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Evansville School Board Member

What does the school board do?Creates goals for the school districtHires and evaluates the Superintendent and TreasurerApproves school curriculum, calendars, and budgetsCreates school district policyWorks with and communicates with parents and community members to build public support for quality educationThe school board makes an impact on our community on a range of issues including: School curriculum choicesEducation for children with disabilitiesEducator qualityEducational opportunities

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  • Candidate picture

    Mason Braunschweig
    (NP)

  • Shana Cook
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Ellyn Paul
    (NP)

  • Kathi Swanson
    (NP)

Biographical Information

What specific experience, skills or qualities make you an effective member of the school board?

What do you believe your role is as an individual board member? What is the role of the board?

What are the biggest challenges facing our local schools today? What do you propose the board do to address those challenges?

What is your opinion on the value of teaching civics in elementary, middle and high school?

If the school district were to receive COVID-19 relief funding, what are your priorities for how those funds would be spent?

Campaign Phone (608) 295-1785
Campaign Email masonbraunschweig@hotmail.com
Campaign Phone Number 608-295-1785
Education B.A. Political Science & Criminal Justice, University of Wisconsin-Madison J.D. Northern Illinois University 5 years Active Duty U.S. Army Infantry 3 years Wisconsin National Guard
My experience includes 8 years on the Evansville City council, 4 prior years on the Evansville Community School Board, along with numerous years serving on local community board including Evansville youth wrestling and Evansville youth baseball. Additionally I have served in the military for 8 years, most of them in leadership positions. I have been a prosecutor here in Rock County for the past 9 years and currently am assigned to sensitive crimes which means I deal with very difficult and tragic issues that affect children. All of these positions and the affiliated experience have put me in a position where I am not afraid to make the tough decision for the benefit of our children and our community.
As an individual member of a school board your role is to prepare, show up and vote. The board is statutorily given 3 main duties which encompass its role; to implement policy, to approve an annual budget and to evaluate the district administrator. I think school boards in general run into trouble when members decide that they want to expand their mandated roles and that has been a real issue with the current board in Evansville.
Obviously public school financing has been and still is a major challenge for most school districts in this State. As a board member one must be prepared to make tough decisions when prioritizing the district's needs and be prepared to make tough decisions to stretch those precious dollars all while understanding that times are tough for many of our residents.
I believe it is tantamount for our children to learn the importance of civics at every stage of the educational journey. The more people in society that are prepared with knowledge on the "system" works the better off we are as a society as a whole.
I believe those funds should be spent to advance measure to insure that no matter what the situation is our kids aren't falling behind. Furthermore that options that were afforded to kids and their families are still in place because the families should absolutely have a say in how they consume their education. If our district is better prepared in that manner many other issues such as school choice deficits can be combated effectively in that manner.
Campaign Email cooks@evansville.k12.wi.us
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Campaign Phone (608) 882-5418
Education Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Hamline University
I am a person grounded in common sense and focused on using a logical approach to decision-making. I take the time to look at issues from every side, actively listening to those who support the issue and those who are opposed. A board member must represent and understand all viewpoints in order to make a sound decision and to avoid the pitfalls of looking at only one side. The past three years on the board have been an eye-opening learning experience and I am still willing to put in the time, energy, and effort to work toward ensuring that students in this district receive the best possible education.
As an individual board member, my role is to fully prepare for every board meeting by reading and understanding the matters before us; to hear and represent the concerns of all constituents in the district whether they are shared vocally and publicly or they are shared in a private phone call or email; to make sound decisions that provide for the best interests of all students within the district; to support practices and policies that advance the educational priorities of the district; to establish policies that will provide a safe, effective, and high-functioning school district; to check my ego at the door and be sure that my decision-making is focused on student needs. The board's role is to serve as a legislative body that hires and evaluates a district administrator, and to work in conjunction with that administrator to effectively operate the district under the requirements outline in Wisconsin Statute 120.
