Friday, April 5, 2013

West Bend Superintendent asks JFC for More Money

Yesterday, Ted Neitzke told the JFC that West Bend has used all the tools from Act 10, and requested a yearly increase of $150 per pupil.
I have a couple of questions for Mr. Neitzke:
1. Have you considered restructuring the current employee OPEB liability? I.e. begin weaning off employees who were hired 5, 10, 15, etc. years ago, so they pay more for their retirement benefits? Wouldn't this potentially save millions of dollars?
2. Have you utilized health savings accounts to the full extent to limit future health costs of employees?
3. Will new money from the state be used for teacher raises? After all, we already have tremendous programming in West Bend.

West Bend has used some tools from Governor Walker's Act 10 at one point, but why stop now? Act 10 is a living Act. District's will do well to continue using it.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

 11:35 AM 

West Bend superintendent backs per pupil increase

Ted Neitzke, superintendent of West Bend's schools, echoed calls from Kettle Moraine officials to back a plan to increase per pupil funding by $150 as proposed by GOP Sens. Luther Olsen of Ripon -- who's here today with JFC -- and Mike Ellis of Neenah.

He said, like the Kettle Moraine district, West Bend utilized every tool provided by the governor and lawmakers under Act 10, and that the Ellis-Olsen proposal would provide his district with the flexibility at the local level to address budgetary concerns.

-- By Andy Szal Posted @ 11:35 AM |

Monday, December 10, 2012

Board Meeting Packed with Support for Coach

There was standing room only at tonight's board meeting. Parents and students were at the meeting in support of what was reported as a fired wresting coach. An unnamed female student said he was fired for reprimanding a student. Several spoke in support of the coach, stating that he was a coach who, "straightened out students who needed it", and "he worked hard to ensure students become decent citizens".
Those who spoke were allowed to speak because of a new policy adopted recently by the Board that allows participants 2 minutes to address the board on a non-agenda item. The Board cannot respond but listens to the concerns of citizens.

Contract approved with Spiros Industries, Inc.

Tonight the West Bend School Board approved a 3 year contract with Spiros Industries, Inc, a company that manufactures springs. Spiros donated a manufacturing machine to the district and will begin a manufacturing course that will teach the manufacturing business to students. They will learn the process of this business beginning with taking orders to production and shipping. According to the staff at Spiros, this partnership will give students real-life manufacturing experiences with real production in the real world.
Forty percent of West Bend high school graduates do not attend college. This new partnership gives students opportunities to learn a trade and acquire job skills that will help them become employed after graduation. This seems like a good thing.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gender separation for sensitive sexual topics on agenda Monday night

Location: Education Service Center, 735 S. Main Street, West Bend
5:30 pm, Fishbowl Conference Room

Agenda Item Details

Oct 08, 2012 - Committee of the Whole
Gender-based Human Growth & Development instruction

Topic and Background:  A survey was developed that gave parents of students currently in grades 6-7-8 information about the 8th grade Human Growth and Development curriculum.  The survey then asked parents to share their feedback about gender separation for specific topics in the HGD Health curriculum.

Rationale (General Purpose): Mr. Pauli, Chief Academic Officer, will share the results of the survey with the Committee and determine next steps in the process.

The survey was sent to all families of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.  482 responses to the survey were collected.  Of those responses 63.5% indicated that they would prefer that students be separated by gender for instruction on specific topics and 36.5% indicated that they preferred students receive the instruction in co-ed classes.
Budget: None

Recommended Next Steps:  Based on the feedback from parents, and input from members of the Board of Education we will start to gender separate students for instruction on the topics of:  The Reproductive System, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Birth Control Methods, beginning with the current 8th grade students.

The survey was sent to all families if they have a 6th, 7th, or 8th grade student. 482 responses to the
survey were collected. There are about 1,450 middle school families with about 33% of the families
responding to the survey.
Of those responding 63.5% indicated that they would prefer that students be separated by gender for
instruction on specific topics and 36.5% indicated that they preferred students receive the instruction in
co‐ed classes.
As a parent of a current or upcoming 8th grade student would you prefer that concepts about: 1)
The Reproductive System, 2) Sexually Transmitted Infections, and 3) Birth Control Methods be
taught in gender separated classes or as they are now in co‐ed classes.

