Mark Hughes WLS Strong  |  Board of Education

As our community is aware, November 7th will be a crucial day for our WLS District’s future moving forward.  

Some key points for voters to ponder for this upcoming election: 1). Do you believe WLS are better off than they were four years ago? 2). Has WLS established a structure of initiatives for the betterment of students? 3). Do you have confidence in the Board of Education?

In fairness to our teaching staff, I believe (and a witness to) that WLS’s teachers are one of the hardest and most effective groups of educators in Northwest Ohio and in the State of Ohio. The dedication and the success of our student population speaks for itself. 

Successful businesses understand the intricacies of their organization. If WLS are examined utilizing a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats), key components in each of these categories will be the directives that will determine the initiatives moving forward.

• S: Strong community involvement, tradition, solid family ties as evident by multi-  generational WLS graduates, enrollment increase in a metropolitan community, financially strong (rainy day fund of $24 million), structural improvements made to Whitmer High School, Monac Elementary, & McGregor Elementary, one of the best sport(s) facilities/auditorium in the State of Ohio.

• W: Building structures, over-crowding in buildings especially in the elementary schools, property tax burden, State of Ohio funding & report card structure.

• O: Ohio Facilities Construction Commission has agreed to pay at least 70% of all new construction in the district (likely a bond levy will be needed for the remaining 30%), technology advancements (potential grant writing for students to have tablets/Chromebook), engaging our frontline staff (teachers) to “think outside of the box” for initiatives that meet the needs of WLS students, improve transparency, increase parental involvement, and restore confidence in the Board of Education.

• T: WLS are capped under the current State of Ohio’s financial structure – WLS doesn’t receive funding for all ~7,100 students (2,000+ students WLS doesn’t receive funding for under the current structure), loss of $45 million owed to WLS because of being capped, voucher programs, charter schools, overcrowding in buildings impeding the ability to reduce class size, community confidence, and the five-year financial forecast projecting deficit spending each of those years.

My platform hasn’t augmented much from my 2015 Board of Education run. What I want the taxpayers, parents, community, & alumni to understand is my mission is based on the SWOT analysis (above) of our great district. I want to work collaboratively with our superintendent and four other Board of Education members to move WLS forward. Listed below are my targeted platform goals:

• Lobby our elected officials and work as a team with fellow Board of Education colleagues to challenge and/or join forces with like school districts in the State of Ohio facing similar financial challenges due to capitation. 

• Continue conversations about the pitfalls vouchers and charter schools have on public education especially when they perform much lower than neighboring school districts. 

• Foster relationships with local universities to provide our students learning opportunities that meet their individual needs. In addition, adopting technology as a resource in tablets/Chromebooks that will assist in providing equity to ALL students of WLS. 

• Transparency along with solid communication with the community to restore confidence especially as an operational tax levy is on the horizon. Ensuring measures are established that can help with required testing (which I believe is unfair by the State and not measuring true achievement of students rather demonstrating success of socio-economical statuses).

• Encouraging a district wide study what is the best avenue for any and all new building construction with the opportunity to receive 70% funding from the State.