By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Mar 02, 2011 at 5:18 AM

School board elections take place on April and in District 8 there are three candidates and, therefore, a primary on Feb. 15. In order to help you make a more informed decision at the polls in this race, which often flies under the radar, we've asked each of the 11 candidates -- running for five seats on the 9-member board (there are eight regional districts and one at-large seat) -- to respond to a list of questions and we will run them in the weeks leading up to the election.

Next up is Gerald S. Glazer, who is running in District 2, against incumbent Jeff Spence. The district is on the city's near northwest side. A map of districts is here. Tell us about your background and how your experience will be an asset to the Milwaukee Public Schools board.

Gerald Glazer: I have taught math at the college level, so I know something about education. I also have substantial experience in real estate and finance, which will be useful in dealing with the financial aspects of school governance.

OMC: Are you a graduate of MPS or other public schools? Do or did you have kids in MPS?

GG: I am a graduate of Milwaukee Washington High School, class of June 1960.

My children -- all adults now -- did not attend MPS.

OMC: What do you think is the biggest issue facing MPS and what is your plan of attack?

GG: The biggest issue is our abysmal graduation rate; only about half of all ninth grade students ever graduate. We must learn from other large urban school systems that do better.

OMC: What is your opinion on talk of expanding the voucher and Milwaukee Parental Choice Program?

GG: Before even considering expansion of school choice, the state should do three things:

  1. Change the funding formula so that choice and charter students are counted as MPS enrollees when allocating state aid, before deducting the actual cost of the programs.
  2. Eliminate failing schools (based on test scores) from the voucher program.
  3. Include qualified suburban private schools in the program.

OMC: Is there an opportunity for MPS to hold on to students and even draw some back via expansion of specialty schools or other means?

GG: Yes.

OMC: How will you work to engage parents in their schools?

GG: Ask the PTA groups for suggestions on this.

OMC: How do you think MPS can best expand on the successes in the current system?

GG: Give more public recognition to students who succeed.

OMC: There has been much discussion lately of vacant MPS buildings. What is your opinion on the future of these buildings?

GG: They should be sold or leased to private schools, unless the superintendent has a specific plan to use certain buildings within the next two years.

OMC: Finally, do you think spring school board elections are problematic? Do they guarantee low turnout at the polls?

GG: No. If we want larger turnout at school board elections, schedule them at the same time as those for mayor. Elect all board members for the same 4-year terms.