Monday, April 30, 2012

2012/2013 Board Leadership

President: Randy Marquardt
Vice-president: Bart Williams
Clerk: Dave Weigand
Treasurer: Rick Parks

6.6% Tax Levy Increase Approved by West Bend School Board

Superintendent Ted Neitzke presented his proposed 2012-13 budget to the Board tonight and was granted unanimous approval to increase the tax levy 6.6%. While proposed spending will be down by 5.1%, thanks in full to Governor Scott Walker's Act 10, the West Bend School District is planning on taxing to the full amount allowed by law. The budget is speculation, based on their idea of state funding. Firmer numbers will be available in the near future.
Neitzke admitted they have not yet looked at sick days for teachers but are waiting to look at that component next year in coordination with other local school districts.
The only good news is that the district will plan to set aside $250,000-$275,000 for Fund 41, which will begin to save for the 25 Year Strategic Building Plan. This plan includes additions to Silverbrook School  and Greentree Elementary School, restructuring of grades and redistricting of school lines.
Mr. Neitzke, in speaking to funding the future building plans, spoke of Act 32, which would allow "7 people to make a decision" about levying beyond the capacity. In other words, the Board would not need to ask the community for a referendum on extra funding for building; they can decide themselves. Mr. Neitzke's staff is seeking clarification on how Act 32 can be used. He seemed genuinely excited about it's prospect for funding.
After tonight, when the Board unanimously passed a preliminary budget that might end up being a 6.6% tax levy increase, and is for certain a "tax to the max", I will have difficulty trusting the Board with the authority Act 32 grants them.
Again, stay tuned...

Monday, April 23, 2012

2011-2012 West Bend Schools Teacher Negotiation Meeting

By looking at the bumper stickers in the parking lot, it was obvious that two different perspectives would be brought forth at tonight's opening session of teacher negotiations at the ESC in West Bend. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange initial bargaining proposals. Governor Scott Walker had the support of a board member, shown by the bumper sticker on his car, while two cars of union reps sported, "Solidarity" and "Kathleen Falk for Governor", and "Recall Walker". Inside, the meeting was more cordial that not.
The School District proposed a 1.64% increase in pay, which is the maximum allowable to bargain for by law, spread equally across the board for teachers using the base wage rule calculations.
The Union's proposal was also a 1.64% increase, but they requested to have that amount spread out equally in dollar amount to all teaching staff and not a percent of their current wage. The negotiations team agreed to consider this request. The only exceptions to this proposed increase, according to Chief Operations Officer, Valley Elliehausen, would be those not being offered renewal of their contract (4) and those on another term of improvement plan (4).
The union reps had a prepared statement read that included citations to the poliltical environment in Wisconsin and "challenges" to teachers due to Act 10 in 2011-2012. Of concern to the union reps was the work load of teachers and frozen steps in pay increases. They stated they were "hopeful" that their goals were similar to the district's goals and acknowledged that they were, "seriously affected by Act 10, the administration and the Board's decisions. The union reps also stated they are opposed to merit pay because it  "would decrease collaboration among teachers".
The Union asked the intent for the 2012-2013 school year. Randy Marquardt stated that only preliminary discussions have been made and the "whole system would not be thrown out". He further stated the structure would not be drastically different from what we have now.
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Will Friday be the Day a Silent Protest Interrupts Your Child's Education?

Friday April 20th is the day a homosexual activist group, GLSEN, takes over our public schools. Kids often come to class with duct tape over their mouth and refuse to speak during the day-yes, during class time. The West Bend School District has, in the past, made it clear that students may remain silent in class if it does not, "create a disruption". My own students have told me that this does indeed create a disruption in the classroom, and teachers tell kids they do not need to speak, while only calling on those not participating in the "day of silence". Two school board members have spoken out to see that this does not happen during instruction time, but the district administration has ignored them. Attempts have been made to find out how this will be handled this year, but no answer has been given. Below is an email from 2010 sent to staff from the two high school principals. Will this again be done? Clearly it is a violation of the student code of conduct to come to school with the mindset to not participate in class.

Good Morning,

Often a non-school sponsored student group will choose to recognize the Day of Silence, and they generally share their plans with administration. It appears that today is the Day of Silence that students have chosen to recognize, but no one did meet with administration prior. Students may choose not to speak on this day. This is acceptable, if it does not create a disruption. Please continue with regular curriculum. If there is a disruption created, then please refer the student to administration for follow up. If you have any other questions about the day, please let us know and we will be happy to provide any additional information.


Pat and Cassandra

When this type of activism takes over our classrooms, even for one day, I wonder at the brazenness of those who allow it, asking us for more of our hard-earned dollars for "education"

Even the ultra-liberal ACLU knows students have no right to interrupt class time.
Below is a statement issued by the ACLU, emphasizing the limits of political activism during instructional time:

"You DO have a right to participate in Day of Silence and other expressions of your opinion at a public school during non-instructional time: the breaks between classes, before and after the school day, lunchtime, and any other free times during your day.

"You do NOT have a right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks you to speak."

**This site, sponsored by pro-family groups listed below, is for the sole purpose of giving parents the tools needed to oppose the GLSEN-sponsored Day of Silence.
The Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), fast approaches. This year it will take place in most public schools on April 20, 2012. On this day, thousands of public high schools and increasing numbers of middle schools will allow students to remain silent throughout an entire day – even during instructional time – to promote GLSEN's socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality.

Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. Please join the national effort to reclaim a proper understanding of the role, and limits of public education. Help de-politicize the learning environment by calling your child out of school if your child's school allows students and/or teachers to refuse to speak during instructional time on the Day of Silence.

Monday, April 16, 2012

25 Year Facilities Plans

The West Bend School Board and Administration are moving forward in their decision on a 25 year facilities plan. Monday night, April 16, the Board narrowed the options from 4 to 2 plans. Superintendent Ted Neitzke will continue working on 2 of the plans, which include closing Barton Elementary School, changing the elementary schools to K-4th grade, Silverbrook Middle School will be 5-6 grades with remodeling, Badger Middle School will be 7-8th grades, and a new Jackson Elementary School will be built with planning beginning in the next 3-5 years.
The cost of this has not yet been finalized and put forth. Ted Neitzke, at the urging of the Board, said he will be setting aside $170-240,000 from this years budget for future building needs. Mr. Neitzke joked about not wanting to use the "R" word, referendum.
The Board will meet again April 30th for further discussion. Bart Williams and Dave Weigand would like to see improvements to Green Tree School to take care of the needs of students in the Barton School area.
The plans include redistricting of students in some schools.
All agreed that cost is unknown as well as financing the projects. The Board and Superintendent are looking for community feedback.
I give accolades to the Board and their direction to Mr. Neitzke to set aside money for future building needs.
Now is the time to let your voice be heard. More information will be coming.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Election results

Vinney Pheng and Therese Sizer were victorious in Tuesday's election. Incumbent Kris Beaver, a Recall Walker petition signer, was heartily defeated by Mr. Pheng.

West Bend School Bd Member
Number of Precincts 16
Precincts Reporting 16 100.0 %
Times Counted 11932/30746 38.8 %
Total Votes 18059
Vinney Pheng 5307 29.39%
Therese M. Sizer 4777 26.45%
Kris Beaver 4708 26.07%
Carl W. Knepel 3189 17.66%
Write-in Votes 78 0.43%