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Four running for two seats on Green Bay school board

By Press Times Staff

GREEN BAY – Four candidates advanced from the February primary and will run April 7 for two seats on the Green Bay school board.

Incumbent Laura McCoy received 5,396 votes, Dawn Smith received 5,280, Jason Davies received 2,747 and Paul Boucher received 2,309.

Marcus Gringon did not advance past the primary with 2,140 votes.

The Green Bay school district has more than 21,000 students in 42 schools, making it the fourth-largest school district in Wisconsin.

It serves the City of Green Bay, the villages of Allouez and Bellevue, the Town of Scott and parts of Ledgeview, Eaton and Humboldt.

The Press Times emailed each candidate the same questions and gave them 100 words to respond to each.

Laura McCoy

Laura McCoy

Why should people vote for you?

I am running for re-election because I want to continue to serve families and children in our community.

During my time on the school board, I have taken advantage of every opportunity I could to learn and gain better understanding of our district and its relationship to our community and our economy.

That learning process has only deepened my appreciation for the work of our teachers and staff.

It takes a small army to educate 21,000 students, and I look forward to being able to continue that work.

What’s the biggest issue in the Green Bay school district?

Community members I’ve spoken to are concerned about how education is funded in Wisconsin.

They would like to see better funding for English learners, special education services, social and emotional support for students and transportation.

During my time on the board, I’ve reached out to legislators, lobbied on behalf of our district and testified before a legislative committee.

In addition, our community, like all communities in this country, is dealing with urgent issues surrounding school safety.

I serve on our district’s Security Committee and as a board member, I’ve had hard conversations with parents and community members around this issue.

How can the board foster healthy communication skills, making sure everyone’s voice is heard?

I’m one of seven board members, I can only speak for my approach to communication.

When I work with board colleagues, district staff or community members, I begin from a place of mutual respect and trust.

In my experience, this approach is most likely to generate honest feedback, promote productive collaboration and yield the best results for our students and district.

In my three years on the board, this approach has allowed me to foster positive relationships with individuals throughout our district and community who share their expertise and whose input helps make good decisions on behalf of our children.

Dawn Smith

Dawn Smith

Why should people vote for you?

My husband and I both graduated from Green Bay schools, and our daughters attended our public schools for 12 years.

Public education served my family well, and I’m running with the hopes of serving my community.

I’ve seen all the great things GBAPS has to offer, and I’d like to be a part of moving our schools forward and improving the quality of our public education system.

I’m a collaborator and a relationship builder by nature, skills I acquired and developed in my 22 years at Schneider and most recently NWTC, and I think that’s something our school board needs.

What’s the biggest issue in Green Bay schools?

I think the biggest issue facing Green Bay schools is the teacher shortage.

We have special education teachers teaching under emergency licenses and math classes with 30-plus students.

The state is funding our schools at levels less than it was in 2011.

Members of the school board need to build relationships with our local legislators and lobby for public education at the local, state and federal levels.

Finding ways to make teaching in Green Bay more attractive and looking for possible solutions to balance our school enrollment should also be top priorities of the school board.

How can the board foster healthy communication skills, making sure everyone’s voice is heard?

There are some huge issues facing our public schools – poverty, declining birth rates and sub-standard state funding are just a few.

Members of our school board need to determine a common goal and work together to find common ground to allow them to move our schools forward.

Anyone who comes to the board to share information needs to feel safe and needs to be treated with respect and courtesy.

Board members need to be available to receive public feedback – that’s one of the most important parts of an elected official’s job, especially at the local level.

Jason Davies

Jason Davies

Why should people vote for you?
I want to develop much stronger leadership in the school district so that no student fears attending GBAPS.

Intimidation readily exists in the district and parents want relief.

When they don’t get relief, they look at other options.

Parents understand that by removing their child from a toxic environment, their child will thrive.

Numerous issues exist that exist from large classroom sizes, bullying, to incumbent board members who can’t even quote accurate budget figures in open meetings.

By voting for Jason Davies, the public is affirming that they desire competent checks and balances within the school system.

What’s the biggest issue in Green Bay schools?

Honesty and transparency surrounding the accuracy of data provided to the school board is of tremendous concern.

For example, the public is presented with a skewed view of reality surrounding the Green Bay schools when the district administration dictates to particular schools that they must utilize intervention strategies and brand them as re-education opportunities.

It changes the significance of the data.

This results in a biased representation of what occurs in our school.

The biggest issue to work on is transparency and providing accurate data so our board can do their job correctly.

How can the board foster healthy communication skills, making sure everyone’s voice is heard?

Healthy communication starts when people stop political motives.

The board must understand they represent all taxpayers.

Years ago, the superintendent invited members of the press in for regular district updates.

The purpose was to inform about what was occurring in the district.

It helped to educate the public and gave them the desire to participate in board meeting attendance.

The fact our board requires the utilization of facilitators is endemic of a failed board at the forefront.

Secondly, the board must understand they are the leaders and visionaries of where the district will go at the service of the taxpayers.

Paul Boucher

Paul Boucher

Why should people vote for you?

I’ll fight toward:

A) Ensuring diversity and inclusion are priorities.

B) Building an environment that is conducive to a more constructive and less hostile atmosphere.

C) Bringing the athletic program a quantum leap forward.

D) Improving physical health of students and teachers.

E) Reconfiguration of the lunch program; making lunch hour a learning experience and less socially stressful.

F) Preparing students to have a greater understanding of the collegiate system and job market, so they can make informed decisions.

G) Introducing students to gymnastics, swimming, dancing and skating at an early age.

I bring a unique perspective to the board.

What’s the biggest issue in the Green Bay school district?

The biggest issue facing the district is addressing the attitude problems that have been plaguing schools for years, and caused the implementation of the voucher system.

There needs to be a seismic shift to a consumer-based educational system.

The customer is always right (within reason).

The philosophy that the adults are bosses doesn’t work.

We have to stop labeling students (our customers) as truant, disobedient, delinquent, etc.

The schools need to be facilitators in allowing students to achieve their dreams.

When students have too much energy, they need to be allowed to work it off; before they commence classroom learning.

How can the board foster healthy communication skills, making sure everyone’s voice is heard?

The school board needs to appoint a wrangler, a person or office that collects and coordinates the ideas of parents, students and community.

In school board meetings the wrangler (an advocate) would make sure that all community members ideas get on the agenda and community members know when to speak and are allowed to present issues.

School board meetings are at times a little bit helter-skelter.

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