Experience and a known quantity faces off against a newcomer with a financial background April 4 in what is essentially the only contested race on the Wauwatosa School Board.
Seat No. 5 pits Kristy Casey, a three year incumbent, against Michael Phillips, who unsuccessfully sought an open school board seat last fall. That seat ended up going to Stan Zurawski, who has since resigned from the board.
The two candidates were asked to answer the following questions in 50 words or less.
In regard to the district budget, as a candidate will you mandate for short-term borrowing to meet the fiscal needs of the district or are you in favor of making cuts to the current budget?
CASEY: As a current school board member I support sound fiscal responsibility, and will continue to do so if re-elected. For the last 25 years the school board has practiced sound fiscal stewardship by never having to short-term borrow, making us one of a handful of districts across the state with a AAA bond rating.
PHILLIPS: If the current proposed budget passes the state Legislature and district health care costs stay in check, budget cuts or borrowing would not be necessary and a teacher salary increase could be afforded. I encourage all stakeholders to reach out to your state representatives to ensure the proposed state budget passes.
Infrastructure in Wauwatosa Schools has been stated as a growing concern by the current school board and they have created a facilities committee. Are you in favor of creating revenue streams to tackle what the board thinks is a growing concern?
CASEY: In my time on the board we rehabilitated Wauwatosa East's auditorium and made top-notch improvements to our athletic facilities all without any borrowing. We created a facilities committee to provide a comprehensive look into our long-term needs. I appreciate the task they have at hand and look forward to their proposal. These outcomes will determine our next steps.
PHILLIPS: I am in favor of letting the current committee work through their year-long process to capture the priorities of the educational stakeholders in our district around our facilities plan and make recommendations to the board. I don't want to let funding discussions hinder the impact and scope of the committee's important work at this very critical stage.
Do you support the superintendent and school board's direction for the school district?
CASEY: I support the direction set forth by the superintendent, the board and past boards that have attracted and retained outstanding teachers, created thriving neighborhood schools while offering families options within the district such as Wauwatosa Montessori and Wauwatosa STEM, which I helped create prior to my tenure on the board.
PHILLIPS: I have reviewed and do support the existing strategic plan developed by the board.
Kristy Casey (inc.)
Address: 635 N. 78th St.
Political history: Wauwatosa School Board 2014 to present
Phone number: 414-899-6248
Address: 2633 N. 73rd St.
Political History: None
Phone number: 414-897-2161