Resignation puts Crowley back on D208 board

Franzo cites need for continuity in bowing out after six years

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By BOB UPHUES

Say hello, again, to Martin Crowley.

Crowley, a Brookfield resident who was appointed to the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 board in January and then failed to win a seat on the board in the April 5 election, will be back at the board table later this month.

Board President Larry Herbst announced last week that Crowley would replace Greg Franzo, who quietly tendered his resignation in late June. The board accepted Franzo's letter of resignation at the very end of the board's June 28 meeting, after returning from closed session and did not send out any notification that Franzo was leaving the board.

Crowley will be sworn in at the next regularly scheduled business meeting of the board on Aug. 23. He's likely to join Herbst and William McCloskey on the board's Facilities Committee, on which Franzo also served.

"It was pretty much a slam dunk," said Herbst of Crowley's impending appointment. "He was the next-highest vote getter in the election. I've talked to the board members, and they're all in unanimity to have Marty back."

Franzo, serving in his second term on the board, was heavily involved in the high school's facilities planning efforts, serving as the board's liaison to a citizen's committee charged with a comprehensive survey of the high school campus and a recommendation for a $30 million renovation of it.

"No one's worked harder than Greg over the last six years," Herbst said. "I'm pretty close with Greg. He was the king of processing things, and I am more of a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy. We made a really good team."

In his letter of resignation to the board, Franzo said he would not be seeking re-election when his term was up in the spring of 2007. With a major renovation and accompanying referendum push on the horizon, Franzo said he wanted to give the board a way to establish continuity as that effort progressed.

"A new board member who would finish my term, seek election and hopefully be successful will provide the community a member with at least six years of membership and involvement with the probability of their seeing the issue through to completion," Franzo wrote.

Franzo also said that the board had been able to accomplish the goals he set when he first ran for the board in 1999, including expanding AP class offerings, bringing financial responsibility and stability to the district, improving classroom access to technology and hiring Jack Baldermann as the district superintendent, among other things.

"We've accomplished so much at RB," Franzo said in an interview last week. "I just felt I contributed in the name of community, and with what's left on the table, the board is best served by someone who can provide continuity through the entire process."

By resigning from the board, Franzo ends a run in village and educational politics of over a decade. In addition to his six years on the board at RB, he spent two terms on the Riverside Public Library Board of Trustees.

However, Franzo, a Riverside resident, won't be walking away from RB completely. He said that he would remain involved in any capacity the board wishes, an offer that Herbst said he is happy to accommodate.

"He'll still continue to play a large role in this as kind of an ad hoc member of the school board. It'll be kind of like bringing an extra player here. I'm going to take advantage of Greg's promise to stay with us."

Crowley will finish out the two remaining years on Franzo's term, and has indicated to Herbst that he is interested in running for election in 2007. This will be his second stint on the board. From January to April of this year, he replaced Mario Lavorato, who resigned in late 2004 citing health reasons.

Crowley will have two children at RB when the fall
semester begins. He owns and operates Crowley Express Inc., a trucking company in Brookfield. He is active in a number of organizations at the high school and in the community.

In a 6-person race for three seats on the District 208 board last April, Crowley finished fourth behind McCloskey, Karen Bensfield and Laura Hruska.

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