LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – School board meetings have grown contentious across the state during the last few months, largely due to disagreements surrounding COVID protocols.
First News at Nine’s Alex Loroff looks at how school boards value public opinion, and the ultimate goal driving decision-making
More than 27-hundred people serve on school boards across the state. No matter where they are. They’re working for similar results.
“All of us are trying to point in the same direction, which is to ensure that we are providing the best possible education to the students to grow our communities.”
Juan Jimenez has served on the La Crosse school board for three years.
He says the community has been supportive of board decisions since he took office, but there have been challenges.
Especially political and emotional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What I’ve appreciated is those who’ve reached out to the school board on both sides of an issue, by providing constructive feedback, not being angry in their communication.”
The Holmen school board has seen its share of divisive discussions recently. Including the topic of masking.
Board president Cheryl Hancock says this isn’t the first time an issue has become contentious, but the conversations now stand out.
“This is a higher level of emotions that we have seen on this topic, but we want people to recognize that their opinion is valued in our district.”
Regardless of the topic, Hancock believes the board needs to hear from the public.
“We try to incorporate and listen to all sides of an issue… we have worked very hard to listen to concerns that are shared with us.”
Hancock wants people to know the school board has the same goal, no matter the political climate.
“We try to ensure that we are working toward providing the best quality education our students deserve.”
Which, this year, means making decisions that will keep students learning in-person as much as possible.
In La Crosse, Alex Loroff, First News at Nine.