WFB School Board

How to contact School Board members

Frequently Asked Questions about Running for School Board in Whitefish Bay

The following information was provided by the School District.  Additional information is available at the School District office, on the School District website or at the Wisconsin Association of School Boards website.

School Board Policies 

WASB Guide for Candidates [PDF]

The Basics

How does a candidate submit their paperwork to run for the position?

Candidates submit their paperwork to the School District Business Office located inside of the Whitefish Bay High School, 1200 East Fairmount Avenue, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. These declarations are available in the Business Office and must be turned in by the deadline in to be included in the election process. These forms cannot, by law, be withdrawn once they have been turned in.

Does a candidate file the paperwork with the district office, with the village, or both? Is there a fee for filing?

The declarations must be filed with the School District.  The Village has no authority regarding the School Board Elections.

No…….there is not a filing fee.

Does a candidate need to have a treasurer for their campaign, and would they submit their accounting to the district at the end of the campaign, to the village, or to the state? 

The Campaign Registration Statement is a required part of the election filing, and it requires the candidate to have a treasurer or appoint himself or herself as the treasurer and designate one campaign depository within five business days after receiving the first contribution and before making any disbursement on behalf of his or her candidacy.

Where would a candidate look for more information about running a campaign and the legal requirements? 

The School District provides potential candidates with instructions for the completion of the “Declaration of Candidacy” and other legal requirements such as the “Campaign Finance Requirements”.

What are the residency, age, education and citizenship requirements?

  • Candidates must be Whitefish Bay residents.
  • A candidate must be over 18
  • There is no education requirement.
  • Candidates must be US citizens.

How long is a term, and how much does the job pay? 

  • A school board term is 3 years.
  • School Board members receive $1,200 annually.

How often does the school board meet?

The School Board meets at least twice a month.

Do all votes take place during School Board meetings? Can the School Board have a binding vote during a closed meeting?

  • Yes. All votes take place during School Board meetings.
  • Yes. The School Board can have a binding vote during a closed meeting.

Do School Board members have to serve on a committee, and do the committees require any extra time commitment?

  • Yes. All School Board members must serve on a committee.
  • Yes, there is an extra time commitment,  but it isn’t overwhelming.

The Experience

The following questions were addressed to members of the school board.  Answers are a combination of information received from a few members.

How did you start the process? 

“I attended school board meetings, talked to school board members, and I looked at the current top issues in our district and at the time it was the referendum. I thought about how I believed I could have the greatest impact on our schools and the referendum.“

“I was contacted by a community member and asked to run.  After that I called the district office and requested registration materials.”

“In my experience the best way to prepare for being on the school board is attending school board meetings. There are two reasons why it is helpful. (1) It teaches the process the board follows; both the meeting format and also the calendar of when the board deals with which items. (2) It teaches the range of things the board does, and does not, deal with.“

How much did it cost you to run for school board?

Expenses average around $1000-$1500; contested races can cost more. Candidates with supporters have paid very little out of pocket.  Contributions tend to be modest (around $5).

“Anyone planning to run should plan to select a responsible treasurer who is willing to learn and comply with state rules about accounting for expenses. With the advent of social media costs might come down. In contested races most people still buy yard signs, which are costly. But another typical expense is printed literature, which some candidates seem to be getting away from by using blogs, Face Book and e-mail. Printed ads seem to be rarely used anymore.  If a race is not contested, obviously, expenses can be kept to a minimum. “

How many hours a month do you commit to being on the school board?  

Generally around 10-12 hours, during big events like the superintendent search, it can be more.

Do you get much feedback from the community? 

“It’s constant but not overwhelming.”

“The amount of feedback from the community varies, depending on how connected you are with community networks.”

How are you contacted by the community?

“Mostly e-mail but by phone too.”

Do you feel your role on the school board has a positive or negative impact on your family? 

“The time commitment is tough on children – not something I’d advise for a person with smaller children or a traveling spouse.”

“The impact of board service on the family is primarily from meetings.  We meet twice a month and rarely get out before 10:00, sometimes later. This year there were a lot of additional meetings with the superintendent search and then the meetings to build the new team, but this is not typical.”

Do you feel appreciated by the community for your work?

“Yes.”

“The work can be very rewarding.”

“I feel appreciated by some people and criticized by others, but that is the nature of being an elected official. That’s why it is so important to know why you want to be on the board, so you can be open to constructive criticism but also clear in your goals for serving the community.“

If you could share one thought about being on the school board with members of the community what would it be? 

“I feel fortunate to have this experience. I can’t think of any other endeavor more worthwhile than participating in the discussions and challenges associated with the future of our children’s education.”

“I heartily agree that school board service is highly rewarding. It is rare to have the opportunity to have an impact on something that is so important to your own children and all the children in our community. It is also a pleasure to work as a team with other bright and committed individuals in our community. It is important to understand that individual board members have no “power” individually—it is the board as a team that deliberates and charts the overall direction and policies of the district.”

“In thinking about whether to run for school board, one of the most important questions a person could ask him/herself is why s/he wants to be on the board.   A clear knowledge of what is and is not within a board’s authority is helpful if a person is thinking of running to try and effect a big change.  It could be that the change he or she wants cannot be brought about at the board level, and that could quickly become frustrating.”