Thursday, February 26, 2009

School Board Elections 2009: You DO have a Choice!

The school board' may NOT to desire to be engaged with the community, but thankfully, district resident John Welke wishes to be more formally engaged with the school board. Welke, a Town of Bristol resident, submitted his official papers declaring his intent to run as a "Write-In" candidate for school board.

Welke issued the following press release, which he has shared with SP-EYE. Welke touches on some very important issues for his platform:
  • transparency of school district operations
  • incorporate community residents' perspectives in decision-making
  • incorporate teachers and support staff input in decision making
  • a commitment to return half of his school board stipend to local school PTOs



February 23, 2009

Town of Bristol Resident announces write-in campaign for Sun Prairie School Board seat.

Town of Bristol Resident John Welke announced today that he will be running for one of the three available school board seats in the Sun Prairie Area School District. Welke, a 9 year resident of the school district filed his declaration paperwork today with the Filing Officer to make it official.

“I know that running for any office as a write-in candidate can be extremely challenging but I think that I have some great support and a good plan,” stated Welke. “Originally I was considering running for the School Board next year but at the urging of district residents I decided to run this year. Some may wonder why Welke did not fill out and submit nomination papers so that his name would be on the ballot. “Originally I thought that there were going to be one or two other qualified candidates but when that did not happen I starter looking into a write-in campaign” he responded. “Residents of this district deserve a choice and I think the most important thing that I bring to the table is a different perspective and an option when it comes time to vote” Welke added.

Welke who was very outspoken and active during the recent boundary changes feels that the time has come for change. “I believe that the Board should be looking for ways to actually incorporate the communities' input into decision making.” he stated. “They also should be seeking out ideas from teachers and support staff in the school district. In order to do this effectively the Board needs to create and environment where employees feel safe and that they are being listened to”, stated Welke. “Teachers and support staff have a front-line perspective on school district operations and I am disappointed that their ideas have not been sought more frequently” he added.

Transparency is also big issue for Welke. “The district and board needs to do a better job getting information out to the public.” Wisconsin's Open Meetings and the Public Records Law promote openness in government and to provide citizens with an opportunity to observe and educate themselves about their government's operations. “The Districts Public Meeting Notices need to get out sooner than 1-2 business days prior to the meetings and I would like to see more detail on the agenda items. I would also like to see more detailed meeting minutes so that the community and future School Boards have an accurate, detailed record of their discussions and activities” Welke added.

Welke has been a regular attendee to School Board and Committee meetings and has authored several Situation and Recommendations Reports that made their way onto the Board’s Agenda. “I know that there are some who will criticize me by saying I am a “one issue” candidate but my track records speaks for itself.” In the last year Welke authored three Situation and Recommendations Reports, one on the districts SAGE program and two on the most recent Boundary Changes. “It is important to take a good close look at these things and see if the program or decision is having the desired results. If it has not, the board and the district need to be accountable to that and look at other options to achieve those objectives.”

When asked about any campaign pledges, Welke stated that other than working hard for the district residents and children he only had one. “If elected, I am planning to take my Board stipend and at the end of the year, deducting the income tax owed on it, and then evenly distributing it out to each schools Parent/Teacher organization.” he stated. “Every year that I am a board Member after that I will take half of my stipend and do the same thing. I hope the other three candidates join me with this pledge.”

Welke lives in the Town of Bristol with his wife and two elementary aged children. He has been a sworn law enforcement officer with the State of Wisconsin for the past 20 years. He is a Board Member for the Sun Prairie Lacrosse Club and is the Town of Bristol Liaison to the Sun Prairie school district.

John Welke can be contacted by telephone at 825-7960 or by e-mail at