Today gave me just a little taste of spring.
I awoke to a pair of Cardinals singing to each other. This is a very good sign. They sing to find a mate, which means they are thinking spring. There's been a Johnny two note singing for weeks now. I think it is some sort of sparrow. Although it only has two notes, it still is a welcome sound. I tried to find this 2 note wonder on the internet, but no success yet.
Technology can be a wonderful thing. Two weeks ago, we had that snowstorm warning on Sunday and the weatherman cautioned people to stay home. We were rather torn as to what to do, but since we just had 2 weather related fender benders that week, we chickened out and stayed home. The great thing was though, we did not need to miss our church service.
Thanks to the internet and some tech. minded members, we sat around the computer screen and watched the live sermon from the comfort of our home! Not quite as good as being there, but we did virtually see and hear the LIVE service. I can also go back to the church website and review a sermon if I want to.
So much for any choice in School Board candidates: Brooks Fleming now dropped out of the school board race. But there is still the School Board Candidate Forum tonight at Central High School's library, 7:30 - 9:30pm.
If you come earlier, Principal LaBonte will be giving a tour starting at 6pm. However, keep in mind the principal is not the best person to answer your maintenance questions.
college student in our household says many of the students there voted
for Obama in the primary just because they think he will win. They like
the idea of being on the winning side.
I heard Dr. Alveda King speak yesterday on Vicki McKenna's radio program. Alveda is following in her uncle Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s footsteps in speaking out for civil rights for all. But the issue near and dear to her heart is one that her uncle could not even imagine--civil rights for the unborn.
Raul Reyez from Columbia? Marxist
Farrahahn, says US put depth charges under Levies in New Orleans to kill blacks
Last night I took the tour of Brookfield Central High School before the Elmbrook Candidate Forum. It did not seem there was much interest in either event.
There were only 7 residents on the tour plus candidate Gary Jones. Principal LaBonte led the tour along with Central's head of maintenance, Shawn (I did not catch his last name or title). It was helpful to have Shawn along to answer some questions. It seemed I was the only one on the tour who would not be voting for the referendum. I took some pictures and will be posting them in future blogs.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/02/13/soy-thyroid-disease.aspx Soy formula and effects of isoflavones on Thyroid
Things are really heating up over the controversial Voter ID Constitutional Amendment. The controversy being that around 80% of Wisconsinites--regardless of political affiliation--want a Voter ID requirement, but the Democrat controlled State Senate won't bring the measure up for a vote before the current session ends next week.
Although I am not in favor of the present $62.2+ million dollar referendum, I was pleased to see this practical solution for creating larger classrooms while on the Central High School Tour this week. They are proposing removing the approx. 8' x 9' office cubes from some of the classrooms.
(These would be those classrooms you visit at the top of the stairs at the beginning of the tour--same ones that last year were mentioned as only having 3 working outlets: The Tale of Three Outlets)
I have no idea what they were thinking when this school addition was built--like so many "new" ideas, it seemed like a good idea at the time? But the office within the classroom really plays havoc with the arrangement of student desks.
Contrarian declares we pay a moderate price. Check where we stand in the state vs University School, Brookfield Academy, aHeritage, etc
http://www.onenewsnow.com/newsbrief.aspx subscribe to daily newsbriefs
Remeber the dubuy port deal?
When my son was young, we dyed eggs for Easter. Oh my, what chaos! But he had so much fun, how could I say no? My sister would come over and join in the festivities (and mess). Our favorite dyes were those oily swirl type paints.
Some of the eggs turned out so pretty, it was a real shame to destroy and eat them later. So we decided to dye either hollowed out real eggs or use the plastic type that split apart--that allowed us to keep them indefinitely.
I am not making this up. Today is Middle Name Pride Day.
Some people have very unusual middle names. Sometimes they are rarely used.
Recently, a reader of my other blog, Brookfield7, sent me this comment anonymously regarding my "cynical view on today's children" and my "gluttonous greedy miser who can't spare money on the children who need it" attitude. I would encourage you to read it and see if you agree.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Corridor Report: How wide will they be? We Don't Know!":
schools get old and run down... its not like since that peak year... things have gotten better. You simply attack one thing but yes, the school is crowded and most of the students, although irritated at the bottleneck that occurs at every staircase but can live with it... You need to consider everything else that is of poor quality in the school. recently due to the freeze and melting of the ice, the orchestra/choir room has sustained considerable damage due to leaking in the roof. There are priceless instruments in that room, all suspecting of water damage. With a cynical view on todays children as you seem to have, why not cut the music program. why not cut out all extracurriculars while your at it. The fact of the matter is... all things come to an end, and BC is reaching its end. Nearly every school in southeastern wisco is better than BC/BE and yet, you still argue that its fine??? If you don't care for our nations future, then fine, be a gluttonous greedy miser who can't spare money on the children who need it."
