February 5, 2014

Seven questions from the business community for the 2014 Kenosha Unified School Board Candidates

In January, KABA solicited questions for the six candidates running for the Kenosha Unified School Board from its members via social media. KABA developed seven questions from the themes that emerged.

Dan Wade

What are your qualifications to serve on the KUSD School Board?

Born and raised in Kenosha, Educated in KUSD, 35 years’ experience in Law Enforcement, 20 years’ experience in Administration level duties and responsibilities. 10 years as Chief of Police including: budget preparation, negotiations with union, communication with public and various city entities. I have a strong passion to provide the best possible future for the youth of our community.

How is KUSD preparing students for future opportunities in higher education? How are they (or, how can they better prepare) preparing students for future, high-demand careers?

Students must be afforded specialized training in to fit the needs of an ever-changing economy. KUSD must encourage training to provide better verbal skills to students. Social media, although a great tool, seems to have replaced good communications skills.

What is the role of the school board in terms of working with the Superintendant and the administration?

The School Board should be strong advocates for KUSD, not micromanage. We must work with the Superintendent, be a sounding board for new ideas, use teachers and school staff as a resource, and foster a positive work environment for all. KUSD has strong, professional people in place and they need to be able to do their jobs without interference.

Given the financial realities facing education, where should KUSD invest its precious resources?

Hiring and retaining the best qualified teachers and staff. Eliminate budget waste. Sell idea to public that KUSD is the best system in Wisconsin, and then make the necessary adjustments to ensure that we truly are.

What are the top three attributes KUSD must have in order to attract and retain businesses in our community? How is KUSD performing in this regard?

1. Provide a more varied curriculum for students. Let’s prepare students to fill the career needs of the businesses in Kenosha. Far too often our best and brightest leave, taking their desired sill sets with them.

2. Achieve higher graduation levels. Businesses only want to exist in a community that is successful and a beacon of growth. A city is only as success as the students, and we must be sure to educate ALL students. Anything short of 100% success is unacceptable.

3. Hire and retain the best teachers available for KUSD.

KUSD is doing average job at these and needs to improve. When focusing on theses improvements, strong consideration should be given for students with special needs to find their niche in life.

Would you favor or oppose moving teacher compensation towards a merit-based and away from seniority-based system?

I am strongly in favor of merit-based compensation. Seniority-based system allows less than adequate teachers to “coast” through their careers and lessens the opportunity for new eager teachers. Better pay doesn’t make better teachers.

How can the community - and specifically the business community - support KUSD and its success?

Encourage employees/parents to become more involved with schools and provide tutoring experience in their areas of expertise. Businesses could “adopt” schools for extra programs and help them achieve their goals. Business community needs to be a strong advocate for KUSD and ultimately their children and grandchildren attending our schools.

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