Dec. 28, 2017 – West Bend resident and business owner Kurt Rebholz submitted his candidacy papers for the West Bend School Board on Thursday morning.
Rebholz is the Co-Founder and President of Bay MarketForce, LLC.
According to the company website Rebholz’s areas of expertise include Market Strategy, Business Modeling, Sales Management, Operational Management, Campaign Development, Dashboard
Rebholz is the second person to apply for two open seats on the West Bend School Board. Each seat carries a 3-year term.
Incumbent Monte Schmiege also filed to run.
Schmiege’s campaign issued a statement: My name is Monte Schmiege. I am a candidate for the West Bend Joint School District #1 School Board.
I struggled with this decision because serving has been a lot of work and very challenging, especially in this last year in which so much has changed, including four new board members and administrative turnover. And the change continues as we try to rebuild.
I did not join the board with any thought to the possibility that I might be the longest serving member of the board with what will soon be three years. I think of the people who preceded me and served six or more years and respect the commitment they made. I think some degree of stability is important, and I have thanked them for their service.
People join the board with little or no idea what the work entails or what legal restraints, such as open meetings law and school finance complexities, exist and need to be learned and navigated. Prospective members sometimes have goals they want to accomplish right away and may be disappointed to find out how hard, and perhaps inadvisable, change is.
I think we’ve seen what damage can occur when too much change happens too fast. Even good change can have negative consequences to the stability of the organization and student outcomes if it cannot be managed and made organic, a delicate balancing act.
As it is, the board faces some big decisions that can only mean more change. Some or all may be decided by the time of the election. The board must hire a new superintendent who can smooth out the waves of change and strengthen or build an effective administrative support team. We still have openings to fill there. The salary framework is under review and likely to be replaced. Capital improvement plans are under way that will likely bring a recommendation for a building referendum.
Even though these may be decided by the time of the election or well under way, new challenges will arise, and there are the undercurrents of continuous change, such as policy, curriculum and teaching and learning, which, though they seem of much lesser degree, are of equal or greater importance and significance to student success.
I’ve been just short of three years. I currently serve as treasurer, a post I will have held for two years, thanks to the support of fellow board members. I currently serve as chairman of the policy committee, thanks to appointment by the president. I have worked with members of the finance team and administration and attended workshops to better understand the what, why and how of finances and compensation. I am bringing some new finance reporting and transparency to monthly meetings. I’ve identified areas for improvement in policy. I brought forward policy changes that permit the board, consistent with revised state statute, to have the final decision in the adoption of curriculum.
Yes, I’ve opposed some things, perhaps most notably, the adoption of four-year-old preschool. I studied the matter extensively and independently before the vote. We will never know, other than sentimentally, if there is a positive impact to long-term student success. I opposed it because the very concept that “kindergarten is the new first grade,” which was an argument for 4K as the new kindergarten, is wrong. I have a family member who teaches 5K and bemoans the changes that have taken place at that level in recent years.
I came to the board opposed to Common Core, which was already in place. I opposed the adoption of Engage NY, new Common Core compliant curriculum for English Language Arts, but, at that time, the board did not have to approve curriculum. Furthermore, I would have been in the minority.
I don’t seek this office for personal gain or even satisfaction. Few do. Community members recognize my conservative stance and have asked me to run. Without their support, urging and encouragement, I could not.
What are my goals? Stability, Sustainability and Student Success. The district has gone through a great deal of turmoil, especially on the staffing side. We need to establish stability. We anticipate adopting a new compensation plan. It must be financially sustainable. Most of all, we need to focus on student success in the long term, which is a function of many decisions, big and small.
Papers to file candidacy for the West Bend School Board are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. The district office on S. Main Street will be closed the remainder of this year and on Jan. 1, 2018.