Why $21 million dollars for gymnasiums and other facilities for
athletes? I am OK to fix up or replace the schools, but any money for
new athletic facilities should come directly from the parents who feel
this is important. The average taxpayer should not be requested to pay
millions so a few kids can play basketball and volleyball. We already
have adequate athletic facilities. Most high schools serving 2600 kids
don't have 8 gym stations.
It is interesting that the last failed referendum permitted one to vote down the new gym facilities separately, and now, realizing the opposition to the gyms, they thought it was better to include it with the academic package. I think that is a pretty clear indication that they did not think the 6 new gymnasiums had any chance at all if they were separated. Vote NO until the Board presents a reasonable option.
Here's the info you asked me for. It applies to full time EE's See the above for the plan summaries.
Premiums are deducted from every paycheck (26 times a year).
EE only: $49.85 EE and spouse: $118.15 EE and dependents: $91.85 EE, spouse and dependents: $160.15
The EE and categories includes coverage for domestic partner and/or domestic partner's children.
There is also a BCBS WI PPO plan. Sorry I couldn't find what the coverage is but I believe you pay a $30 copay or coinsurance up to an annual out-of-pocket maximum and then the plan pays 100%.
The premiums for that are:
EE only: $85.38 EE and spouse: $202.15 EE and dependents: $156.92 EE, spouse and dependents: $274.15
Delta Dental Standard: EE only $5.25 EE and spouse: $9.92 EE and dependents $13.07 EE, spouse and dependents: $17.74
Delta Dental Enhanced: $7.16 $18.87 $24.86 $33.74
VSP EE only $1.99 EE and spouse: $5.43 EE and dependents $5.08 EE, spouse and dependents: $8.00
Spectera $1.22 $2.55 $2.34 $5.10
EyeMed $0.96 $3.38 $3.38 $5.19
Hope that helps. We also pay for long term disability, accidental death & dismemberment, long term care (optional coverage).
Let me know if you have any questions.
Love Pix #1
Yesterday I received my copy of the Elmbrook Link. What did you think about the information they chose to include?
Compared to the information available last year, how do you think this year's information compares?
School security was a hot button issue a year ago before the referendum. It is not too surprising that it is again in the news this year. Parents are concerned, and I don't blame them.
I spent last night going through all of my past Practically Speaking postings from the last referendum up until Easter 2007. I gave them a quick read and made the appropriate subject tags.
Many of them are still very pertinent this year. I hope to make a master list with titles, but if that never materializes, you can just click on the High School tag or Elmbrook to the right and they all should come up.
California's Court of Appeal recently ruled that a homeschooling parent must be a certified teacher in order to continue homeschooling in that state.
According to a Home School Legal Defense Association,
NOAA: Coolest Winter Since 2001 for U.S., Globe
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/2008-03-12-dirty-air_N.htm EPA sets toughter air-quality standards
Grandma's story about coal dust on window sill and table cloth
It's been a busy few days at the Prast household, but this afternoon I had a little time and started working on a new posting. That required digging out my notes from last year's mechanical tours.
On the first page from my 2007 East High School tour notes, I had written in red pen: Attitude of resignation: It's served its useful life...it needs replacing. I wrote that in reference to the theme of the East and Central High School tours. That concept was mentioned numerous times during both tours.
The late winter average of vitamin D levels in the United States is only about 15-18 ng/ml -- and any levels below 20 ng/ml are considered serious deficiency states that will increase your risk of breast and prostate cancers and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
appeal to candidates to run for office
Poor Saint Patrick. Almost everything we associate with the holiday today has little to do with the real Saint Patrick.
While on tour at Central on March 4th, our tour guides Principal LaBonte and Shawn from the maintenance department repeatedly emphasized that they were keeping as much that was usable as possible for this referendum. That was good news.
They directed our attention to the terrazzo floors, which will remain. Great, I thought. Terrazzo is a durable, but expensive flooring choice. I am glad they do not need to rip them out and replace with some sort of inferior tile.
$14 mil vs $21 mil? Should the referendum have been $55 mil?
Dead In The Water: The State Legislature is finished for this term so those hot button bills, that never made it to the floor for a vote, are considered dead right now. I caught a snippet of Mark Belling's show yesterday and he mentioned a few of them that died in the legislature this session.
