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President's Corner

Hello everyone! I am excited to be elected as the new President of the Eau Claire School Board. Here in the “President’s Corner” section of the website, I will share regular updates about my activities and about various topics of interest to students and families in the District. 

For over 160 years, Eau Claire’s public schools have been a crucial foundation of our community. A source of joy and inspiration, where the young and young at heart may savor the promise and challenge of the future. While we do face a great deal of systemic challenges, we have so many opportunities as well. We are living in an unprecedented time of connectivity and engagement - a new “Era of Innovation.” We have the chance to harness this opportunity.
 
As your President, I will encourage us all to be dreamers and innovators every day - to think outside the box and always seek to explore new opportunities.
 
As your President, I will frequently emphasize that we are the largest government entity in the Chippewa Valley in terms of our facilities, budget, and number of staff employed. We are a larger organization than any area city, county, or school district. We have a larger budget and employ more people than the area university and the technical college. We are also the eighth largest school district in Wisconsin, the third largest employer in the region, and we spend over $21 million with 610 area businesses every year. We are a true economic driver. I am telling you these things because the ECASD must consistently establish our role as a leading public entity in the Chippewa Valley - an institution that is bringing the community into the future through forward-thinking policies, innovative programs, and exciting methods of education. We must always be given a seat at the table as a crucial stakeholder. And if we aren’t given a chair to sit at, we are going to bring one.
 
Our District is truly the “Tomorrowland” of Eau Claire, building the future before our eyes.
 
The most powerful and important word in our District is the word, WE. Together, we have much to achieve. A great tomorrow is truly just a dream away, and I know that we will get there by working together.
 

Remembering Harvey - November 27th
Today, I want to honor the life and legacy of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Bernard Milk on the 40th anniversary of his untimely death by assassination. Harvey Milk approached public service the same way he approached his life: authentically and selflessly, and his election in 1977 as the first openly gay man elected to major public office in the United States marked an important moment for LGBTQ political representation, inspiring countless LGBTQ people to follow in his footsteps.
Representation is power, and our country is at its best when decision-making bodies – school boards, city councils, state legislatures, the judiciary, and Congress – represent the full spectrum of America’s diversity, a goal that Harvey Milk strived toward every day of his life.
Today, I call on the students, staff, and families of the Eau Claire Area School District to celebrate the life of Harvey Milk by standing in solidarity with LGBTQ people throughout the United States and becoming a champion for full LGBTQ equality in the Eau Claire Community.
Forty years after his death, Harvey Milk’s tireless efforts to improve people’s lives through public service not only makes him a trailblazer but the standard that all public servants should aspire to. When faced with challenges and opportunities to help make our community a better place, let's #RememberHarvey.

Joe Luginbill

School Board President

First openly gay School Board member in Eau Claire history

Youngest openly LGBTQ elected official in Wisconsin history

 


Supporting LGBTQ students.
 
I’m pleased to share that the practice of ‘conversion therapy’ has been banned throughout the city of Eau Claire. Eau Claire supports LGBTQ youth!
 
Such practices have previously been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades, but due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.
 
On September 24, 2018, The Eau Claire School Board unanimously (7-0) passed a policy clause stating, in part: "The Eau Claire Area School District shall exclusively enter into agreements with health clinics and/or providers that agree to abide by the District’s Nondiscrimination Policy for Students - Policy 411. The District shall prohibit the practice of "Conversion Therapy" (as defined by the American Psychological Association) by school branch office therapists."
 
On October 9, 2018, the Eau Claire City Council unanimously (9-0) passed an ordinance creating Chapter 8.08, entitled “Conversion Therapy Prohibited”, of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Eau Claire. This ordinance bans the use of conversion therapy on minors in Eau Claire. It states, in part: "This ordinance is adopted to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of the City of Eau Claire, especially the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, and to protect them against the exposure to serious harms caused by conversion therapy. It is unlawful for any person to practice conversion therapy with anyone under 18 years of age.”
 
I encourage everyone to check out a new online resource in our region - OKtoBeYou.org. This site includes helpful links and information for LGBTQ youth in our community. The “Room to be Safe” LGBTQ Resource Line is also now available to youth in the Chippewa Valley. Call or text (414) 856-5428, and an LGBTQ advocate will respond with support, resources, and referrals.
 
To all LGBTQ students in our school district, we care about you. There is hope and help! It’s OK to be you!
 

“Celebrating our Teachers”
 
They taught us how to read, write, think critically & pursue our dreams. Happy World Teachers Day to all who shape a better future! This is a cherished picture with my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Krenz at Roosevelt Elementary School. She encouraged us to work hard, be true to ourselves & dream big. She nudged me to run for 4th grade classroom president and was the first person to endorse my election for school board 11 years later. Our 11,400 students are so fortunate to have such dedicated, compassionate teachers in the ECASD! Let’s all take a minute to thank a teacher and celebrate the work they do!