The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

What does a School Board do?

Cudahy, Education, Kids, Policy, school

Day 15 – Still No real response from the Mayor – The citizens have time, do you


Hawk Eyes Hollenbeck is watching...


Collectively the people of the city are the train tracks and the government people are the train cars with the Mayor as the train engineer.  The tracks will lead the train cars to where they are destined to go.  While the engineer drives the train engine and makes sure, noting happens.


Here the train derailed and the engineer wants to make his own tracks, instead of going on the tracks the people made.


I had a reader email me a question on School Boards that I, myself, didn’t really know the correct answers for, so I told them I don't know exactly but I would ask.


My first stop was the Cudahy School District website at


There is some good things on it, but not the exact questions asked.


My second stop was to email Superintendent Jim Heiden at

He did not respond to my first email so I looked around the web for answers.  I found some general info that I will weave into this post, but still no answers to the exact questions asked of me.


So emailed Superintendent Jim Heiden again and this time he was gracious enough to answer the question.  Thank you Superintendent Jim Heiden for answering.  I will place his answers in red following the questions.


First, I will dispense with the general information.


The school board sets the vision for the school district and the decisions they make at their monthly meetings make a difference for your school.  A school board’s major responsibility is setting district policy.


The most important thing a school board does is to establish a vision for the community's schools that reflects a consensus of the board, community and district staff.  The school board has a wide variety of additional responsibilities, such as adopting a balanced annual budget and issuing interim financial reports, adopting the school calendar, negotiating contracts with employee unions, approving curriculum materials and closing or constructing schools.


What philosophy of education do we want our local schools to have?  What should our students know and be able to do when they graduate?  How can schools best educate students who come from diverse backgrounds?  These are some of the types of questions that a school board must ponder when trying to establish a vision.


Whatever the vision may be, it's up to the school superintendent to implement it.  This is why one of the board's most crucial decisions is the hiring and firing of the superintendent.  The board also approves the superintendent's personnel recommendations.


The board hires a superintendent who in turn hires staff to put policies into practice.  The superintendent is accountable to the school board for managing the district according to board policies.


School board meetings must be open to the public with the agenda publicly posted in advance.  You can learn a lot about your district's policies and challenges by attending a meeting.  In most cases, board meetings are also structured to give you a chance to express your opinions to the board and the community.


Because they serve the community, board members must engage the public in establishing the mission and direction of education.  It’s up to the school board to lead the way in building community involvement and support for public education.  They are the district’s vital link to the public – as well as advocates for public education.


A board member must be a skilled decision-maker and team player.  Board decisions are made by majority at public meetings.  Each board member has one vote.


As a public employer, the board establishes the policies that govern the recruitment, employment, supervision, evaluation and dismissal of employees, and sits as a hearings panel in questions of employee discipline, if so requested.


Board members also make decisions related to the following:


Protecting the morals and health of pupils

Establishing budgets

Asking voters to approve bond measures and local levies for facilities and operations

Guiding collective bargaining

Determining the school year calendar

Adopting curriculum and textbooks

Choosing transportation systems




Questions asked to Superintendent Jim Heiden


For Cudahy, what does a School Board do?


School Boards are policy makers.  There main function is to oversee the budget and policies.  They hire a Superintendent to do implement the policies and oversee the entire operation of the District.  WASB has some great information on how and why School Boards exist.


How many School Board members does Cudahy have?


We have 7 board members.  Feel free to visit our website and go to the Board page.  There is a listing of the 7 members as well as contact information.


Whom do the Board Members report too?  If your voice as a parent was not being heard with the Board Members who do you contact next?"


Board members are elected and "report" to the citizenry of the community.  In the event that a citizen's complaint was not properly resolved and reached the level of the school board (something that has not happened in the last 12 years that I have been here) the board as a whole would hear it.  The board's decision is final.  The only recourse would be to file a civil suit in court and that can only happen in specific instances.  The major recourse is either a recall of specific members or during the normal election cycle.


Where are the School Board meetings located?


Meetings are held twice a month.  2nd and 4th Mondays at 7:00  Meeting locations vary for the first meeting as it is a working committee of the whole meeting.  The second is usually held at the District office on Ramsey Ave.  Again, I would refer your readers to our website  We have an interactive calendar and a wealth of information on our schools there.


I would like to thank Superintendent Jim Heiden for taking time and answering questions regarding the School Board.  Get involved.  Go to the school board meetings.  Let them know who you are and that you are involved in your child's education.  I plan on attending.

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