I’m running for the school board because I believe our school district took its eye off the core mission of education. Though our district has a staff of dedicated educators, poor business management has failed to deliver in the classrooms. The tax burden has jumped from $11.9 to $39.8 million, while our public school system has lost out to competitors in the educational marketplace. Families are running to other districts through open enrollment, choosing online/home-schooling options, or sending their children to the plethora of private and charter school venues in the area.
I’ve been out knocking on doors, talking the citizens of this city 10 out of the past 11 years. I’ve walked through neighborhoods from the townships in the east, down to Fond du Lac. Never have I found the public as despondent as I’m finding it during this campaign. It is difficult to have a healthy school district with the public’s faith in the Superintendent and the school board at such a low ebb.
Some changes are required to reestablish the public’s faith. More openness and transparency are needed in the boardroom. A board member recently resigned his position, complaining of district leadership’s “dismissive, maintain the status-quo approach.” More public complaints circulated in the media, when it was revealed that the Board Chair withheld background information from the full Board during the hiring process for the assistant Superintendent. To add to the drama, the long-time Denfeld High Principal has now filed a lawsuit against the school district in order to, in her words, “stand up to the injustices of the status quo in policies and practices.”
The Superintendent is moving on, at the end of the fiscal year. The school board should take this chance to reevaluate its operations and district priorities. Through many years of observing the school board in action, I have acquired considerable knowledge and insight. I believe there are some things the Board can do to improve its functionality and its relationship with the public–and, ultimately, deliver better educational opportunities in the classrooms.
*One other point worthy of note: If I hadn’t gotten into this race, my opponent would have walked into office unchallenged, an unhealthy way to elect a leader in a democracy. Every candidate should prove he or she can earn a legitimate majority in a contested vote.