By Lawrence Wenclawski
First, I need to thank my wife and daughters for their support throughout my campaign. Also, thank you to Cassie Mitvalsky and her friends, Deb Hanson, and everyone else who helped and support my campaign. Your help made my campaign viable.
I also thank everyone who answered their door and talked with me; listening to your different experiences within our school system will be remembered. This was a truly enlightening experience.
I congratulate Keith Westercamp on his win and I hope he will work harder to improve communications and transparency within the Cedar Rapids Community School District.
Now it’s time for change. The Cedar Rapids Community School Board and administration must improve community presence and participation at board meetings and give the community a greater ability to engage the school board. The start time of school board meetings must be no earlier than 6 p.m. People cannot participate when they are just getting off work, picking up children or making dinner for their family. The meetings are not just for the school board, they are also for the community, for transparency.
Individuals need more time to address the school board at meetings, especially on agenda items; five minutes should be the minimum. Remember, most people who address the school board want to be part of the solution.
When questions are asked about agenda items, figure out a procedure to answer them, because any board member could ask the same question.
Quit giving the impression that every decision that is made works perfectly and everything within the district is going well. Be honest and transparent about the issues within our school district, and the real impact of your past decisions.
When presentations are made to the school board, there are four questions that should always be asked: What difficulties has the project encountered to get to its current point? What problems are being experienced? What are the failures? What was learned? With honest answers, the community’s respect for the school board will improve.
Two other questions need to be asked more often. What is the financial impact on community members? Can everyone in the community afford to be part of the program?
Lastly, in order to have fair policies, the policy must pass the following test: The policy will always be implemented the same way, no matter who implements the policy and no matter what building the policy is implemented in.
I ran for school board to be a part of the solution. I did not win the election. However, meeting people like Kathy and Greg made me the biggest winner. They told me I can still make a difference and possibly a greater difference by not being on the school board. They are right. Just like every member of our community, I still have a voice. Mine is just louder and more determined than before.
The community is ready for change. Is the current school board willing to change?
Lawrence Wenclawski was the District 3 challenger for the Cedar Rapids school board in the Sept. 10 election. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org