I am very sorry that Voter ID did not pass the Senate this session, because I think we are now back to square one. We do not get to vote on that amendment to change our state constitution language for requiring a photo ID to vote. I have a feeling this November we will be very sorry that bill died in the Senate.
I raised the question of just what kind of church was Trinity U.C.C. a few weeks ago in the comment section and took a bit of heat for it. Contrarian, for one, liked what she saw on Trinity's website, "Kyle, thanks for the invitation to look closely at one aspect of Barack Obama's background, his church. I spent 30 minutes or so wandering around the website, and came away completely impressed."
If they now are fine tuning and saying it is only $14 million, that is 33% less than orig. estimates. Does that mean the entire referendum is 33% too high or at the very least, $7million too high? If these athletic spaces came to be $7 mil. less, then shouldn't we be able to deduct $7mil from $62 mil and get a real number of $55mil?
A: A commercial for Governor Doyle's Global Warming Task Force probably funded by OUR tax dollars.
Jessica Rasmussen reports, "The Elmbrook superintendent will see $5,280 added to his salary for the 2008-2009 school year.", so that answers my question from last week, Will Gibson get hefty raise this year?
"The School Board voted, 5-1, to approve the 4 percent package increase, which will bump Superintendent Matt Gibson's salary to $147,510." (Remember that Dr. Gibson's complete wage and benefit package is substantially more than just salary.)
True to form, Patrick Murphy did not support that raise. I'm going to miss Patrick's presence on the board. " 'I think these wages are excessive,' Murphy said, adding that the administration should show restraint in light of a possible $62.2 million construction project, which will go to referendum April 1."
FYI, Mark Belling, is talking about our referendum and Wisconsin taxes right now on his radio show at 4:35pm.
He mentioned the alderman who called our schools an embarrassment (Mahkorn) and the 12 aldermen who endorsed Elmbrook's referendum.
http://www.brookfieldnow.com/watch/?watch=14&date=3/21/2008&id=37327 City is not canceling theirs
Commission OKs altered plans for condos in Brookfield
Developer reduced size, height of project after residents complained
By LISA SINK
Posted: Nov. 7, 2005
Brookfield - A revised plan to address neighborhood concerns about a Capitol Drive area development was approved by the city Plan Commission on Monday, although a few commissioners bemoaned a loss of the original architectural design to cut the building height.
Even with an ice bag on his head, he can't bring down his spring fever.
Often it seems that whenever people disagree with the school district about a program change such as the new Human Growth & Development curriculum, or what needs improving via referendum, if a citizen disagrees, that opposing person's view is chalked up to being uneducated or misinformed.
A week ago, I wrote "Gluttonous Greedy Misers" Don't usually propose spending more in response to an anonymous comment that addressed me as such. That posting prompted many comments: some positive, some negative.
I slept in this morning. Ahhh :) Knowing the snow was coming and we had some DVDs that must go back to the Elm Grove Library, I was about to throw on some boots and zip over there before the roads got too terrible.
But the phone rang and I got a reprieve: an offer from someone I know who was out and about. They would return them for me.
Today is the day the Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
While Christmas joyously proclaims Jesus' birth, Easter marks the completion of His mission.
OR, WHY LIMITING NON-RESIDENT STUDENTS IS VERY IMPORTANT
This is the 2nd in my series on Questioning "sadly mistaken when it comes to the facts" regarding the referendum.
Elmbrook's surplus most in 10 years
Board members debate uses for $3.5 million
We are now getting into some of the more interesting aspects of our $62.2 million dollar question in this 4th installment from my series on Questioning "sadly mistaken when it comes to the facts".
This posting continues to deal with the HSST and Vote Yes member's comment, "...Academics and the arts will be enhanced because current gym space is being repurposed. It is more cost effective to build gym additions vs. classroom additions."
(THIS is LAST year's, 2008's post. I was adding some pictures and it somehow reposted for 2009)
Like to play pinball and arcade games? How about vintage computer games? Well, the Midwest Gaming Classic it just the place for you.
This is part 2 of the 4th installment from my series on Questioning "sadly mistaken when it comes to the facts".
Part 1 earlier today dealt with the HSST / Vote Yes member's comment, "...Academics and the arts will be enhanced because current gym space is being repurposed. It is more cost effective to build gym additions vs. classroom additions," at East High School.
I still believe that we could manage our facilities needs without a referendum. Adding an unbonded $1 to $2 million a year just for the high schools to our capital improvement budget could go a long way in improving our schools.(This would require referendum approval.)
In years we have surpluses at year end, this year we had $3.5 million, and we could make noticible improvements.
Please note, for some reason this reposted itself to March 25th. It should be dated and placed March 24th.
