The board of education guiding Riverside-Brookfield High School for the past eight plus years had some serious tasks to tackle. It was faced with getting the district back on track after the Supt. Jack Baldermann saga and took steps to effectively manage finances in the wake of the national economic downturn and a failed referendum.
Significant improvements have been made to the campus in terms of athletic facilities and life-safety matters. The school board and administration was also a key partner in the construction of the First Avenue bike path. The board also moved to restore extracurricular activities cut in the wake of some financial belt-tightening.
This election, however, offers an opportunity to bring new perspectives to the school board, ones we believe the board could use.
A rash decision to rush to a lawsuit against the village of Brookfield over that board’s decision to turn down a parking lot proposal suggested an inflexibility that again reared its head more recently over the non-renewal of a popular social studies teacher. The response to that decision by students can’t just be waved off. That student response was nothing less than extraordinary.
In this election, were endorsing incumbent Edward Jepson and newcomers William “Wes” Smithing and Ramona Towner for the three four-year terms up for grabs.
We think Jepson can be the leader of this school board and provide some independent thinking and maybe some needed pushback against moving too quickly in directions the board might regret later.
Smithing, a Hollywood resident who became involved during the parking lot saga, brings the perspective of someone directly affected by the actions of the high school. His interest in long-term planning and sound fiscal management are good qualities to have on the board.
Towner is an elementary school teacher/instructional coach who understands curriculum development and data-driven decision making. Her perspective as someone whose job is affected by decisions made by a school board and administration could be a valuable one as officials navigate issues such as the one they just faced.