Fox Point — As of June 20, the Fox Point-Bayside School District had three applicants for the School Board seat left open by board president Debbie Friberg’s recent resignation: Kelly Greer Levin, Dann Jacobson, and David Smulyan, who ran unsuccesfully in the spring election.
In late-May, Friberg announced she would be stepping down before she and her family move to Charlotte, N.C., creating a vacancy through April 2015. The district began taking applications for the open seat almost immediately, with a deadline of June 10.
Three community members applied: Kelly Greer Levin, a mother of three children in the district and co-founder of jewelry design/manufacturing business Random Balance; Dann Jacobson, a father of two district children who is a 23-year teacher at Nicolet and has been the seventh-grade girls volleyball coach at Bayside for the past two years; David Smulyan, a father of two district children, founder and president of management consulting company Optimal Solutions Squared, Bayside Planning Commissioner, and member of the district's Parent Advisory Council; and David Braeger, a district parent and financial-sector CEO who has gained notoriety lately as a vocal critic of the School Board and administration, whose criticism culminated in a recall election he filed papers for but later called off.
Jacobson turned his application June 18. Smulyan applied June 20.
On June 6 the application deadline was extended to June 21 in an effort to, according to an email from Superintendent Rachel Boechler, "allow for a larger pool of applicants." Braeger's application was dated June 2, while Levin's was dated June 8, making Braeger the only applicant at the time the deadline was extended.
The extension led Braeger to repeatedly accuse the School Board, and later Boechler, of unethical behavior, abuse of power and violation of state election guidelines.
"If it is the case that an extension was made because members of the board are trying to find anyone to serve instead of me, this goes against every aspect of our state's democratic process," Braeger wrote in a June 11 email to the School Board.
Boechler later responded to Braeger by saying two members of the School Board had made the decision to extend the deadline. She added that the extension was approved by the district's attorney, and that "I personally have no vested interest in who the new board member is as I will not be employed by the district after June 30."
Frustrated by the process and what he saw as unethical behavior, Braeger announced last week he was withdrawing his application for the seat, leaving Levin as the one remaining applicant.
"When we have a referendum, more teacher layoffs and more absurd scheduling and curriculum changes next year, I will be able to say that I put my money where my mouth is," Braeger said in a statement. "For now I am going to focus on further building my business and go golfing. This is a very sad period of time for our district."