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Opponents, Audience Target School Board Candidate at Forum

Cegielski comes under fire for drunken driving arrests, opposition to referendum and more.

Residents in the have a lot to think about before they head to the polls next week, but at a candidates forum Tuesday, about the only thing on their minds was Andrew Cegielski.

The 27-year-old candidate, one of three people running for two seats on the School Board, was the focus of much of evening - as audience members and his opponents riddled him with questions about his two drunken driving arrests, his views on school finance, his opposition to the upcoming referendum and his lack of experience.

"As a parent, it's becoming more and more glaring to me, as I listen to Andrew, I don't understand why he's running," candidate Joe Kasle said. "The thought of a School Board member who has been pulled over not once, but twice, is no role model for my children."

The wforum at Nicolet High School was sponsored by Fox Point-Bayside Patch. At  times it was heated and included occasional outbursts from the audience, requiring Cegielski address the issue of his criminal record.

"Three years ago, I made some poor choices and I was pulled over for a DUI," he said. "Over the course of three months, I got a second DUI. It’s not something I’m proud of. I’ve learned from it, though."

Cegielski also was the only one of the three candidates to oppose the referendum that will be on Tuesday's ballot, calling for spending $2.15 million annually over the next five years.

"It represents a stop-gap measure for those costs that are set in stone," he said. "We should have the power to live within our means and the referendum was not necessarily the best way to start that process."

"Can I burst your bubble?" Kasle asked. "Do you believe the crap you’re spewing? If we cut $1.3 million out of this budget, where’s that going to come from? What’s going to happen next year? In your own little world of looking beyond your nose, look a little further beyond that." 

Cegielski said he would like to see math and science classes become four-year requirements, as he sees technology as a basis for future jobs. But Kasle questioned Cegielski's financial capacity to understand where the funds for additional classes would be found.

"Where’s the money going to come from to pay those teachers?" Kasle asked. "If we don’t pass the referendum, how are you going to sustain what we have today, let alone, implement some of these ideas, which are good ideas?"

Kasle questioned Cegielski's choice to run for a Nicolet School Board seat since he has no children in the district and never attended Nicolet. Both he and candidate Morton Grodsky suggested that Cegielski may have ulterior motives for running for the board.

To emphasis that point, Grodsky brought up a letter the Cegielski sent to local radio talk show hosts in which he links the Nicolet referendum to efforts to recall state Sen. Alberta Darling.

The letter said in part: "If the district gets this money, it will embolden the liberals who are now in the midst of recall efforts and judicial challenges."

"There’s no room for a political agenda on a school board - zero. It doesn’t work," Kasle said.

"In terms of an agenda, there's no question this gentleman, Mr. Cegielski, has an agenda," Grodsky said. "His agenda is to sacrifice our children for his own personal, political beliefs."

But Cegielski defended his actions.

"We have to, in many ways, show our young people education is a lot about emulation, about looking to your elders and seeing what they would do in certain circumstances," he said.

He added that the effort to recall Darling is a waste of time and money since she her term expires in 2012.

"My letter to those individuals, talk show hosts or whatever, represents not only my voice but a lot of people's voices," Cegielski said.

Kay April 03, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Thank you, I think I've figured out how to maneuver the site better.
Seven of Nine April 04, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Kay, in response to one of your earlier comments, I agree that it would be lovely for the "local paper" to publish an article about where all the money goes. It might become clear to you then that there is no mystery about this, and that your assertions that teachers are overpaid is a matter of opinion and not fact. Speaking of facts, I would also like to reply to your comment about cell phone use in Nicolet High School. Earlier in these comments some student was willing to speak up and give reasons why a class size of 24 -28 is not good for learners. School policy is that cell phones are not to be used in class and I know many students who follow this policy to the letter. I am just as sure that many of them would give up their cell phones as you are sure that they would not. In addition, this is not college, this is high school. I can tell you that many studies have been done on classroom size from Pre-K through grade 12. They overwhelmingly indicate that actual learning suffers as class size increases. But please don't take my word for it. I will not insult you by referencing them here - just visit http://www.classsizematters.org/research.html for some clear and research based information. And by the way, you could put your full name on your posts.
Objective Taxpayer April 04, 2011 at 02:27 AM
The fact of the matter is that there are strong opinions about these issues. As a result, candidates are passionate about their positions. This election is not about personalities. None of us have to be best friends with the school board members. At the end of the day, when it comes time to vote, you must evaluate who has the requisite experience to fulfill the job. Can a 27 year old that has been in the district one year; who has no relevant experience; who has had nothing to do with the school, teachers, faculty, administration, or school board during his tenure as a resident; and who has a criminal record be the best possible candidate? I think not. Mr. Kasle only got upset during the forum when Mr. Ceglieski claimed that he was not in favor of the referendum and then in the next sentence said he wanted to start new programs for science, technology and math. It is not possible to have it both ways. The district lacks sufficient funds to sustain what we have, let alone add new programs. Mr. Grodsky got upset because of Mr. Ceglieski's admitted objective to derail the Alberta Darling recall. Mr. Ceglieski does not have the district, the school, or the children in his best interests; and as pointed out by Mr. Grodsky, has an entirely different political agenda. Finally, Kay, private schools are not required to provide special education services; Whitefish Bay doesn't provide busing and is a k-12 district; are there other facts you might have overlooked?
Kay April 05, 2011 at 04:55 PM
You are right in stating that private schools are not required to provide special education services. That does not however mean that they do not.. And in my recollection, when ever public schools are tight on money they threaten to derail special education classes as a tactic to get the money they need. Please do not insult my intelligence by making excuses for Mr. Kasle's actions . Would you rather have a young man who is learning to help a community be the best it can be, or a so called upstanding citizen hot head making decisions about our kids future. Everyone has to make sacrifices in these times. It is not Mr. Cegielski's fault that fiscal irresponsibility is running rampant in our country. Nicolet will still be a great school with out new money being thrown at it each year..
Ari Kasle May 03, 2011 at 05:48 AM
Alright, so joe kasle is actually my dad and I just want to say that although many of the posts here have bashed his behavior during the forum, I just want everyone to know that he really is a mild mannered individual. When he talks about school board he gets really passionate about it, and I can't blame him. Nicolet is kind of in a mess right now. So, although I do not condone my dad's actions i know that he has the community's best interests at heart

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