Clintonville School Board race
Four candidates vie for two seats
By Bert Lehman
Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Clintonville School Board in the April 5 election.
The Tribune-Gazette recently asked each candidate more questions about issues concerning the Clintonville School District. Here are the questions as well as their responses.
What makes you the best candidate to serve on the school board?
Czarnecki: I am a good candidate for the school board because I will listen to all on the issues, evaluate the facts from multiple sources and make the best decision based on the data with the school’s goals and future in mind. I believe my education and work experiences in management give me a solid background to offer input as a member of the school board. Lastly, my passion for education and continued learning will push me to do what I can to help the school district improve, and this improvement is not a sprint but a marathon.
Poppe: I feel we need change and collaboration. I plan to work hard to ensure our children’s futures are successful. We need to make sure our schools are run efficiently and effectively, and that no child is just passed through. It is our duty as a community to make sure that our parents and teachers have a voice and I feel that by becoming a board member I will be able to bring that missing link to the table.
Weber: I am a good candidate to serve on the school board because I am an experienced board member. As our school board’s CESA 8 representative, I also served on the board of that organization. I have been a partner in a small business in the community. I have been an active member in the community in the 30 years that my wife and I have lived here. I try to make decisions that are best for our entire community. I believe in the value of public education.
Zachow: I feel with my law enforcement background, I will bring a diverse perspective to the board. Also with working four years in the After School Program, I have a working knowledge from inside the school district.
What do you feel the relationship should be between the school board and school administration?
Czarnecki: To have success you need a team that works very well together, the two have to complement each other, it cannot just be one sided. The school administration is busy doing the daily functions of running the school and the school board can and should bring a broader perspective, as members of the community, to help them continue seeing the big picture and together making decisions that will improve the school district, which means helping the students succeed.
Poppe: Strictly business is what I feel the relationship should be between the school board and the school administration. Nothing more.
Weber: The relationship between the school board and the administration should be one of collaboration. Our goal is to provide educational opportunities for our students. We have to work together to achieve that goal. Having said that, the Board of Education has the final responsibility for the operation of the district.
Zachow: The administration should be more transparent with the school board, and have an open and candid relationship with them. Overcoming barriers to performance is how groups become teams.
The Clintonville School District has seen some teacher turnover during the last couple years, what can be done to encourage teachers to stay in the district?
Czarnecki: Sometimes the turnover is just the individuals, those that cannot stay in one place very long, they have to be on the move. It is reported that the current generations will not only switch jobs many times during their working life but will also change careers a few times, although maybe not as prevalent in education.
A quality education is all about the teachers and staff. Compensation is not the only answer, people want to work in an environment where they are allowed to have success, are listened to and supported and can enjoy the day and can project fun and enthusiasm for learning onto the students. I believe the school district is heading in the right direction but the board and administration need to work closely together to foster Clintonville as a preferred place to teach and attract and retain quality teachers.
Poppe: Our teachers need to feel that they are of value and how they teach is important. We have many great teachers in our district and I would like to see them stay. We can do this by making sure they get the continued training they need to keep them up to date so they can help our children succeed. We also need to make sure they are not fearful of losing their jobs or being moved into positions they are not trained to teach in.
Weber: This is not a new issue. Attracting and retaining excellent staff members is the top priority for all school districts. We need to make sure that the Clintonville Public School District is a great place to be a teacher. We need to offer competitive compensation. The Board of Education has to support teachers and their classroom efforts as much as possible.
Zachow: Teacher needs to have the ability to speak to board members without the fear of intimidation or retaliation. Teachers are the most important asset to any district, and need to be treated with respect. It is important for them to know that the administration and the school board have their support.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the future of the district’s elementary school. Are you satisfied with the process the district is currently taking regarding that facility? If yes, why is this a good course of action? If no, what process should it take?
Czarnecki: From what I know and have seen, the school district is taking a good approach. They have done some research but more is still needed, and now have started the process of surveying the public. This is an important step, both to get their thoughts and possible ideas but also to get the public to buy in. Nobody likes change without having some input. I would also like to find out what all the teachers think, a building is just another tool used in the education process but it is teachers that will make the difference and their input is valuable.
Poppe: I am satisfied with the progression of how the district is dealing with the elementary school’s issues. Everything seems to be going as planned and I look forward to seeing what the soon to be appointed committee does next. Getting the community involved will be a vital asset to this project.
Weber: Our district will have to make a decision about our elementary school. That complex of buildings is in need of significant updating. The Board has decided to form a community based committee to gather information and formulate options for consideration by our community. This is the best way to approach this issue.
At this point, we are not even sure what our options may be or what any options may cost. A community based committee will ensure that we get input from all points of view. We absolutely need to have reliable information so the community can make a decision that is in everyone’s best interest.
Zachow: Yes, I believe the school board is proceeding in a positive direction regarding the elementary school. The proposed community task force will keep the public involved and informed, providing the transparency the community deserves. This is the next step going forward.