Commentary on temporary madison school board memBer appoIntment, replacing Mary Burke

Logan Wroge:

The temporarily six-person School Board is scheduled to decide Monday who will join the body for a nine-month stint. During that time, the board will hire a permanent superintendent and work on a potentially large November 2020 facilities referendum.

Those interested in the appointment have until 4 p.m. Friday to apply for the vacancy, which was created after Mary Burke resigned earlier this month.

As of Tuesday afternoon, those who have applied are David Aguayo, David Blaska, Carol Carstensen, Ricardo Cruz, Alexis Dean, Steve King, Pamela Klein, Dwight A. Perry, Arlene Silveira, Jeff Spitzer-Resnick and Calista Storck.

Carstensen and Silveira are both former School Board members. Elected six times, Carstensen served between 1990 and 2008. Silveira was on the board between 2006 and 2015.

Former School Board member Ed Hughes has also expressed interested in the position but said he had yet to file his application by Tuesday evening.

Aguayo, 26, is an executive assistant at the state Department of Workforce Development. He also managed the unsuccessful campaign this spring for School Board candidate Kaleem Caire and ran as an independent for a state Legislature seat in 2016.

After losing his race for the School Board in April, Blaska, a former Dane County Board supervisor and conservative blogger, has said he is applying to bring political diversity to the board.

Cruz, 52, a School District employee, is an administrative assistant helping with federal Title 1 funding. He ran for the District 9 seat on the Madison City Council in 2013 and also served on the city’s Equal Opportunities Commission from 2009 to 2011.

Negassi Tesfamichael:

The large field of applicants includes several former School Board members, public education advocates, parents, recent MMSD graduates, Freedom Inc. staff and others looking to serve on the board as it faces critical decisions over the next few months. The board plans to select a new superintendent and prepare for a facilities referendum in 2020.

For the seasoned former board members, their experience on these two tasks were motivation to return to their old gig.

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district spends far more than most, however we have long tolerated disastrous reading results.