Madison School Board Candidate Forum

Many move to Madison for its quality of education. But after three years of referenda, two people want to see some changes.

Larry Winkler, the challenger for seat 7, says, "My concerns of course are about the curriculum and what I see as a decomposition of the curriculum, as well as decomposition of the school buildings and a failure of the board to listen."

Seat 6 challenger Lawrie Kobza says, "I'm not satisfied with the school board and the ways things are going. I think we can do better; I think we need new energy, new thinking, and I'm the person to do that."

About 25 people turned out to the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center Tuesday night for a candidate forum.

Lawrie Kobza is challenging Bill Clingan for Seat 6 and Larry Winkler is running for seat 7 against incumbent Carol Carstensen.

As usual, the number one issue: the upcoming referenda.

Seat 7 incumbent Carol Carstensen says, "We have spent 12 years under revenue caps, 10 of them we were able to avoid significant impact on kids. The last 2 years we've had an impact."

But Winkler says, "I think we break faith with the school community when we don't conduct ourselves appropriately to increase the odds that a referendum would pass. If the public really doesn't trust the board and the administration in handling its finances, you actually decrease the probability of any referendums passing."

Even if the operating budget referendum passes, it will be a short term solution to what seems to be a long term financial problem.

"What we can't do at least legally is kind of turn out money in the basement," says Seat 6 incumbent Bill Clingan, "We can be efficient, we can look for cost efficiencies, try to reorganize, and we've done that for years."

But Kobza says, "We need to look at the effectiveness of our existing programs. Are they effective both educationally and from a cost perspective?"

Candidates also discussed student equality and ways to keep a safe school environment.

If you couldn't make it Tuesday night, candidates will speak Wednesday, March 30, during a Special Board of Education Meeting at the Inn on the Park at noon. And then again Wednesday night at seven at a candidate forum at the Glendale Neighborhood Association.

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