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.

4K--It's about the money

4-K, Elmbrook, TAXES

There are a couple things to note in yesterday's Brookfieldnow article. The first is the subtitle: Few academic gains, tax costs are concerns

Bringing the tax cost in is misleading because it implies that the (our) tax cost would be less if we adopted a 4K program. Even though academically it does not improve children's lives, it does improve our tax situation, says those pro-4K.

Their argument is, "The increased revenue cap would help fund programs and services for all students, not just 4-year-olds, Gibson said."

The opposite, however, is true. Elmbrook's budget will increase by keeping 4K, but the taxpayer's tax bill does not go down as a result. The taxpayers are the ones funding this increased budget for Elmbrook. It does not help us.

One component of 4K that I don't think has been addressed by the board is where are we going to put the potential 500 students. Currently we have 200. They are planning on 300, with a total potential of 500. We don't have room for them all.

The administration keeps telling us that after the high school referendum is passed there is only one more phase--a minor one. Don't believe it. If we adopt a permanent or even sunsetted 4K, we will need to add on to our elementary schools. 

Tom Gehl, opposed to 4K, said that Research has not shown academic benefits to be sustainable beyond early elementary school. He is right--he understands.

Steve Schwei, Bob Ziegler and Cheri Sylla approve of 4K expansion. The paper said, "Each acknowledged the lack of long-term benefits demonstrated in the research but said they think Elmbrook has the ability to establish a more rigorous, challenging program that will show sustainable academic gains."

Unbelievable. They DON"T get it! This is exactly the worst thing you can do to a 4 year old--putting them into a more rigorous program. Children need to be children, free to learn and explore on their own through observation of the real world and creative play. Earlier rigors will only create very burned out, unhappy children once they hit 5th grade.

Did you notice the price went up again? The last quote I saw was around $860,000 a year. This article stated $2 million! Don't forget to add in the future elementary referendum for adding more kindergarten classroom space. 

There was a reference to one pro 4K parent who spoke in favor, the paper said, "she found it sad that the critical argument in the K4 debate has been cost." The point she is missing is that it is the administration itself that is making the emphasis on money.

The article concluded with, "Academics aside, Superintendent Matt Gibson said the continuation of K4 has financial benefits that may be critical to the district". If I were him, I would put academics aside too because there is no real benefit. (Sylla, Schwei, and Ziegler acknowledge the lack of benefit too.)

So, it is all about the money. Never mind that the 4K program really does not work--it lacks true academic benefits. Never mind that the taxpayers will foot the bill for all of the increases. All the administration and some board members care about is that their budget will increase.

I call that sad.

Contact the board--especially Patrick Murphy, by phone, in person, or letter and Glen Allgaier.

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