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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Can't believe Elmbrook is entertaining 4K as budget fix

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES, THE ECONOMY, Education

Last week, Elmbrook's Enrollment Management Study Team presented 2 of their 10 scenarios that would help fill the $16 Million dollar budget short fall over the next 5 years. The 2 recommendations they advanced each included adding 4K.

All I have to say to them is, Dorothy, we aren't in Kansas anymore! or more accurately, Elmbrook, the heyday of expanding the Empire by sending the bill to the taxpayers is over.

If you care about this issue, please note that the board will continue discussion of 4K and closings, etc. at their next meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24th, 6pm.

But what happened to recommendation #3: Reduce to 5 elementary schools (assume closing of three section school in 2011-12), and recommendation 4: Reduce to 4 elementary schools (assume closing of 2 three section school in 2011-12)? Instead, the EMS Team settled on 2 options that both ADD 4K.

The introduction of the EMS Team's 2 4K recommendations opened discussion at the Board level last Tuesday. Now, just because the EMS Team brought these 2 recommendations to the Board does not mean the Board will go for them. Meg Wartman, Tom Gehl, Glen Allgaier, and Patrick Murphy voted against 4K in the last go round in 2007. Our board has changed since then. Murphy has retired; we have added Gary Jones, Jean Lambert, Kathryn Wilson since then. Wilson and Allgaier both indicated they were willing to look at school closings and were not enthusiastic about 4K during the 2010 pre-election forums.

The economic climate of our nation has drastically changed since November of 2007. For one, On January 1, 2011, the Bush tax cuts will expire. That means income tax rates will increase from 35 to 39.6% for top income tax payers. ("Two-thirds of all small business profits are taxed" at this rate.) Even the lowest bracket of 10% will rise to 15%. Don't forget the "return of the Death Tax" and the "higher tax rates on savers and investors" too--capitol gains and dividends taxes will increase dramatically.

These increases will affect all Elmbrook taxpayers in a negative way, and our school district EMS Team is suggesting we pay more, in order to add students so their budget numbers look better?

According to the July 13th Agenda Item 3A report, page 3, we get between $1,500-$2,000 per Open Enrollment student and $1,700 per 4K student. Keep in mind the actual cost per student in Elmbrook is around $12,000-$13,000 a year. (Half that amount for half day kindergarten student.)

A reader alerted me to the fact that the district would NOT conduct a 'baseline analysis' which would consist of sizing our schools to serve only resident students.

And speaking of resident students, one thing I have wondered for years is why do we still have New Berlin students included in the Elmbrook system when Lindfield, the Elmbrook neighborhood school they used to attend, was closed years ago? Students from south of Greenfield Ave. in New Berlin are still in Elmbrook's system even though their own New Berlin elementary school on Sunnyslope Rd. is far closer than sending them to Elmbrook's Swanson School. Maybe this is the time to finally size Elmbrook's schools to Elmbrook residents?

Can we please start looking at public education in the right light? The school district constantly talks about increasing their enrollment numbers like they were a business. During the last referendum discussion, they were asking how they could draw in that 25% or so of students who were either homeschooled or in private school. Why?

Oh, I know the reason, they are trying to increase THEIR budget, BUT their budget boost is at the literal expense of the taxpayers!

Their desire to increase their budget reminds me of the proverbial welfare mom who has more children to get more benefits but doesn't factor in that each child adds to her total expenses and demands more of her time. From an other government supplied service perspective, isn't it like our police looking at increasing the number of people they serve?

Providing "free" education for students is a costly SERVICE, not a money maker. Businesses don't look at ways to increase their work load; they look at ways to increase their efficiency and profit.

Unlike the private sector, each dollar the district receives is out of the pockets of the taxpayers, be it from residents in the nation, state, or school district.

In case you haven't noticed news articles on our economy, the R-word, for Recession, is gradually changing to the D-word, for Depression. We could be in for a long stretch of economic hardship. The nation is broke.

We are also in trouble at the state level. Wisconsin's budget will probably fall $2.5 Billion short by the end of its cycle. Add to that BadgerCare's "shortfall could reach $850 million". Just today we learn that Doyle's $200 Million Patient's Compensation Fund raid must be repaid. In other words, Wisconsin is broke.

And at the local level, the "proposed change to how schools are funded in the state could have a big - and negative - impact on the Elmbrook School District."

There are Elmbrook residents who are facing prolonged unemployment (over 18 months) and foreclosure.

So please, Elmbrook School District, could you look at CUTTING the size of your empire instead of EXPANDING it on the backs of your serfs?

Sorry for this long post, but this is an important issue we must speak up about. Let the board know your thoughts on adding an expensive 4K program--remember to be polite. The next board meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 24th, 6pm


Past Posts: 4-K: The Dog Chasing its Tail (Revised) Revenues collected "...would, however, cost the taxpayers more money, because it would be funded primarily from increased property taxes. The district would be allowed to collect more taxes due to its increased enrollment."
Does 4K Deserve Tax Dollars? Nov. 10, 2007
Uncle Matt Wants You--if you are 4 years old Nov. 14, 2007
4K--It's About the Money Nov. 21, 2007
Public Schools: Safety Net or Drift Net? Nov. 23, 2007
4K Solving Budget Woes = Lucy Ricardo Math Nov. 26, 2007
Bet Room Will Be Packed With Pro 4K Tonight Nov. 27, 2007
4K Yellow Hands and Green Trees Nov. 27, 2007
4K Discontinued Despite Emotions & Irregularities Nov. 28, 2007

Elmbrook Agenda Notes: May 11, 2010 Enrollment Management Study Team Update included 2 school closing/no 4K options
July 13, 2010 Enrollment Management Study Team Report on Team Recommendations and Findings includes tax credits per student

Articles: Elmbrook Urged to Close School, Bring Back 4K Moves would save district millions July 14, 2010
School Closure Called 'Last Resort' But candidates won't rule it out as a money-saving move March 17, 2010 pre-election article.
School Funding Plan Could Hurt July 7, 2010, "And since Elmbrook does not receive a great deal of state aid to begin with, putting the $900 million from the tax levy credit into funds distributed statewide likely would not have a significant impact in the district, Brightman said. "You'll be paying that much more in school taxes, but the district will receive zero revenue," he said."
 

Links: 

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Brookfield7, BetterBrookfield, Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Randy Melchert, Mark Levin, The Heritage Foundation, CNS News, Breitbart BigGovernment

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