BY MONICA DIX —
Nate Cade is one of three candidates running for school board, with two seats up for election this spring. Cade has three children, at each of the levels of schools in the district.
One of his primary concerns as a candidate is class size, primarily in the elementary schools, but also at the intermediate and high schools. He wants to draw attention to the literal overcrowding of classrooms not built for the large classes that they are holding, logistically making it difficult for the teachers to teach.
Cade is also concerned with the financial condition of the district. He sees the district working toward a referendum, which is borrowing from the community. He sees a necessity to invest, take inventory and plan for the maintenance and other expenses the district has, so they do not have to go borrow from the community.
He also sees consultants as something that puts unnecessary strain on the budget. According to Cade, the percentage of the budget spent on consultants, which address issues like the math and science curriculum, is too high.
“A consultant tells you whatever you want to hear, that you have a problem, and they tell you how to fix it, and in the end they tell you that, ‘Oh, you’re problem’s still there and they can still fix it.’ The problem’s never done and they can always get you to do something more or add on,” Cade said. “We have an advantage, if we’re not the highest educated district, we’re at least top three in the state. Why aren’t we using those resources in the community?”
If he were elected to the board, he would slash the consultant budget, alongside re-analyzing and re-prioritizing the budget as a whole. He would use the money to reduce class sizes by hiring more aides, and use community members as preliminary advisors before a consultant is hired. He also sees the reinstatement of committees as a solution to spending less on consultants.
Cade thinks that committees would help to shorten the length of board meetings, which reach so late that sometimes few members of the public are present when it comes time for public comments. He believes that it will help to tap into the educated community members that Shorewood possesses, and allow for suggestions and advice while not detracting from the power and decision-making abilities of both the board and the administration.
“Relying solely on a consultant takes everything away from the citizens to participate,” Cade said.
He sees his willingness to ask questions as a personal strength, which is something he does not see on the current board.
“If you ask a question, you’re not challenging someone’s competence, you’re not challenging their information; you’re asking a question,” Cade said. “I don’t see the board asking the administration tough questions, … and that’s a disservice because at some point, why do we even need the board?”
Cade has served on the finance committee, and attended almost every board meeting for the past couple of years.
“I have made this a priority in my life and my family’s life for the last several years … You have to get your hands dirty, and I’ve been there getting my hands dirty,” Cade said.
Elections are Tuesday, April 5.