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.