Sunday, June 29, 2014

We Felt a Great Disturbance in the Force

Did you feel it?
As the e-mails and announcements popped up, we did.
Of course, we have felt something coming for some time ;-)

We speak, of course, of the revelation that school board member John  Welke is stepping down to spend more time with his family and pursue some other interests.  There is no shame here.  This is not a Jim Carrel, Seabass McCourt , or that other guy....what the hell was his name again?

Welke is going out on top of his game.  His initial election to the board changed the complexion (we hope) forever.  Gone are the administrative worshipers like Mary Ellen Had a Little Lang and those that tarnished the bar with their own sordid personal issues.

While we are left with John Whalen, who, it has said, has some pinky sworn obligation to vote whatever way Dr. Culver desires, he won't run again.  Jeeez...and the good doctor doesn't even buy him lunch each week.

We also still have Caren Diedrich, who is certifiably something. She of course will run every 3 years until she leaves this earth.  But she's really powerless anymore.  She's like that little trinket that has been in the same place on your grandparents wall, complete with a much brighter shade of paint or wallpaper beneath it, for 20 years.  Shes the funny aunt that busts out with some bizarrely off the wall comment that is the sole reason that you still join the rental units in visits to your aunt and uncle.

Certainly there are  few, less enamored by change, that will celebrate, but we would prefer folks to remember where we began and where John Welke, the guy responsible for the term, "sham residence", has led us.  He was born of the blockbuster cluster f#@% affectionately termed "Boundary Change" and has been on a roll ever since.  He proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not a "one issue" candidate..

Don't get us wrong, we deeply value the contributions of board President Tom Weber, Board VP Steve "Shredder" Schroeder, Mike Krachey, and Jill Camber-Davidson.  Tom is a great leader, but it took a Welke to give a voice to the things that needed to be heard.  He fostered the growth of a new breed of school that is engaged, well versed on the subjects, and not afraid to do what has to be done.  Welke also wrote more Situation Reports than Ms. Diedrich has done in all of her tenure on the board.

To the remaining board members....please remember the dark from which we have been delivered.  Let's keep moving forward into the light of day.

Here's to John Welke, and the legacy he built (and forgive us for missing some, for there are so many things):
  • Made sure that never again will siblings be separated as a result of boundary changes or some other district office policy.
  • Fixed the budget shenanigans.
  • Effected change in the school supply lists.
  • Initiated the capacity workgroup....avoided an imminent (and as yet unnecessary) 8th elementary school.
  • Helped get the annual meeting back under control.
  • Instrumental in achieving accountability from the district.
  • Instrumental in resolving issues related to Policy KG (field /facility use).
  • Advocated for bringing up the salary floor for young teachers, helped establish a ceiling.
  • Worked with Tom Weber and other key SB members to re-align DO.
  • Worked to ensure equity including Title 9.
  • Talked the talk and walked the walk on transparency.
  • Made the tough decisions and asked even tougher questions (SOSP).
  • Demanded quality information.
  • The path to an improved B& G has been forged.
  • Actual Ashley field plans that are REAL.
  • Never before had such frank (and necessary) questions been directed back to the DO from the school board.

 Please remember that we are not crediting Mr. Welke solely for these things, as it still takes 4 votes to move the school board to action.  But his fingerprints are indelibly etched on these things.