Newcomer joins Milton School Board
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Milton School Board
Bob Cullen (I) 2,016
Wilson Leong (I) 1,588
Janet Green 1,360
Joe Martin 1,245
John Fons 1,143
Jason Busch 960
MILTON Voters chose experience for the Milton School Board. They picked Bob Cullen, who will start his fifth term on the board, and Wilson Leong, who will start his seventh term.
They also chose Janet Green, who has worked 25 years in education and is a central-office administrator for the Rockford (Ill.) School District.
Green said she is excited to be sitting on the other side of the table and hopes to encourage more student, staff and community participation in decision-making.
The recent hubbub over a plan to start school late on selected days next year might have been avoided if those affected had been invited to share ideas about how to find time for staff training, Green suggested.
Perhaps a "community education summit" would be a way to do that as the district looks at its budget problems and other issues, Green said.
Green cautioned, however, that she is just one member of a seven-member board and that Milton has a superintendent who has a key leadership role.
"My administrative philosophy is collaboration," Green said. "I really want to seek ways we as a board and administrative team can pull community members in (to discuss solutions) so people feel they have a voice, so they feel like they're being heard."
Green replaces veteran board member Mike Pierce, who did not seek another term.
Leong agreed it's good to listen to staff, the community and especially students.
Leong said in his 18 years on the board, "when the going gets tough, the citizens have always rolled up their sleeves and found ways to solve problems."
Leong said he's hoping for changes at the state level to help the district shore up its finances. It faces an estimated $1.3 million budget gap in the next school year. Staff cuts are already decided, but that's just a partial solution.
Leong said board members have differing opinions, but they always bring to the table a respect for others' opinions and experiences.
Cullen said he expects to hear good news soon about insurance costs that may trim the budget gap. Taking a small amount from the fund balance could fill the remaining gap, Cullen suggested.
"I just appreciate the opportunity the voters have given me to serve the school district for another term, and I plan to continue working with everyone to meet the educational needs of all our students," while being fiscally responsible, Cullen said.
"The kids should always be our priority, and that's the reason we should be serving on school boards," Cullen added.