Parent Survey Results: (worth reading)$file/HGD%20Survey%20Comments.pdf$file/HGD%20Survey%20Results.pdf

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Administrator Smaks Down Board

Someone, please tell me, what is this really all about? Some Board members asked to discuss separating by gender the middle and high school kids for certain portions of Sex Ed. You know, the talk on, as one board member put it, "Part A goes into part B and produces the phenomena of C and produces X and Y". Of course, real terms are used, but you get the graphic picture. Also included in the  proposed gender separation, was the condom, etc. demos and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. All in all, this takes about 2 or 3 days of the Human Growth and Development course. The Board members asked for a very small thing in the scheme of the school year, and it would only encompass 8th and 10th grades (grades 4 and 5 already separate by gender).
The four Board members who liked this idea were VP Williams, Clerk Weigand, Pheng, and Treasurer Parks. President Marquardt said very little and seemed on the fence, and Miller and Seitzer were very much opposed.
Some of the reasons the members gave for wanting gender separation were:
*Better discussions will be generated. It will be less stifling with boys and girls separated during these discussions.
*It is an innovative way to support better schools.
*Protection of children, especially the most shy and easily embarrassed
*Keeps the dignity and modesty intact, especially girls
*It is very doable with minimal changes to current way course is taught
*Some in community are shocked this isn't already being done
*It will allow kids the most comfortable setting to ask questions
*Why not try it, we might be surprised at how well it works!

By state statute, the school board must make the decision about whether or not to separate kids by gender for all or part of this course. Here is where I am totally confused. Why would a district administrator(s) fight this?
The director of curriculum, who makes well over $100,000.00 annually with salary and benefits, was red-faced as she chastised the board toward the end of the meeting.
One job of the board is to carry out mandatory laws of the state, which they were doing by deciding about this issue. They are also to determine policies to guide the administrators. They also approve the employment of all personnel with whom contracts are required (that is, they are the bosses of the administration)
It was a shocking event to see a red-faced administrator badgering the Board about their decision.
It leads me to ask again, "What is this really all about?"
Let's put this into context. This is just a couple of days from the school year. No curriculum changes were requested from any board member. The board members who liked this idea gave very good reasons why they wished to see this implemented. By law, it is their decision. The Board knew the administration was not recommending this change, but 4 members liked the idea. Finally, after sufficient badgering from the administration, it was decided to send out a survey asking parents if they are aware the class is not separated by gender in 8th and 10th grade, and if they would prefer that it is. Amazing, for 2 or 3 days of instruction, a survey is sent out! Weigand requested the Board have input into the survey. Neitzke commented, "It's your right."
Again, why would an administrator get so emotional and chastise the board for "mandating" this and taking away "choice"? Why would the Superintendent sit back and allow this? What is this really all about? I don't get it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Surprise, Surprise! The administration speaks...

The administration of the West Bend School District recommends keeping mixed company in sex ed class, even during condom demos, discussions about sexually transmitted diseases and very, very intimate details, among kids as young as 12 years old:

The WBSD administration is recommending that the Human Growth and Development Unit continue to be taught to heterogeneous groups of students in the Health I and II courses.
This will be discussed Monday night:
Committee of the Whole
Monday, September 10, 2012
Location: Education Service Center, 735 S. Main Street, West Bend
5:45 pm, Fishbowl Conference Room

Sep 10, 2012 - Committee of the Whole
Gender-based Human Growth & Development instruction

