OPINION: Eight Things I Learned at the School Board Meeting
It has been a year and a half since I last attended a Greendale school board meeting. It is always great to see friendly faces. I went to the meeting on July 14 to learn how our school leaders are planning to deal with two important issues. Safety and voting in our schools and the proposed Veterans’ Memorial.
Here are eight things I learned:
- The level of civility displayed by Bill Kewan, Barb Meyer, Judy Fons, the Greendale Village Church was an excellent example of how those having two opposing viewpoints can share opinions freely without acrimony or polarization. There were almost hugs. That is the Greendale way.
- The security in our schools is pretty darn good. Jodi Traas, a loss control specialist with the district’s liability insurer held Greendale up as an example of good school security in the state. I think that is something to be proud of. Traas did speak to polling in the schools and said if school buildings were the designated site of polling places, it is recommended that schools should schedule an in-service day. That’s coming from the district’s liability insurer.
- It is rare that you have two former Greendale school board presidents making public comments that run contrary to a superintendent’s recommendation to the school board.
- Board member Anne Szcygiel wasn’t at the meeting and that was a shame. When Szcygiel is on her game she fills the role of the critical friend asking the sometimes uncomfortable questions.
- The district’s strategic plan went out with a whimper. It didn’t have to, the results were largely positive as Superintendent John Tharp announced it was the last year of a three year strategic plan. Dozens of students, teachers, staff, parents and community members invested a great deal of time and thought developing it. The detailed plan had been boiled down to a single sheet of paper and Tharp’s solo update was over in less than ten minutes.
- The school board talked about voting in the elementary schools for the election this November, but didn’t mention the word “referendum”. I’m sure at least some people were thinking about it.
- The hottest property in town is now the Hose Tower. It has been mentioned recently at several public meetings as an alternative polling place.
- Kathleen Wied Vincent sure sounded like a candidate for the school board. She spoke at both ends of the public comments portion of the meeting and mentioned twice that she had recently had an hour long meeting with Village Manager Todd Michaels.