Guest Posting: Opposed to the referendum – here’s why
The Elmbrook School District Accountability Study of October 2005 showed overwhelming opposition to any of the proposed alternatives, including remodeling. The major reason for opposition was that the cost was too high. The plan that EBSD is proposing shows fiscal irresponsibility, poor planning and facilities maintenance, and complete disregard for what local taxpayers, the majority of whom are over age 50 and retired, can afford.
The theory is that we need to spend an obscene amount of money to “maintain property values.” District taxpayers are still paying off debt from prior referendums that have been coming regularly over the past 6 -8 years. If this referendum passes, we will see City of Brookfield/Elmbrook School District go from 5th highest tax rate in Waukesha County to FIRST. One can buy a brand new home elsewhere within Waukesha County, and have a significantly lower tax bill. The higher a property’s tax, the fewer buyers that can afford the home. Since when do high property taxes attract buyers? Look to the City of Milwaukee for your answer.
District enrollment is declining, yet the school board wants to add a lot of new classroom space. The vast majority of district voters have no children in the schools, and many of them never had children in the schools. So the proposed expenditures are of no value to that population, unless you buy into the argument that the building is needed or your property value will drop like a rock. And unless you are planning to sell, that doesn’t impact you at all.
The other major argument is that the spending is needed to improve education, although the district already achieves top results statewide. No one is making the argument that student achievement will be increased by x% if the high schools are remodeled. Even the high school kids say it’s not needed, but of course, they’d like newer, bigger, better—who wouldn’t? The school district is already meeting educational expectations, so the building program is just an ego stroking exercise.
Barbara and Mike Shore
Board of Education High School Facilities Survey
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