Public Content

Topic and Background: 
According to Wisconsin State Statute 118.33, at least a half [0.5] credit of health education is required for high school graduation.  This credit must be successfully completed sometime between grades 7-12.
Currently in the West Bend School District the half credit of health education is divided into two courses: Health I (offered in 8th grade for ¼ credit) and Health II (offered in 10th grade for ¼ credit).  The instructional delivery model for these courses is as follows:
  • Health I (Grade 8; ¼ credit): One semester every other day.  Large group “traditional” classroom instruction.
  • Health II (Grade 10; ¼ credit): One quarter every day.  Large group “traditional” classroom instruction.
Wisconsin State Statute 118.019 references the Human Growth and Development instruction administered within the health education course(s).  The West Bend School District health courses contain one unit on Human Growth and Development. The design of these units is as follows:
Course Name
Unit Title
Duration of Unit
Health I Human Growth and Development
14 Days
  • Abstinence
  • Systems of the body/endocrine puberty and hygiene
  • Development of the Fetus
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Birth Control
  • Media/Technology
  • Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships (dating)
  • Marriage
Health II Human Relationships and Sexuality
9 Days
  • Choosing Abstinence and Relationships
  • The Reproductive System
  • Marriage
  • Date and Acquaintance Rape
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s)
  • Birth Control Methods
Grade 4
Separated by Gender
Human Growth and Development
3 Days
  • Personal Health Habits
  • Puberty Information
  • Disease Prevention
Grade 5
Separated by Gender
Human Growth and Development
3 Days
  • Personal Health Habits
  • Puberty Information for Girls
  • Puberty Information for Boys]
  • Respect
  • How Life Begins
  • Disease Prevention and AIDS

Under Wisconsin State Statute 118.019, section 2, subjects:
A school board may provide an instructional program in human growth and development in grades kindergarten to 12.  If the school board elects to provide an instructional program under this section, when the school board establishes the curriculum for the instructional program, the school board shall make determinations as to whether and, if so, for what subjects covered in the curriculum the pupils shall be separated by gender.  If an instructional program is provided, the following instructional program is recommended:
Rationale (General Purpose):
Historically, the WBSD Human Growth and Development curriculum is reviewed every three years by an advisory committee.  The last review of the health curriculum was conducted in April, 2012.  The advisory committee reviewed the curriculum against the Wisconsin State Statute 118.019 (of 2010) and used any information that was available in draft form for the new Wisconsin State Statute 118.019 (2012) to ensure that the Human Growth and Development Units are in compliance with State Statute 118.019.

The WBSD administration is recommending that the Human Growth and Development Unit continue to be taught to heterogeneous groups of students in the Health I and II courses.  Currently, the WBSD families and students have the option to opt-out of any or all of the Human Growth and Development topics in Health I and II.   The following opt-out process is in place for family choice:

  1. Parents will be notified multiple times about their right to request that their child not participate in instruction in Human Growth and Development (HGD).  This notification will also inform parents of their right to review the complete curriculum and instructional materials. 
    1. Parents will be notified at the beginning of the year in the school handbook.
    2. Parents will be notified approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the HGD curriculum being taught by mail.
    3. Parents will be notified approximately 1 week prior to the HGD curriculum being taught by email.
  2. Parents will have the option to opt their child out of the entire HGD curriculum or from selective parts of the curriculum.
Furthermore, if the WBSD moves forward with the redesign of the health course (see attachments), students and families may choose to take health education on-line in the privacy of their own homes (with the choice to opt out of any or all topics of the Human Growth and Development unit).

The purpose for this committee meeting is for the full board to have a discussion regarding gender separation of students during any or all topics in the Human Growth and Development unit.

Budget: No additional funds will be needed.          

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Apology to School Kids

   As was published today in the West Bend Daily News:   

     If I could apologize to the kids, girls especially, in the WBSD on behalf of Neitzke’s administration and Board, I would. I would say I’m sorry we don’t care about your innocence and discomfort during discussions of intimate sexual issues and condom demos in mixed company. I understand most of you probably want to hide under your seat, wishing you could have an open discussion with girls and a teacher of your own sex. The decision has been made by us; we know what’s best for you. I’m sorry for the tearing away of your natural inhibitions and modesty during sex ed with 13 year-old boys. I am sorry no one cares enough to bring these discussions into gender separate classes, which easily could be done. And boys, I am sorry you can’t have a man class and talk about what makes a real man.
     I would apologize to parents for not allowing them parental permission for teaching condoms to their pre or barely teen child. I realize that the state neither recommends nor mandates teaching condoms and the pill, but we know what is best. I’m sorry we can’t allow you parents to make decisions for your child when it comes to condoms in the classroom, but we can ask parental permission for your child to watch an R rated movie during school. If you didn’t opt-out your child, they will be enrolled. We don’t believe in actual parental permission for this.
     What we really want from you parents and kids is your money. Just as your modesty is falling apart, so are our buildings. Paying for a referendum will be a burden around your neck, but it must be done. The schools are bankrupt. We want your modesty and your money. We don’t care what you say.
Mary P. Weigand