BELOIT - If elected to the School District of Beloit Board of Education, newcomer Joe Walls, 32, said he will bring a parent's perspective and representation from the West Side of Beloit to his post. Walls is a write-in candidate.
"I want the community to feel they have a place at the table. I want to be that conduit," Walls said.
Walls is one of eight candidates running for four positions on the board of education in April.
Walls graduated from Beloit Memorial High School in 2004. He and his wife, Andrea, have two children, a 3-year-old and a 1-year old. He is self-employed as a carrier delivering for the Janesville Gazette, Beloit Daily News and Shopping News. In the past he was an active volunteer at Peoples Church and is working online to become a pastor.
With his children getting closer to school age, Walls said he is becoming concerned about leadership squabbles and challenges in the district such as academic progress.
Walls is in favor or reducing class sizes for better instruction and discipline and would be open to re-examining the number of administrators in the district.
"We are kind of top-heavy in some regards," Walls said. "For every administrator that you (cut), you could save two to three teachers. I would want to carefully look at that."
Walls is also supportive of measures to crack down on bullying. He is supportive of efforts to make parents liable for fines as a last resort, if their children are bullying and no other disciplinary efforts to stop the bullying have worked. He said bullying is an issue many parents are concerned about in the district.
"Ultimately the schools are open to teach and students need to feel safe," he said.
Walls said he's concerned about what he called the overall growth of floor space in the district including the construction of the new welcome center.
"We keep building buildings and asking for additional money," he said. "A lot of parents are concerned about the administration building."
Having never held elected office before, Walls said he won't come in with any agenda. He said he's a man of his word and carries integrity.
He said the district has many challenges and he wants to be part of the solution. He said he's excited to launch his campaign and engage with the public. He believes Beloit's school district can improve with the right approach.
"It can be a shining example how an urban district with challenges can be a success," he said.