Friday, April 10, 2009

Welke Thanks the Community

John Welke sent us this letter , putting closure to what was a virtually unprecedented, in terms of votes received, write-in campaign for school board. It's tough enough to get elected if you're ON the ballot; but most politicos will tell you that it's an impossible task to win election by write-in in a city of this size. Nevertheless, Mr. Welke received just under 800 WRITE-IN votes. We ask the community to join with us for a tip of the hat to Mr. Welke's inspiring effort. Kids....learn a civics lesson. Here's a guy that managed to get 800 people to remember his name and to go to the effort of writing it on the ballot (which can be a monumental task with some of those pens) AND connecting the arrow.

Yes, the incumbents are to be congratulated on their re-elections. But don't think for one minute that all three of them weren't getting a little nervous as election day arrived. We wouldn't be a bit surprised if several of them hadn't privately figured their personal chances for re-election were slim at best. No sour grapes here. No sir. Simple reality.

John Welke is a class act. He most definitely has the skills and values to be what this community needs on the school board. We look forward to him filing his papers next January and see what happens when his name is on the ballot.

Dear SP-EYE,

Now that the Spring 2009 election is over and the dust has started to settle I wanted to take a minute and thank you for your coverage of school district issues and more specifically the recent school board election. Congratulations to Mr. Whalen, Mr. Shimek and Mr. Slane.

While their vote totals were significantly more than mine I am very happy that 792 community members took the time out of their busy day and went to the polls and cast a vote for me by writing my name in on their ballot. To them I would like to say, “Thank you very much for your support!”

The upcoming year will have many challenges for the school district. In my role as the Town of Bristol school district liaison and as a community member I will stay committed to working with the board, the district and the taxpayers to ensure the things that will make SPASD the investment of choice.

With a significant monetary commitment to several new facilities and the current economic woes that the community faces it is even more important to responsibly use the taxpayer’s dollars. Squeezing every penny out of each tax payer dollar will be required to ensure needed programs continue and will demonstrate to the public that the school board is a good steward of their tax dollars.

As an advocate of open government I will encourage the board to ensure that there is clear and open communication on all aspects of the district operations. By doing this the board will increase the public’s trust in their elected officials. Increased personal accountability for those involved in the various aspects of the districts operations will also bolster the public’s trust.

An area that I heard a lot about during my campaign was the desire by teachers to be more involved in district decision making. It is my hope that the Board will make this a priority and provide teachers with more opportunities to share their ideas and thoughts. This will only be successful if it occurs in an environment where they can feel safe and without fear of reprisal if their ideas are not exactly in line with administration.

Lastly, student safety is an increasing area of concern. We live in a rapidly changing world. One that seems to have en ever increasing element of reckless and harmful behavior. Gang activity, drugs and physical violence are areas of serious concern. The board needs to form a close alliance with the city police department, parents and private sector entities to ensure that no one drops the ball with student safety.

As community members we all have a role in the issues that I have outlined above. I know that SP-EYE has tried to take a proactive and informative role to that end. Clearly we are not always going to agree on every topic but civil discourse and constructive criticism will make us stronger and ensure that the important things do not slip between the cracks. Thanks again for the information you provide the community.

John Welke