Kobza for School Board – Our Kids Deserve the Best

I submitted the following letter of endorsement for Lawrie Kobza to the local papers.
Dear Editor,
I am deeply concerned about the lack of commitment to school financing at the federal and state levels and I support changes in school financing. However, I am equally concerned about our local Board of Education�s tepid leadership given the current fiscal constraints.
The school board�s decisions seem to move from one crisis to another, and each spring, the board holds our community hostage to its budget cutting process. The board appears to be paddling feverishly in a canoe without steering. And the canoe continues to go in circles because there is no planned destination. Given the withdrawal of federal and state dollars for schools, the challenge rests with our local school board to begin to chart new waters.
That will only happen if there is a change in leadership on the school board. That�s why I�m supporting Lawrie Kobza candidacy for the board. Ms. Kobza is an exceptionally well-qualified candidate, who is dedicated to excellence in public education and has a proven record of leadership and creative collaboration. She has worked successfully with the community, MMSD staff and current board members on a number of school issues.
A good school board candidate needs to be a) a strong advocate for student achievement and excellent instruction, and b) a strong facilitator of meaningful dialogue between the community, educators and the administration. Only then can we develop the best policies � educational and fiscal � for Madison schools.
A group of parents and community members who are concerned about the current school board�s governance have made numerous suggestions for alternative approaches. These are posted on www.schoolinfosystem.org. Many of us believe that voting the status quo in the April school board election will continue more of the same feverish paddling without any direction, while the community faces continued threats of cuts to great programs and services.
Madison will need educational referendums to fund our schools, but we need to know those dollars are spent wisely. This requires a clear vision of what excellent public education means for Madison, how we�ll get there, what the costs are and what different investment options are needed. Various new collaborative financial relationships with the community may also be necessary in some instances, such as for sports or fine arts � two areas Madison values.
Our school board members won�t know what�s possible by talking among themselves. School board members need to invite community members and parent organizations to the table, so that we can identify issues and work together to maintain our excellent public education system. The only trumpet call from the current school board is a call to referendum. One call will not work much longer. Madisonians expect more from their school board.
I know Lawrie Kobza can meet those expectations. She will be thoughtful and thorough in her approach to the issues facing Madison schools. She will navigate us through tough times. I am sure her opponent cares about public education, but Madison needs a school board member who does more than that. Lawrie Kobza not only cares about public education, she also brings independence to the board. She will provide much-needed critical analysis of programming decisions and an openness to community involvement. Madison�s lucky to have a better choice for our kids on April 5, 2005 � Lawrie Kobza.
Barb Schrank
Madison, WI