By Dakota Gunnare, Current Staff
Bill Schulz wants to bring change to the West Bend School District.
Schulz has only missed one school board meeting since he started attending and feels that he is a good representative for the community.
He is a truck driver and believes that his blue collar experience will make him a better representative for the community as he representents a different kind of life experience. Schulz thinks that being a truck driver gives him thick skin and good communication skills which makes him a good candidate for school board.
Schulz thinks the best thing about the West Bend School District is the commitment to students from the educators. He has a 10-year-old son at Silverbrook Intermediate School and a 4-year-old daughter who will attend a 4k program in the fall. As a child, Schulz attended Jackson Elementary. He actually met his wife at Jackson Elementary while in the in first grade.
He plays the guitar and loves making music, finding it very therapeutic. He also enjoys spending time with his family and believes family is very important. He’s social and loves meeting new people and making new friends. He used to work at King Pin Bowl and, along with his son, still bowls there.
Schulz also loves the local restaurant Coffeeville for its atmosphere, coffee and lunch menu.
How can the district become more safe for students, both physically and mentally?
FULL TRANSCRIPT: Great question. Physically, I do believe that we need to implement video detection systems, and making sure that our doors on the outside to enter the school do need to be locked at all times. Also, extra video camera systems on the outside and on the inside of the building. Not necessarily–and actually I’m not gonna say not necessarily–not in the classrooms, but I could see how they would be beneficial in certain hallways, as the school district has actually stated that if they had cameras in the hallways they could’ve been on top of some issues or they could’ve found–not found, but gathered, evidence around that.
Another thing around the physical safety: when I was in high school at Slinger, I remember in passing time–and the district just put out a survey that 22% of high school students do not feel safe in the hallway during passing time. And I think something as very simple as this, and it’s not even a policy–I mean maybe we could enact a policy I’m not exactly sure, it’s more of a best practice–but, when the bell would ring, all the students would’ve exit the room, and the teachers were the last ones behind them. Now, say you have a hallway here, and you have four classrooms on each side, okay, so you have eight classrooms. If all eight teachers are outside during passing time, every minute or minute-and-a-half the teacher could walk into the room, just do a quick check, making sure the kids are in their seats, behaving the way that they should, and then they go back outside their classroom. Because by doing that, at no point is there going to be every single teacher down a specific hallway that’s not going to be outside in the hallway making sure that the students are not rough-housing, or getting in fights, or bullying other students. I think that’s a pretty simple fix to that, getting that 22% down as close to zero percent as possible.
As far as mentally, like I said earlier, I really feel that having a strong family connection, and strong family engagement with their children’s education, that is where all good health starts, is with parental involvement. And that’s something that I am a big advocate for–not saying that the district doesn’t allow that, but I would like to further expand on more parental involvement. And I think, along with that, our students in the district would, you know, have a better mental health situation while at school.
What is the greatest challenge the district currently faces? How will you address it?
The greatest challenge–or a great challenge–I see currently is the budget. And, I don’t know, maybe we’ll get into this later, but we’re projected to be in an $8 million shortfall, and last year we were at $6.1 million shortfall. And with enrollment on the decline, as much as I don’t like to see that, I think this district needs to have a strong vision of, “how can we realign this district?” Or as the district has said, “how can we rightsize this district?” And I think it’s going to take some shuffling around with staff and faculty. I would even be willing to go as far as getting rid of excess space or buildings that we have, you know? Say particularly the district office: Could we get rid of that building and shuffle the administration into certain schools? I think that’s a start, that’s not the fix, but I think, addressing these things and taking a look at what that would look like to make best use of our taxpayer dollars, I think that would be a good start for addressing that issue.
What would you prioritize in the budget that is not currently being prioritized?
FULL TRANSCRIPT: So, as we heard from members–not only members of the teachers’ union but teachers–I believe it was at the January 26th school board meeting, don’t quote me on the date, and actually a little bit–even the meeting prior to that, is that teachers feel that they aren’t paid enough for the work that they do, and I know that the school board voted to give them a sizeable raise, to which, from the sounds of it, the teachers seemed to be pretty happy with. I would like to incorporate a bare minimum, cost of living raise–or cost of living increase, if you will–not sure what the number would be, but I’d like to incorporate that into the budget every year, and I would like to–and also to go along with that I’d like to entertain the idea, and bring it up for board discussion, regarding performance and merit increase, you know–performance raises, if you will.
Along with that I do feel as if part of being a over $100 million business, as assistant superintendent Andy Sarnow has claimed, there has to be wasteful spending going on. I don’t think to the tune of $8 million, but I would like to try to figure out exactly where that is and just cut out that wasteful spending. Relating into a personal budget, some may consider going to Kwik Trip every morning for a sandwich and a coffee every morning as wasteful spending, you know. Not sure what that exactly would equate to from a school district. I’d like to curve–not curve, excuse me–dive into where there is any wasteful spending and, also bring forward a curriculum that, you know–oh boy, I’m trying to word this–they always say you get what you pay for, and, with education I don’t think that that should be put to the side.
However, I think we need to look at our budget, and our funds, and where we allocate our curriculum funds, and direct them more down a path towards bringing forward and continuing a strong fundamental foundation in reading, writing and arithmetic. Not only that, people have misquoted me, saying that I only care about reading, writing and arithmetic, and that is not the case, that is misinformation, that is not true. I fully support having tech ed, and music, social studies, science, you know–go on, you know–there are other programs that I do support. But without having a strong foundation in reading, writing and arithmetic, we aren’t allowing our students to be as proficient in other aspects, if we’re not proficient in reading, writing and arithmetic.
Read about the school board candidates at The Current. Five candidates responded to requests for interview by deadline. The school board election is April 4.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Schulz.)
One response to “Decision 2023: Meet Board Candidate Bill Schulz”
Bill, great responses to the questions! And I can attest that you really have been at all of those school board meetings. You know what’s going on. You could ease into the seat of school board because you’ve been there all along. You are one of the hardest working people I know, and you have a very supportive, happy, and loving family. Thanks for your passion for our school district!