School Board Candidate Responses – 2019

Personal background information.
  • Name
  • Occupation
  • List any community activities you are involved with

Stephanie Carlin: Member, Board of Education, Oshkosh Area School District.
Occupation: Part-time writer/consultant, full time mother of three kids in the Oshkosh Area School District.
Board Member, YMCA Board of Directors.
Board Member, Oshkosh for Education.

Liz Szilagyi: Candidate: Liz Szilagyi
Occupation: Currently taking a leave of absence from teaching so I can be at home with my young children.
Community Activities: Oakwood PTO Board Member, JustServe(dot)org Oshkosh Representative

1. When the OASD has funding shortfalls in upcoming budget years that force the District to cut education programs and/or classes, what aspects of current school district operations can be discontinued?

Stephanie Carlin: It is my hope that we do not have funding shortfalls and are able to stay within our budgetary constraints.

Liz Szilagyi: Our district needs to look at what costs are multiplicitous. We separately need to consider where there are inefficiencies. Every financial decision we make should support our efforts to make Oshkosh a destination school district.

2. Please list the top strategic issues that the Oshkosh Area School District faces.

Stephanie Carlin: We are currently working on our strategic plan. We worked closely with the business leaders and Oshkosh4Education to gather community input. I am excited to see the final results that will be presented to the board in the upcoming weeks.

Liz Szilagyi: The top strategic issue is making Oshkosh a destination district. Our district should be the place where people want to work, locate their businesses, and educate their children.

3. What priorities will guide your actions as fiscal pressures impact facilities, staffing, programs and services?

Stephanie Carlin: My priority is our students. Every decision I make is based on what is best for our students.

Liz Szilagyi: I have adopted a growth mindset. Oshkosh Area School District needs to compete with neighboring districts. Our schools can attract talent to reside in Oshkosh and help our community continue to develop. As we do this our economic outlook will continue to expand, providing the means to improve the attractiveness of our education opportunities in the future.

4. Who is the primary customer of the Oshkosh Area School District?

Stephanie Carlin: Since education isn’t a business, I don’t think we have just one customer. The community as a whole is our customer. Every person and business has a stake in our educational system. Our schools are the foundation of a strong community and can be an economic driver. When families choose to enroll students in the OASD our community benefits.

Liz Szilagyi: I believe the primary beneficiary of OASD is our entire community. The community itself has various stakeholder groups who each derive benefits. Students gain an education that prepares them for further formal education, training, and experience. Commerce benefits from educated participants who are capable of learning and applying skills. Taxpayers benefit when graduates utilize their education to build a thriving community.

5. With the new administration in Madison, there have been discussions of re-instituting the former collective bargaining law for public sector employees in Wisconsin. Do you support this? Why or why not?

Stephanie Carlin: The school board upholds decisions made in Madison.

Liz Szilagyi: Act 10 is the current law, and the school board upholds the law.

6. A recent Facility Condition Assessment for the Oshkosh Area School District estimated over $100 million of facility improvement projects for our area school building. Please discuss your thoughts on how to address these improvements. Will there be a facilities referendum in the near future?

Stephanie Carlin: It is too soon to answer this question. We are in the middle of a comprehensive facilities study and are evaluating capacity and maintenance issues in every school. The ultimate goal is to develop a facilities plan in the upcoming year.

Liz Szilagyi: We need to develop decision criteria that addresses capacity and growth analysis and optimal education value. We must create a blueprint for the future before we fix the facilities we have at the present. The decision making process needs to be a collaborative effort that values transparent consideration of varying perspectives.

7. This past year, the OASD went out on an open bid process for its group health insurance program. Network Health, a local health insurance provider and a Wisconsin-based company co-owned by two high quality health care systems (Froedtert Health and Ministry Health Care), was the low bidder. Their proposal would have saved the OASD over $4 million. However, the OASD chose to remain with its current health insurance provider. As a member of the OASD Board of Education and given a comparable proposal, would you vote to change the District’s group health insurance provider? Please discuss your answer.

Stephanie Carlin: Please see following link for upcoming plans related to health care.

Liz Szilagyi: I would vote to change the group health insurance provider if we received comparable coverage at a lower price.