This makes the 3rd posting in my series on Questioning "sadly mistaken when it comes to the facts..." This time we are discussing the science labs, "Science labs will be expanded and made safe for today's academics."
OK, I have had enough of number crunching for the day with Part 1 and Part 2 of my 4th installment of Questioning "sadly mistaken when it comes to the facts..." regarding "...current gym space is being repurposed. It is more cost effective to build gym additions vs. classroom additions."
So now for a little lighter challenge to the remaining part of that statement about the gyms,"...Further the gym space will be used by our entire community (Park and Rec -- seniors will have a walking track instead of the mall which have kicked them out -- and we will be able to gain revenue by renting out the space)."
We've heard the term: Frankenstein Veto, and we have seen what it can do: Doyle's raiding the transportation fund to give to the general fund, comes to mind. But before any Republicans start acting smugly, Tommy Thompson created Frankenstein monsters too. But do you know what it really is?
STRANGER DANGER, we have all heard the phrase. We've taught it to our preschoolers; they teach it in our schools from kindergarten on up. We all want to protect our children from predators and those who would cause harm.
How do you keep your kids safe while they are at school? It is difficult.
UPDATE: Student busted for selling pot at school, Community Watch, Monday, April 14, 2008 (emphasis added)
"Brookfield police responded to the high school, 16900 W. Gebhardt Road, at 9:14 a.m. April 9 after school officials received an anonymous tip that the boy, a 16-year-old from Milwaukee, was selling marijuana to students. When police arrived, school officials had already found seven bags of marijuana totaling 4.85 grams in his possession."
A fleet of 28 new Apple iMac computers and they are Elmbrook's.
<iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Central++High+School,+Brookfield,+WI&ie=UTF8&ll=43.05564,-88.12634&spn=0.974778,0.608234&t=h&output=embed&s=AARTsJowH_fvmhGQMaN2BuH0jFr6f149ag"></iframe><br /><small><a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Central++High+School,+Brookfield,+WI&ie=UTF8&ll=43.05564,-88.12634&spn=0.974778,0.608234&t=h&source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>
I could have titled this the High cost of a HVAC replacement, but that would not have been as much fun.
You know how they say, They can't see the forest for the trees? Well, I confess, that has happened to me. I was so distracted by the high price of athletics with this referendum that I did not see how much the HVAC replacement was running.
Lindfield now Heritage
Have you noticed how compared to last year's referendum, where we were inundated with details, facts, and figures, that this year's specifics are rather late in coming or hard to come by?
While I did not agree with all the mailings and new kiosks full of papers last year (because it was expensive), having some of that information online was very helpful. Clear, concise information makes it easier for voters to discern if the plan had merit. This year, I find details, facts, and figures hard to come by.
Sometimes you just cannot see the forest for the trees. I know I didn't see the HVAC/mechanicals costs for the Athletics costs. I wish I had more answers for you right now, but the following musings are just some of my observations. Take them for what they are worth.
If we had more time
before election day, I would wait until I had those answers nailed
down. But seeing as the referendum is 2 days away, I believe you need
to at least think about this huge dollar amount for yourself. If I receive any updates, I will post them as soon as possible. (Internet connection permitting)
It is nearing the big day for the 2008 spring election on Tuesday, April 1st. True, it is April Fools Day, but this election is no joke. There is a lot riding on the ballot this day, for one thing, a $62.2 million dollar school referendum.
Add an important State Supreme Court race and half of Brookfield's Common Council too, throw in a Constitutional Amendment and a few other races and I hope it adds up to a good turnout.
Drafted my son's Whack-a-Mole for tournament play.
I still believe that we could manage our facilities needs without a referendum. Adding an unbonded $1 to $2 million a year, just for the high schools, to our capital improvement budget, could go a long way in improving our schools. (This would require referendum approval.)
(Remember, we defeased $2.5 mil in 2006--did not require referendum approval--so that amount has been added to our tax bills before.)
compare getting engaged to district considering the financial ability of the taxpayers
For example, both eProgress and the High School Facilities Next Steps Steering Team - the team charged by the School Board to develop a facilities plan - budgeted for full replacement of the heating pipes.
People constantly ask me if I think the referendum will pass. I just answer, I don't know. Truly, I just don't know.
You would think that amid the sub-prime jitters, falling stock market, rising food prices, rising energy prices, and the probability that our state and federal taxes will go up, the public would not be too eager to take on more debt for the next 20 years. But then again, think, may be the key word here.
If they have been such poor custodians to the facilities we have entrusted them with, why reward their neglectful behavior?