UPDATED: Last chance to speak out against 4-K
Please contact each board member, prior to the meeting, and express your concerns about implementing 4-K. I would not recommend email, since I have only heard back from one member regarding my original email questions and concerns. Phone numbers are listed on the board's contact information page. (UPDATE: 2 board members I spoke with said they did get my earlier email, but said they received so many that they were not able to respond.)
I plan on calling and asking them:
How much do we, the Elmbrook taxpayers, pay for each Elmbrook student? The board members in favor of 4-K will tell you we gain state aid for each student, BUT be aware that the amount gained is nowhere near the amount spent!!! (More about that below.)
How are we, the taxpayers, supposed to pay for this AND their proposed high school renovations? The 4-K implementation is to cost the average household $67 additional tax dollars per year; the high school renovations costs are around $315/year. That is nearly a $400 increase! The $67 is an estimate, but you know it will be higher once all the costs are factored in. Don’t forget the coming expenses of $1.7 million for renovations at Fairview South and the new heating plant for $2.5 million at Pilgrim Park Middle School.
Why should we start a 4-K program when we already do not have the facility space to carry it out? Their proposed 4-K program requires partnering with the private sector in order to have enough classroom space. What happens next year when the private sector classroom providers decide they have us at a disadvantage and wish to raise our rent? What happens when we crowd our 4-K space with non-resident students? Our district has a policy that once a student is enrolled, they may attend Elmbrook schools for their entire 14 years of schooling. The 4-K program will adversely impact high school space.
I asked Bob Borch, the Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations, what the amounts of reimbursement for resident, open enrollment, and 220 students were. This is his response to my question:
“Resident student count is used as part of the formula for determining the amount of equalization aid, along with property value and costs. (The chart he sent stated Elmbrook received, from the state, $1,701 per resident student.) Open enrollment funding is not a state aid, it is a transfer between school districts based on the number of students who go from one district to another. It is coordinated through the state as part of their funding mechanism. The amount per student for open enrollment is set by the state (last year was $5,435) and is a state-wide number. Chapter 220 aid is another different formula and is based on each district's prior year costs and the number of 220 students. It generates about $10,000 per year per student.”
On the surface, you may think the taxpayers benefit from adding resident, non-resident open enrollment*, and 220 students*, BUT when you look at the total cost per student of about $12,300, you see each additional student is an expense to the taxpayers—not a benefit. We Elmbrook taxpayers must make up nearly all of the remaining portion of the per student costs. Therefore, each additional resident student, costs the taxpayers about $10,599. Each open enrollment student costs us $6,865, and each 220 student costs us an additional $2,300. (Figures are approximate.) Of course the 4-K students are part time (so far) and their costs would be adjusted accordingly.
The educational benefits of 4-K just do not warrant the expense and negative impact of 4-K on the Elmbrook School District, facilities and budget. Our district must prioritize its real needs and separate them from their unnecessary wants. To do otherwise is imprudent and a disservice to the taxpayers.
*This figure would pertain to non-resident students that are not filling in the excess space in a classroom. Typically, these students would be in the upper grades. No study has ever been done, to my knowledge, to truly get a grasp of the real cost of adding non-resident students to the district in excess space or otherwise.
Articles and posts: Open Bar,
Elmbrook stews over 4-year-old kindergarten,
Open your mouth now, or prepare to open your wallet forever,
Elmbrook panel urges 4-K plan,
Elmbrook to add 2 sections of 4k ,
Elmbrook to start 4-year old day care. Oops, excuse me, kindergarten