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OPINION: Who is Driving the Bus?

OPINION: Who is Driving the Bus?

Greendale’s graduating class of 2015 will receive their diplomas on June 14.

If the sun shines, it will be held at Gavinski Stadium. It is a great event and I’ve attended many at the same location, including my own. High school graduation is one of the most significant milestones in the life of a student. It is a proud day for those students, their families, teachers, staff and our community.

A reader shared an excellent blog post with me today that got me thinking about the relationship between the school district and our community. To many Village observers, it is disappointing that the relationship is no longer an entirely healthy one.

Circumstances in the district’s central office remain strained, angry and often dysfunctional. It is an open secret that our top school leaders continue to interview to leave the district. To deal with the leadership gap, Joe Crapitto has stepped in to become — in effect — the lowest-paid superintendent in the state.

That is not how a school district is supposed to be run.

Meanwhile, Village leaders (including some school board members) are no longer shy about expressing previously private opinions about a range of leadership failures. A notable rift exists in the relationship between the schools, the community and Village government — whether school leaders and their supporters want to admit it or not. And, it isn’t just the opinion of a few malcontents.

What is the solution? It isn’t all gloom and doom. We might look at the current state of district leadership as a blessing in disguise, albeit an unwanted one.

For starters, there are some questions the school board could answer:

  1. Who will replace long-time Director of Business Erin Green?
  2. What was the outcome of the seven closed sessions regarding the performance of Superintendent John Tharp? Will his contract be renewed or is something else going on?
  3. Will the board commit to engage and work with community members who ask hard questions?
  4. Does the district plan to use a referendum as a way to pay for proposed $12 to $26 million dollar facility improvements?
  5. When and how will a new strategic plan be developed?

Finally, what is the school board going to do better for Greendale? Some school leaders are clinging to an expiring strategic plan, tired talking points and old ways of thinking about education. Real leadership from our elected officials can’t continue to be postponed.

The vast majority of Greendale residents believe every child has to be given access to a quality education. Our school district has a history of delivering above and beyond. That is a point of pride for our community and a primary reason why families move to the Village.

Greendale’s current 7th grade students are five years away from their own high school graduation. Parents and community members have every right to wonder what the collective community vision for a quality education looks like for Greendale in 2020.

It is fair to ask who is going to step forward and lead the community in developing and delivering on a plan for our district’s future. Who do you want driving the bus?

A Parting Gif…


About The Author

Bill Attewell

Bill Attewell is the editor and publisher of Everything Greendale. He has over 20 years experience as an award-winning newspaper editor, writer and publisher. His work has been read in in over 50 publications across the U.S. and abroad. Bill is a long-time resident of Greendale and a Greendale High School alum. Go Panthers!


  1. Richard

    God invented idiots for practice. Then she created school boards who hired a management group that doesn’t show up for work. Word on the street is management is not coming to the management office this last week of school.

    This is what happens when Trusties decide not to give the managers a raise.

  2. Richard

    Gave a call to the District office and asked at least one manager to return the call. 5 hours later no return call.

    Customer service at its wordt and a lack of respect for Greendale citizens. I guess they are too busy spending the taxpayers hard earned money on gardens and free lap tops for every kid.

    • Richard

      No return call effective 1800 hours from ANYONE from the Management Office. Word on the street is the management office is a ghost town.

  3. WI Mother

    With the current leadership(?), from Supt. to School Board, it leads many to question the future of Greendale schools. The current representatives of our schools appear in denial that they are a problem. From their attitude, lack of any communication, leadership, many taxpayers who pay those salaries are getting VERY disheartened on the path that lay ahead for Greendale schools. Who, on earth, can fix this broken school district? (and it is broken due to the current “top of the ladder” leaders and their lack of communication to their “employers”),,

    • Richard

      Read the comments:

      As Mark Twain said, God invented idiots and then he created school boards.

  4. curious

    I signed the on-line petition to renew his contract. According to this blog, Dr. Tharp’s contract was not even up for renewal during those closed sessions. If it wasn’t up for renewal, why the petition to renew and what were they really talking about? Can someone please tell me why Dr. Tharp allowed Chandra to go ahead with the petition and drama knowing full well his contract wasn’t up for renewal?

  5. WI Mother

    CR.. Totally agree, sadly.. We need change..

  6. GSD Ed.

    Everyone was talking about this at school. Accurate opinion.

  7. Richard

    When public officials think they are right and everyone else is wrong they are in denial. Denial is failure to acknowledge an unacceptable truth or emotion or to admit it into consciousness, used as a defense mechanism: you’re living in denial .

    Mark Twain said “God invented idiots for practice. Then he invented school boards.”

  8. Richard

    Don’t bother calling your school trusties. They don’t call back or answer email.

    We got the people we elected. Now they get to be the trusties we all call our public servents.

    Don’t hold your breath for change. Not in their vocabulary. It is also is not something they do.

  9. Community Radical

    I hate like heck to agree with this but I do.

    This is no longer a place we can believe in. There are good teachers and principals. We have a wonderful public library and recreation department.

    Families want to believe but we are now doubters. Who wouldn’t be after the last year?

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