Incumbent Jon Cruzan is seeking a second three-year term and faces Thomas Westrick and Jason Busch.
Al Roehl, a 27-year school board member, is not seeking re-election.
The three candidates are running at a tumultuous time for school districts with contentious state legislation and unprecedented state budget cuts to public education looming on the horizon.
Candidates answered questions about the following topics:
“Wisconsin’s always been a great place for companies to locate in part because of our school systems and the great education of our workforce. Right now, we’re sending out a terrible message about the value of education in our state,” Westrick said.
“It’s too much, too fast, not enough time for people to sort through and make proper decisions. It’s bang—here it is, now deal with it. We’ll deal with it because we don’t have a choice, but that’s a bad process,” Cruzan said.
“I think removing collective bargaining by watering it down is really a disservice to teachers and other public employees,” Busch said. “There should be two viable groups at the negotiating table.”
“It’s going to help forestall financial decisions that might not have to be cut as deeply or affected as quickly and surely as they would have had this agreement not come about. I think it also protects some (bargaining) things for the MEA (teachers union),” Cruzan said.
“Nobody knows all the fine details of how this is going to shake out,” Westrick said. “There’s some dangers to getting locked into something when you don’t know what’s going to happen even a few weeks down the road.”
“It’s in best interests to solve a contract and move forward, even if both sides aren’t completely happy with it,” Busch said. “You don’t want the divisiveness that can be created (through an impasse).”
“It’s easy to say cut (4K) because we haven’t had it yet and so it’s not hurting anybody,” Busch said. “But we need this. When you’re looking at all of the neighboring districts that already have (4K), you have to have this to be competitive.”
But amid emerging state budget woes, Westrick said he questions whether the timing is right for 4K.
“It wouldn’t be the end of the world if we didn’t start it right away. It should be considered if the district is in the right place economically,” he said.
“I think it’s still the right time to strongly consider it. We may need a program like this now more than ever. If there’s a way to advocate this forward, I think that we should,” Cruzan said.