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.

Elmbrook School Board: Who I'm NOT voting for on Tuesday

Education, Elections, Elmbrook

OK, I am going to whine a little here. And yes, I know it is all my fault. I just spent a few hours writing about the reasons I was NOT going to vote for Katie Lemcke for the At Large seat or Barry Wightman for Area 4.


I also included some of the reasons I am voting FOR Meg Wartman, At Large, and FOR Jean Lambert, Area 4 in the Primary. I had some pros and cons for all the candidates based on the forum, BrookfieldNow voters guide and article, and Freeman.


I was putting in the final links to the Brookfieldnow articles and clicked the insert button to create the link and the whole posting disappeared into cyberspace. No way to retrieve. (Oh for auto save or a brain that would remember to click save and continue writing from time to time!) Argh.


Every resident in the Elmbrook School District votes for all of the candidates, regardless of which area you live in: we all vote for the At Large and Area 4 board seats. No candidate ever embodies every position a voter espouses; a primary is largely a process of elimination. Here is mine.


The At Large race:

Suffice it to say, I am NOT voting for Katie Lemcke--At Large, because of her strong support for 4K. She has every right to run for the board to promote 4K, I am just not in favor of it.


I believe adopting 4K again will lead to more referendums to add the necessary classroom space 4K demands to our elementary schools. (Remember, the trial program needed 2 community sites.) 4K would put an end to any discussion of consolidating schools and also necessitate adding more teachers (wages and benefits account for 83% of the total budget).


I thought Katie Lemcke made a rather ironic statement in the Freeman about candidates without children in the district running for the board. "District residents who are retired or don't have children in the schools because they are in private schools or have graduated, sometimes have one agenda and that is saving money."


Not all of our current board and candidates have children in the district. Considering all of the current board members and the candidates running, except Wickens (his answer was vague regarding his support) all said they were in favor of the high school referendum--spending money--I don't see that having children in Elmbrook Schools is a litmus test for candidates. Plus, doesn't Katie have her own agenda? Pro 4K?


Since all of the residents in the Elmbrook School District pay for our schools through their property taxes, I think it is entirely appropriate to have a mix of residents on the board: those with and those without children in the district. 


Wouldn't it refreshing if the parents of Elmbrook students were a little more grateful or considerate of the taxpayers who finance their child's education? After all, some taxpayers have never had a child in the district.  Taxpayers pay about $10,000 in average yearly cost/Elmbrook student for a student's 13 years of schooling = about $130,000 in tax dollars support/student. That is sizable. Ms. Lemcke wishes to add around $5,000 to that total by bringing back 4K during an era of necessary budget trimming.


I am wary of Charles Wickens for At Large. He is already the President of the American Liver Foundation, and in addition to running for Elmbrook's School Board, he is also running for Elm Grove Village Trustee. I think that is spreading oneself a little thin. Board members must attend board meetings, committee meetings and hopefully do research. Although his answer was vague on the voter's guide regarding 4K, he stated at the Forum that his daughter attended and benefited from 4K. She is now grown and is a  4K  (I do not know if it is 4 or 5 year old) kindergarten teacher. On a more positive side, Wickens answered the raising the revenue cap question, "Our district needs to be redefined in terms of programs and delivery. More tax dollars feeding into the existing system is not the answer."


Meg Wartman--At Large, has spoken and voted against 4K in the past. Her position remains the same. She "would not support any 4K program that was funded using taxpayer dollars." I am pretty sure of what I am getting with her; I am voting for Meg Wartman in the primary.


The Area 4 race:

Barry Wightman--Area 4, though engaging, seemed a little too laid back and impulsive in his answers during the forum. One example: He was too eager to bring in open enrollment and chapter 220 students. We have the talent to teach all kids. We aught to do it; it's a revenue positive thing. Let's do it. I would have voted for 143! (The board recently voted to open 74 seats.) I think we need a more analytical approach to some of these difficult questions. He was against a referendum to expand the revenue cap, however.


Don Moore revealed that he learned about the vacancy for Area 4 from Steve Schwei last summer. Moore sees the most important issues for Elmbrook as: the physical plant, operations, and community involvement. While those areas are important, I think they are not the most important. Since wages and benefits make up 83% of the budget, addressing the wage and benefits area will yield the largest monetary savings, which is important to a district needing to trim $2.2 million each year.


Area 4: Jean Lambert's Masters Degree in Business Administration and degree in Nursing seems to be a good fit for the board. She currently is the Project Manager for Froedrert Hospital. Her medical background should prove invaluable when discussing health care benefits for the teachers and administration. Her business degree and analytical mind should help weigh the pros and cons of the issues. Jean Lambert will get my vote on Tuesday.


So, this Tuesday, Feb. 17th, I am voting FOR Rose Fernandez for State Superintendent of Public Education, FOR Meg Wartman for At Large Elmbrook School Board, and FOR Jean Lambert for Area 4 Elmbrook School Board.


Depending on who makes it through the primary, I may have to be flexible on April 7th.


Look into these candidates for yourself. Read the voters guide interviews. Watch the cable broadcast of the forum if you can, and then go vote on Tuesday!


Rose Fernandez was interviewed on Jay Weber's show this morning in the Hour 2 Part 2 7:30 - 8am segment (Feb 16)


counter hit xanga

Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Mark Levin, The Heritage Foundation, CNS News


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