Steve Garrels





Bachelor's Degree, Accounting, Aurora University

Public Accountant, Borhart Spellmeyer & Company, LLC

Married, Jennifer



On the Record

What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?

Being involved in public accounting for the past eighteen years has given me extensive experience in understanding financial concepts, financial statements, budgets and comprehension of the inner workings of many types of organizations. In addition, being a Board of Director and Audit Committee Chairman for a local financial institution has provided me with additional experiences in formulating and improving internal control policies and developing proper segregation of duties. However, of all the experiences that would make me a good candidate, the most important ones are that I have grown up in this district and I am raising my children in this district.

What are your top two or three priorities if elected?

My first priority would be to make sure all children have an equal opportunity to learn and proper student/teacher ratios are in place for all grades. Although many measurements should be looked at when assessing student progress, a key indicator of how we are performing is our standardized test scores. Real action needs to be taken to raise our children’s abilities to be at or above state averages. My second priority would be to increase communication between the boots on the ground (the teachers) and the people making policy for the teachers. Open, honest communication between all parties is the only way we can improve. Another priority would be to have additional accountability within the budgeting process and develop a system that all revenues and expenses are reviewed and approved at the proper level of detail. This would also coincide with a review and improvement of internal controls and proper segregation of duties within various departments.

Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?

Although I am for fiscal responsibility, I would not support freezing the levy solely based on housing prices. I understand the hardship individuals may have regarding the value of their homes (I am one of them), however, the cost of educating our children does not go down based on a decline in housing prices so I feel the two are unrelated.

What one decision by the school board do you most disagree with and why?

I am not running for the school board to throw stones at the current board or be a Monday morning quarterback and dissect individual decisions that were made. I am running to be part of how the district operates going forward not to critique decisions of the past.

What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?

Why should voters elect you to office?

I have a vested interest to improve the district. My wife and I have grown up in Harvard, both attended Harvard schools and my children are currently attending Harvard schools. I not only care about the Harvard community, but the education that all of our children receive from these schools. I have the skill to listen to different points of view and the experience in making hard decisions. My sole focus for running for this board seat is to be part of giving our children a holistic, quality educational experience that will help transform them into being productive, successful adults.