Funding will always be a challenge for locals schools, especially as education has become more politicized in recent years. Funding schools should never be based upon which political party controls the statehouse or congress, nor should federal aid be negatively impacted for states whose governor happens to be in the party that is not the party of the president. The funding stream should be consistent at all times. School funding has not kept pace with the inflationary costs, particularly when it comes to categorical aids for special education. Reductions have put school districts in the position of using more general fund dollars to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students. School boards focus on providing the best services possible for their students with the funds available. As a board, we need to understand and support the efforts of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards as they lobby for better and more consistent funding.
Civics is always an important lesson to be taught at every level -- with refreshers even as we move into adult life beyond school. Every person needs to fully understand what it means to be a citizen of this country, as well as to understand that the rights that we are afforded as Americans also come with responsibilities. Teaching civics isn't just a matter of explaining how our government works and what rights we are guaranteed under the Constitution. It also involves describing the expectations for personal behaviors that make our society a great place to live and enable every person to enjoy its freedoms. In our district, I have seen so many activities originate in the schools that teach civic responsibility in a wide variety of ways -- from downtown cleanup projects to the achievements of our middle school and high school student councils to senior projects that benefit those most in need.
How COVID-19 relief money is spent may be dependent on stipulations within the bill that require specific amounts be spent on specific types of projects. That leaves us in a wait-and-see situation. If the money comes with no strings, first priority for spending should be identifying the effect that the past year of having alternative methods of education has had upon students. If deficits in education are found, we should prioritize whatever methods are necessary to bring achievement back in line especially for the students who have been most seriously impacted. Priority should be for any student who has suffered a higher level of learning loss. ECSD has done a good job of keeping staff and students safe since they returned to classrooms in the fall. Spending on equipment and supplies that allow that to continue would also be important.
Education Bachelor of Science in Psychology Master of Science in Counseling
I am seeking re-election to the Evansville School Board because I believe my ten years of experience and my history of the District will provide insight and continuity to the Board. I have held a variety of positions on the board, including Treasurer, Vice President and currently have the pleasure of serving as the President. I believe my collaborative style of leadership allows all members the freedom to voice their thoughts and opinions. I am an inquisitive person, who asks questions and gathers a lot of information in order to make decisions that are best for the stakeholders in our District.
As an individual board member, it is my responsibility and duty to be available to my community and to listen to their opinions and concerns. It is also my obligation to come prepared for every meeting; reading all materials ahead of time, asking clarifying questions if necessary and then participating in discussions at the meeting. I also believe individuals have a responsibility to participate in board development opportunities which provide continued growth in board service, knowledge of your District and educational best practice. The Board has five core functions or roles: to set the vision and goals for the District, to adopt policies that give the District direction to set priorities and achieve its goals, hire and evaluation the District Administrator, adopt and oversee the budget and manage the collective bargaining process for employees of the District.
One of the biggest challenges that has been facing local schools for a long time is lack of funding and specifically unfunded mandates. An example of this is special education funding in which the reimbursement rate is approximately 28% leaving the balance to be paid by Districts. Supporting the Wisconsin Association of School Boards as they advocate the legislature for more funding is one way to address this issue. The current global pandemic has been a challenge and has highlighted inequities in our schools and among schools. Assessing students academically as well as assessing their social and emotional well being is a priority. Using the data gathered, resources must be provided to ensure every students is successful.
My opinion is that teaching civics in elementary, middle and high school is necessary and essential. Studying how people participate in governing society is important. Students need to learn to participate in classrooms, groups, neighborhoods and organizations. They need to know how to participate appropriately in public processes and discussions which civics teaches. We need to teach students the techniques available to citizens for preserving and changing a society. I also believe students need to learn not only about our state and local government, courts and legal system but also about other nations' systems.
My priorities for COVID-19 relief funding would be for upgrading and enhancing technology in the District as well as identifying barriers of use for students and families. I would like to see funding for social and emotional support for students and staff and finally, I would like to see funding for academic support, such as summer school.