Jan. 2, 2017 – West Bend, WI – There are three open seats this spring on the West Bend School Board and it appears a primary may be in the offing as a handful of candidates are stepping forward.
Joel Ongert of West Bend has thrown his hat in the ring. “I’ve just always had a passion for teachers and I’m a proponent of great public schools,” said Ongert, the son of two public school teachers. “We’ve got a great public school system in West Bend and I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
Ongert has lived in the community with his wife, Tina, for 8 years. The couple has two children who attend Decorah Elementary School.
Ongert has spent the last 13 years at Caterpillar, Inc. He has been active on different committees and boards through work and Our Saviors Lutheran Church in West Bend.
“Now is a really cool time with a new superintendent; he’s approached the job well with listening to parents and teachers and I think we’re on the brink of a culture change with the positive things going on in the district,” Ongert said.
Things that have impressed Ongert include creating a positive and uplifting culture and having open and honest communication with staff, business owners, teachers and parents.
A couple of bullet points on Ongert:
Goal: “It starts with listening to the teachers; empowering the teachers and principals to run their schools at a building level and not micromanage the district from the central office and I think the new superintendent brings in a perfect opportunity to start that culture change of being more positive.”
Galileo testing: “The kids don’t like it the teachers don’t like it and I’m sure the district pays a lot of money for that and it’s something we need to look at and make changes to.”
Common Core: “We need to follow the principles of Common Core to get the funding we need but our new U.S. President hates Common Core and if he gets rid of it I’ll be celebrating with all the other parents and teachers and students around the state.”
Galileo testing: “I work for Caterpillar which is one of the largest companies in the U.S. We’re a very conservative company that wants to create jobs; looking out for shareholders is a huge part of working for a big public company so we’re very conscious of the dollars we spend. Bringing that kind of a background to a school board and questioning what type of return we’re getting out of an initiative, that should be our approach with Galileo testing; we probably spend tens of thousands of dollars on it every year and if we’re not getting our return on it that’s a bad investment.”
Setting aside money for future Jackson School: “The school district owns buildings and cars and tracks and football fields and if we want this district to survive capital improvements has to happen. The board has a 25-year plan in place but part of the budget will also be saving and improving the assets we have. Building a new Jackson Elementary School is going to happen and saving for that and preparing for that is a good thing instead of asking taxpayers to vote on a multi-million dollar referendum; if we can save for it now and sock away some money so we don’t have to do that down the road I’m all for it.”
Walker recall: Did not sign the Scott Walker recall.
Election platform: A Champion for Students, A Champion for Teachers, A Champion for the Community! “Is it good for the students, is it good for the teachers, and is it good for the taxpayers.”
Deadline for candidacy is Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017
-The Spring election is Tuesday, April 4, 2017 to fill three at-large seats on the West Bend School Board, each with an expiration date of April 2020. If a primary is necessary it will be held Feb. 21, 2017.
-A Declaration of Candidacy Form and a Campaign Registration Statement must be filed by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 in order to run for School Board. Papers must be turned in at District Office.
-Two current West Bend School Board members will not run again including Board President Rick Parks and Vice President Bart Williams. Board member Ryan Gieryn is also up for election and he will run for another term.
-Three more candidates are also expected to turn in a Declaration of Candidacy Form and Campaign Registration Statement by 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Stay with WashingtonCountyInsider.com as we unveil another candidate on Tuesday morning.