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School District progress should be measured by results, not by how much money is spent. It’s no secret that the School District’s debt has increased drastically over the past 5 to 7 years, while student proficiency scores in math, reading, writing and science have for the most part declined.

The School District’s consultant, Nexus has been paid more than $25 million since initially hired under questionable business practice, and has been a key driver in running up the District debt. The $25 million was not used to pay teachers, purchase land for schools, build classroom space or pay for needed materials and supplies. While an Administration official downplayed the amount Nexus was paid by stating that some of the $25 million went to Nexus vendors, the official also advised that the District had no information regarding how the dollars were distributed between Nexus and its selected vendors. This does not reflect effective fiscal management or oversight by School District Administration or the Board.

I have no reason to doubt that every elected School Board Member serves with good intention, but I also have no doubt that their good intentions are no match for the opportunists who are skilled at removing taxpayer dollars from the District’s coffers. Based on the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of properties being managed, and an annual budget exceeding $100 million, one would hope that those serving on our school board would be experienced in high level finance. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and, unfortunately, it’s rare when an individual with that experience volunteers to be a candidate for school board.

Now some hope. Let me introduce you to Bill Markert who has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer in high tech business prior to his retirement. Fortunately, Bill and his wife reside in our School District, and he has agreed to be a candidate for school board. He has observed, as I have, the poor correlation between student scores and money spent over the past 5 to 7 years. Bill would be an incredible asset on the Board, and hopefully others with similar backgrounds may be motivated to step forward to help get our District back on course, academically and financially. I would personally encourage every taxpayer to support Bill’s candidacy, both with your time and your dollars.

Any resident who is interested can contact Bill directly to gain his insight into the District’s fiscal management problem, and what his approach would be to get it fixed, if elected. You can contact Bill at wdmarkert@gmail.com or 612-965-8612.

Wes Mader