Jan. 29, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Common Sense Citizens of Washington County hosted a candidate forum for three of the four candidates running for two open seats on the West Bend School Board. In attendance were Monte Schmiege, Chris Zwygart and Mary Weigand.
Candidate Kurt Rebholz was not in attendance and candidate Carl Lundin has taken himself out of the race, although his name will still appear on the Feb. 20 primary ballot.
During the primary voters will select four candidates and the top four vote getters will advance to the April 3 Spring Election.
The candidates addressed a variety of topics including transparency, parental concerns, and preparing students for the job market.
Question: How can you assure the public you will be transparent
Mary Weigand – I like to talk to everyone. I encourage people to go to meetings. Some things a board legally is required behind closed doors. I don’t have anything to hide. We all want best for our community. Transparency is not a problem I would have.
Monte Schmiege – Transparency is not as simple as you think. The law requires open meetings and all board actions need to be open but there are exceptions, like personnel and legal matters. New board members need to realize they can’t talk to other board members and create walking quorums. Bold statements in the public is not a good idea either. There are ways the board can be more transparent in bringing forth information to the public and getting in front of it that’s something I’m hoping we can pursue with a new superintendent.
Chris Zwygart – School board is a creature of the public to be as transparent as possible. Public meetings law helps, but there are limitations with regard to closed session. One way for board to improve is by engaging the public. Why don’t we ask public what they think. Be more engaging with public.
QUESTION: What is the role of the family and role of school district in a child’s education
Chris Zwygart – there is a varying level of engagement among families. School district needs to be equipped to help students that come from varying backgrounds. School district needs to be prepared for a variety of circumstances. School district needs to provide everyone with equal opportunity for a great education. The more we can have a school district that’s equipped to give a child a chance at a great education.
Mary Weigand – Parents are the first educators. Values need to be taught at home and education should be about teaching facts and parents should never be afraid when they drop kids at school that their family values will be undermined in any way. Schools should not be the parents when parents fail to do their job. It does happen and some parents are more engaged with their children. The more schools step into the role of parenting the more parents really wish it to the schools. There is a danger in that.
Monte Schmiege – in a perfect world we’d like the family to be responsible for the basic upbringing of their children. Unfortunately that means the school has to deal with it. We spend a great deal of money on this and I’m not quite sure where we draw the line. There is a trend in micromanaging into children’s families. There are many programs in WBSD aimed at helping in these types of situations including the Head Start Program and stressing parental involvement. 4K. Special programs for children who don’t speak English as a first language.
Click HERE to see more from the candidate forum. Candidate introductions are available by clicking HERE.
During the primary, Tuesday, Feb. 20 voters will select four candidates and the top four vote getters will advance to the April 3 Spring Election.