Over the next several weeks, leading up to the April 7 elections for Marshfield Common Council and School Board, Hub City Times will interview the candidates running for those offices so that readers may learn more about who is running and what they stand for. This week we interviewed Marshfield School Board candidate Tom Buttke.
Hub City Times: What in your view is the duty of a school board member?
Tom Buttke: The duty of a school board member is to set policy and budgets, to think outside the box to make tough choices to maintain our great school system we have.
HCT: What is the biggest challenge that the school board will face in the near future?
TB: The biggest challenge that the school board will face in the near future is to find a way to do the maintenance that is necessary to keep our schools and facilities up to date. To defer maintenance is one thing, but to ignore it is wrong. We cannot afford new schools, so we have to maintain what we have.
The override referendum is coming up, and I have been asked what is my take on this is. My response is if necessary, but it is too early to make that choice. We have to look outside the box to make tough choices and look at all alternatives. We also have to get a wage plan for our teachers that was promised before this school year started but not delivered.
We are losing good teachers to other districts, and we need to be competitive, not excessive, but competitive and fair. We have added jobs in the administration office, not sure that was a good idea at this time. We have to be very open so our taxpayers can see what happens at our school board meetings. We must walk the walk, not just the talk.
HCT: What qualifies you to be a member of the Marshfield School Board?
TB: What qualifies me to be a member of the Marshfield School Board is that I have been on the Marshfield Common Council for 15 years and have faced many tough decisions. I think for myself and am not afraid to ask the tough questions and not afraid to stand up for what I believe. I have a business degree and was in charge of maintenance at my jobs and assistant wastewater superintendant and as wastewater superintendant.
I have received maintenance and operation awards from state and federal agencies. I have dealt with many budgets. I have made the tough choices for what is best in the short term and long term.
My wife and I attended the Marshfield school system. All three of our children attended our schools, and my grandchildren are or will be attending our schools. I have served on many volunteer organizations in our community. I am not influenced by how other school board members vote. My voice will be heard on the school board. I come up with ideas on how to save money for the district.