Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

2227, 22 Mar 16

West Bend School Board Candidate Forum

I attended the vast majority of the school board candidate forum this evening that was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. You can catch the whole thing on the city’s website (when they have it up) and they will air it on the local access channels several times if you want to watch it to form your own opinions. Here are a few thoughts that occurred to me:

  • The whole forum was well done. Hats off to the Chamber for putting it on. It was respectful and informative.
  • There were about 20 people in attendance with several luminaries from West Bend’s glitterati (ha!) there.
  • I realize that I genuinely like all of the candidates. That doesn’t happen for me very often. But they all seem like great people who really want to do well for the school district. I disagree with some of their prescriptions, but their hearts are in the right place.
  • 3 of the 4 candidates are Lutherans. I think that only happens in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
  • One fact came out about which I was unaware. Teacher pay for the West Bend School District ranks in the top 5% in the state! And Randy Marquardt, the incumbent school board president, said that starting teacher pay is also one of the highest in SE Wisconsin. I didn’t realize we were paying so much. I am curious if that’s truly because West Bend is paying more or if it’s an artifact of an older workforce, which tends to drive up average compensation. As I mentioned in my post about teacher turnover over the weekend, having a healthy amount of turnover that brings in teachers from all age brackets helps keep the overall labor costs in check.

There is another forum tomorrow night at 7:00 PM at the Moose Lodge. It is hosted by the Common Sense Citizens of Washington County. I understand that Tiffany Larson won’t be present, but the other three candidates will. I encourage you to go hear what they have to say if you have the opportunity.


2227, 22 March 2016


  1. Anonymous

    The higher than average pay can work for and against. While it can enable retention of your most experienced teachers, it can also make it difficult to “motivate” those that should leave for the betterment of the organization. I think that is the challenge for past, present, and future administrators. If you look at what seems to be “informing” the efforts of the group vying for school board seats, I sense that there are staff who are “fighting” rather than “fleeing” – some of them may not have the option to seek employment somewhere else. Thus, the issues of “toxic work culture” (resistance to change manifests itself as management/labor issue), Common Core standards (which does introduce an element of accountability), testing (again, the element of accountability), and Curriculum Mapping (again, accountability – would rather have artistic license than conform to standards).

  2. RedSide

    Apparently Anonymous poster above didn’t see the same forum I did on tv. Tiffany Larson was by far the most articulate and intelligent. She spoke in detail about that school to learn white paper. I didn’t know anything much about some of the candidates but I was really only impressed with her. Marquardt was terrible. He did nothing but try to defend everything they’re doing and denies any problems. That guy loves Common Core and standardized testing and evaluations. Why not just be honest about what needs to improve and get it done? Lying isn’t helping. Ken is seemed like a nice guy but wasn’t impressive and didn’t have any new ideas. Larson’s ideas about middle management cuts and getting rid of waste on tests and bs sounded great to me. She was the only real conservative in the crowd with any details. She got my vote last night. I think there’s a lot of the boots and sabers crowd that need to rethink supporting the others just because they’re men.

  3. Informer

    To Owen’s point about age of teaching staff, it is 42 for teachers. Average years of service for West Bend is 11.43 vs. 10.66 for CESA 1 area, 12.03 for CEDA 6 area and 11.7 statewide. So, the salary advantage doesn’t appear to be due to age. This information was in the finance committee meeting last Monday.

    I think the rest of the post has some merit, especially the accountability.

  4. anon22

    “Teacher pay for the West Bend School District ranks in the top 5% in the state!” According to…? Did the person who said this provide documentation for this statement? How does he define “teacher pay”? DOes he mean starting pay? First 3 years? Average salaries of all teachers?

    Consider acquiring and posting a complete copy of this employer’s teacher compensation plan and explain how long it takes to get to the top of the pay scale (if the evaluations, data, and budget allow this to happen).

  5. Owen

    The moderator said it. Apparently it was part of the HR director’s report to the board, because the candidates confirmed it.

Pin It on Pinterest