March 30, 2020 – West Bend, WI – Three West Bend School Board members are up for re-election on April 7 (Nancy Justman, Joel Ongert, and Tonnie Schmidt). This threesome was originally voted into office promising conservative leadership. They are hardly conservative.
Here are some of their fiscal decisions. Superintendent Olson resigned two years early, and we discovered later the school board paid him over $300,000 to buy out his contract. Salary increases were given to all teachers with no regard to performance or ingenuity. The school board insisted on pursuing a referendum last year that would cost taxpayers $74,000,000 (including interest) on top of $32 million of existing debt left over from previous school referendums. This was pushed despite declining enrollment that may shrink 2,000 students in the next 10 years.
After the referendum failed, a task force of experts volunteered to research and offer alternatives for dealing with the deferred maintenance of many schools. Their proposals could be accomplished without increased spending or raising taxes. The current board members shelved those ideas and are now looking at another referendum that might commit taxpayers to build two new schools.
While the school board plans for new buildings, test scores are sliding in our district. West Bend students scored below other local schools in the 2018-19 Wisconsin FORWARD tests (jsonline, 9-11-19). East and West were surpassed by conference high schools in the Wisconsin State Report Card Scores (Hartford Chronicle, Nov. 2019). Slinger and Cedarburg districts spend much less money per pupil, but their students outperform ours (Daily News, July 26, 2019).
The make-up of this school board needs to be changed. The members have not listened to voters or the task force and have not represented the conservative nature of our community.
Our students and taxpayers need Jody Geenen, who will propose fiscally sound and conservative alternatives in the face of declining enrollment and downward test scores. Vote only for Jody Geenen, who is the right choice for School Board on April 7. In fact, don’t wait; try to vote early at City Hall or request an absentee ballot.
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