School Board Candidate Profile: Mike Welch

Mike Welch is one of six candidates running for three positions on the RBHS school board.  Elections will be held in April.  Welch is currently serving as a member of the board.

Courtesy of Mike Welch

Mike Welch is one of six candidates running for three positions on the RBHS school board. Elections will be held in April. Welch is currently serving as a member of the board.

Mike Welch, School Board Candidate

Tell Clarion about your background, focusing on information that might be relevant to voters.

I have a BS in Accounting and a Master in Accounting-Taxation.  I am currently a revenue agent with the Internal Revenue Service and have been an agent for almost 29 years.  I have served my community as a volunteer in various capacities, from my church to youth groups and beyond for the last 15+ years.  I was elected to the District 208 school board almost 4 years ago.

What made you decide to run for RB school board? If you are a sitting board member, you can either explain why you originally ran, why you are running again, or both.

Four years ago I was uneasy about what was happening at the high school.  There were various issues developing, but what piqued my interest was the fact that the school was running out of money.  When I was elected, I found that the issues ran much deeper than what was being revealed at the surface.

I decided to run again because many issues, most importantly, having quality education that is financially sustainable has not been resolved.

What is one attribute that you have that sets you apart from the other candidates? Why?

I believe that each individual willing to contribute the number of hours it takes to serve on the board of education is deserving of your consideration.  Over the last four years I have demonstrated this willingness to serve my community.  In addition, I believe that am a person of integrity and a promoter of transparency.  My integrity was formed from my parents, including my mother who worked at Riverside Brookfield High School about 40 years ago.  This integrity is with me in my daily work as a government agent.  My work in the legal system helps me bring justice for the citizens of this great country.  Finally, since before I even decided to run for the board of education, I have and continue to advocate for openness and financial transparency at RBHS.

What do you see as the single greatest challenge facing RB right now? How would you like to see the Board address that challenge?

The single greatest challenge is providing a community high school that provides quality education that is financially sustainable.  As a board, in the last several years we have been addressing the backroom deals and hallway handshakes that have prevented the district from achieving this goal.  We continuously address these issues and I believe the board will continue to move this process forward.

RB has undergone many changes over the last several years in order to lower expenses including the shrinking of its teaching staff, an overall increase in class size, and the elimination of several clubs. What changes, if any, do you see RB making or needing to make in the next few years? Why?

In the past, the board had approved a stream of expenses without the necessary stream of income, resulting in the current budgeting situation.  The result has been the changes you have seen over the last several years.  When salary and benefits are the largest portion of the budget, then naturally the teaching staff will decrease when expenses need to be brought in line with revenue.  When I was elected to the board almost four years ago, there were no reports as to average class size by department or average class size overall.  The board passed a class size approval policy to deal with this issue.   I expect the board to continue to monitor this aspect and provide quality education while keeping as many after school opportunities for students that we can.   What happens in the next few years will only be know after the new teacher’s contract is finalized.

Is there anything else you would like the RB community to know about you as a person and as a nominee?

I want RB to be the best high school it can be.  I have lived in this community for almost 25 years.  I have no plans to move out of the RB community because I believe this is the best place to live.

Four years ago I told the community that I would do what is right as their elected school board member.  I believe that I have made good on this.