senior High Site Council and a Member of the District 279 FISCAL Committee. As a member of the FISCAL Committee I help guide the budgeting and investment process for the district. I believe that I have attended more board meetings, work sessions, and policy meetings in person over the past several years than all of the new board candidates combined. 

Q: Why are you running for office?

A:  I have the leadership, strategy, finance, and communications skills to help lead a $300,000,000 organization as a member of the board. There are many issues that need to be addressed, and I strongly believe that my skills and background give me the right tools to do the job. It is now the right time for me to serve.

Q: How do you feel you can make an impact by serving on the Osseo School District School Board?

A:  I promise to listen to the concerns of the residents, taxpayers, students, administration, teachers, and other board members. Working collaboratively, we can identify and prioritize the real problems that we face, develop effective solutions, and implement solutions in a fiscally responsible manner.

Q: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the school district?

A: The parents of over 5,000 students who are eligible to attend the district have chosen to enroll their children elsewhere. The district has failed these students and their parents. Why do so many chose to leave? There are many reasons, very important on their own, that when combined leave many parents little choice:

-None of our high schools are in the top tier of performance in the metro or the state. Up to 80 percent or more of students in some schools are not meeting standards.

-We have a minority graduation of 75 percent or less.

-There is a large, growing performance gap between different groups of children across the district.

-School behavior is inconsistently enforced, with classroom disruptions affecting the learning of all students.

-The district has undertaken almost one new program every year, causing confusion and chaos across the district as teachers are moved, inundated with new technology for which they were poorly trained, schools closed or realigned, attendance areas changed, grade spans changed, standards based grading implemented, and curriculum changed.

When a child leaves the district, no one from the district historically has followed up to understand the parent's concerns. This must change. Along with addressing the serious issues above, we must work collaboratively to reach out to parents and understand what they want for their student’s education. We need to create and implement the programs that meet those needs at a cost that is fiscally responsible and helps improve the performance of the entire district.

Q:  What would you like voters/community members to know about you?

A:  I will ask questions. I will listen. I will work hard. And yes, I have triplets. Please visit for more information.

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