Todd Lechtenberg
Todd Lechtenberg
Todd Lechtenberg has been a fixture in the Kingsland school district since the beginning of the school year, taking care of the district's finances.

Kingsland has had a contract with School Management Services (SMS) since previous manager Kathy Beevers left at the beginning of the year. Lechtenberg, who works for SMS, is now the face behind that contract as he has been the person in the school acting as Kingsland's business manager since school started this fall.

The Fort Atkinson, Iowa, native has been interested in accounting for quite some time. In eighth grade he knew that he wanted to work in the finance field. He graduated from Turkey Valley High School in Fort Atkinson, and obtained his master's degree from the University of Phoenix.

He worked at Mayo Clinic for 12 years before starting with SMS. He's been doing school finances since July and enjoys the atmosphere at Kingsland.

"The staff at Kingsland are some of the busiest people that I have worked with. They all have the same goal in mind of ensuring that the kids get the best education they can, and are willing to do anything to make that happen," he said. "They have some great plans on getting the kids ready for the next level, either going to college or starting a job. When I look back at graduating in 1996, I had no clue what college was going to be like, and back then, teachers really did not prepare you for the next chapters in life. Kingsland has the College in Schools (CIS) classes that allow kids to earn credits for college while still in high school."

He related that his goals are to assist the district in handling its finances wisely. The main goal is to ensure that the school is using the taxpayers' money in the best possible way, he explained. "I think a lot of people forget that most of the money that the school earns comes from the taxpayers, and schools need to be accountable towards the taxpayers," he said. "Kingsland is in a great position due to the great work that previous business managers have done, and I just want to make sure that we continue keep an eye on the future needs so that Kingsland can continue to offer the programs that they do."

Doing so doesn't come without challenges, however. The biggest challenge that schools face today, he explained, is they are very dependent on state for funding. If the state needs to balance its budget, often they use the money designated for schools in that balancing act by withholding a portion of school aid until a time when state finances are better.

"This causes a lot of problems, as 85 to 90 percent of the money that schools get is from the state, and if they decide to hold back 5 to 10 percent, like they have done in the past, this can cause cash flow problems," he said.

He also serves the Lyle and Mabel-Canton school districts, helping them keep their bottom lines straight and knowing what their business is so that education remains a top priority.

Lechtenberg lives in Stewartville with his wife, Bettie, and their children, Nicholas, a sixth grader at Stewartville's elementary school, and Brooklyn, 18 months. He said he likes golfing, coaching youth sports in Stewartville, attending high school sporting events and spending time with family and friends.