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.

Questioning "sadly mistaken when it comes to the facts" re: referendum

Elmbrook, Elmbrook 2008 Referendum, High Schools

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.

In one of the negative comments, a member of the HHST team commented,

...I need to tell you that you are sadly mistaken when it comes to the facts.  This proposal is very much more academic than athletic.  Every classroom will be updated to meet today's technology needs, libraries will be expanded for the academic need (currently students can't get into the libraries to do research if a class is using the space).  Science labs will be expanded and made safe for today's academics.  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.  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).  Believe it or not only the crowded stairwells are being expanded so they can meet ADA standards.  Only 2 classrooms per core will be expanded and the room utilization will be 80%.  This is a plan that even Cindy said she thought she could support. It meets our academic needs and is fiscally responsible.  A home built in the 60's has most certainly been updated.  It is time for our schools too.   Believe me I have done my homework, I have spent seven months reviewing every part of this project.  I have made compromises.  There is no perfect plan but this one is fair!

There are a lot of people who don't agree with me. That is OK. But this person was a member of the HSST team and Elmbrook's $62.2 mil referendum supposedly is a result of their work. I found many statements in this comment that warranted a closer look.

It would be great if we could see the HSST's final recommendation, but I could not find it on the district's website anywhere. If a member of that team would wish to share a final copy of their hard work, I think the community would welcome it. 

In addressing these "sadly mistaken" comments, I will start with the first one first: "Every classroom will be updated to meet today's technology needs"

If I look at the Key ACADEMIC BENEFITS sheet, it states under heading, Expanded Electrical Capacity for Classroom Technology: Each school will accommodate wireless technology access and All classrooms will have electrical capacity for multiple teaching and learning technologies.

That sounded a lot like what was supposed to have happened back in 2001 with the TEACH Technology Wiring Loan totaling $1,153,374. I addressed this topic last year in The Tale of Three Outlets

 According to Dave Ross, Elmbrook’s Director of Facilities Management, The TEACH Wisconsin project “provided for data wiring and extra panels and outlets for computers throughout the district--for some strange reason, it did not provide for energizing those panels (running wire to activate). When we originally went out for bid, the cost for energizing the panels was broken out in the bid package. If I remember correctly, that cost was about $1.5 million - a bad case of sticker shock ensued.
Realizing that we needed to get things up and running, our electricians took on all the service upgrades and energizing of panels that needed to be done with the exception of the high schools. Of course it was done over time but saved the district about $400,000.
The high schools weren't done because at that time, the conversation was starting about what needed to be done with the high schools.”
The other schools in our district were finished in-house, which was a good way to complete the project. BUT IT WAS THE DISTRICT’S CHOICE NOT TO COMPLETE THE HIGH SCHOOL WIRING PROJECT, BECAUSE THEY WERE ANTICIPATING THE COMING REFERENDUM.

The fact is, the district could have had that extra wiring for electrical and data needs in every class in the high schools too back in 2001. It was their choice not to complete the work the TEACH program started.

We all know technology changes very rapidly. Elmbrook has now decided to go wireless.

If the building already had Ethernet wiring (the data wiring) then they would only need a wireless access point every 100 feet or so in the hallways. (This is what WCTC has done. In their electronics building, they have 2 W.A.P.s per floor.) If you did not have any data wiring, then new wiring would need to be strung from wherever their equipment is to the hall ceilings for these WAPs as needed.

When the next new technological development comes along in few years, will they say we need to have a referendum to implement that too? 

If we increased the capital improvement budget by at least $1million a year, we could address this and many more needs without going to referendum.

I hope to address other so called "sadly mistaken" statements in future posts. Stay tuned--so much material, so little time!


Elmbrook School District Referendum Links:

Wording of the April 1, 2008 $62.190.000 referendum 

Architect's Conceptual High School Floorplans--East and Central

Facility "Needs" comparison of failed 2007 and present 2008 referendums

Key Academic Benefits: It's direct address is:

(I am sorry, I still cannot access it from the 2008 referendum Table of Contents page.)

Tour Schedule  

Tax Calculator  

Frequently Asked Questions

Elmbrook asks for smaller expansion--JSOnline (Also includes links to past articles)

Still no link to the 2008 Election Edition of the Link. Hope you got your copy.
counter hit xanga

Former 2007 Referendum Facilities Facts Sheets (Still a good read)


The countdown continues: Just 12 days until MILLIONS OF DOLLARS Tuesday!

Email me your thoughts on the $62.2 million dollar referendum.

Links: Brookfield7, Betterbrookfield Vicki Mckenna 



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