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School Board, 9.16.19: Applicant Interviews and Reporting

On Monday night, the Whitewater Unified School District’s board met to interview four applicants for a vacancy on the board (following the resignation of board member Jean Linos). The agenda for the meeting, although posted online, listed none of the applicants: not by total number, let alone by name or with their accompanying letters of…

The Whitewater, WI Conflict of Interest Gallery™

Ours is an era of conflicts of interest and self-dealing. Conflicts of interest sometimes begin with ignorance but they persist through arrogance. Simple principles of separation between roles that were once understood and respected (in the main) are now commonly rationalized away. If one bemoans degraded national ethics, one should be clear that local officials…

School Board, 8.26.19: Insatiable

School Board Meeting 08/26/19 from Whitewater Community TV on Vimeo. Update, evening of 9.9.19: Although this discussion of tax incremental financing (TIF) took place at a school board meeting, a program like this is (obviously) very much an initiative of city government and special interests. School districts like Whitewater’s have a role on a joint…

School Board, 8.26.19: Health

School Board Meeting 08/26/19 from Whitewater Community TV on Vimeo. Whitewater’s school board met in regular session on Monday night, with an agenda of 17 items. Item 8D was a mental health presentation from Dr. Lanora Heim, the district’s director of pupil services. The presentation appears from 1:01:00 to 1:19:36 on the video above, and…

Public Officials Should Not Be Reporters

It is a simple principle that public officials should not be newspaper reporters on their own meetings and actions. For readers, reporters, editors, publishers, and public officials this should be obvious. Worse: public officials should not be newspaper reporters when their roles as public officials are not expressly identified.  A Whitewater-area newspaper and a Whitewater school…

School Board, 8.12.19: 4 Points

Updated 8.13.19 afternoon with video. Whitewater’s school board met in special session on Monday night, with two main agenda items: hiring a new middle school principal, and considering among several expenditures from five-hundred thousand dollars available to the district. A few points to consider: 1. The school board unanimously selected Chris Fountain, most recently of…

School Board, 7.22.19: 13 Points

The Whitewater School Board met on Monday, 7.22.19, and from the agenda there was a brief discussion about the learning that is fundamental to any educational program (about which I wrote yesterday). See School Board, 7.22.19: One Worthy Question. Today, a few other points to consider: 1. It’s a mature board: most members have been…

Changes at Whitewater Middle School

One reads that Whitewater Middle School principal Tanya Wojciechowicz has resigned, after a few months in which her departure seemed probable. For those months, one version or another of this post awaited publishing.   The best one can now confidently say is that Whitewater Middle School will for months remain a work in progress.  It…

Closed Government is Expensive Government

Small communities – by definition places with small populations – have fewer people from whom residents can choose officials, elected or appointed. The rational response for these communities would be to be as open as possible, to make best use of their full populations, and to encourage newcomers. Pride, however, stands in the way of…

Educational (Among Other) Uncertainties in Rural Communities

Near Whitewater, another rural school district, Paymyra-Eagle, may dissolve and be absorbed into surrounding communities. That there are so many uncertainties about what might happen to the Palmyra-Eagle district, and how this might affect surrounding districts, should not surprise. From a lack certainty about local rural schools, economies, and government one cannot expect districts near…

The Best Record is a Recording

A video recording of the 5.28.19 Whitewater Unified School Board meeting is now online. It is, truly, a genuine good without merely particular ends.  (Every regular and special board session should be online, by the board’s own policies. See Public Records Request, 5.20.19.) A recording of the full session confirms yet again that the best…

The Canary in the School District’s Coal Mine

Embed from Getty Images Last night’s school board meeting had a lengthy agenda: well-deserved awards and recognition, public comment about a recent termination, and presentations on the performance of Lakeview Elementary and Whitewater Middle School, among other topics. Considering the recent termination, one confronts this uncomfortable question: if determining the right course in an isolated…