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.
How often do we hear that the Elmbrook School District NEEDS to implement 4K to protect our property values? I have even heard it from a school board member, but I don't believe it is true.
No, I don't believe providing 4K is a necessary expenditure for Elmbrook to make in order to attract home buyers to our district. It was obviously not considered a necessity for the 3 subdivisions petitioning Elmbrook last night, which is why I felt compelled to speak up at the School Board meeting.(Agenda items 3 D,E,F,G)
There I sat in an audience of about 20, listening to each women representing their subdivision pitch their plea to attach their homes to the Elmbrook School District. Naomi, the first speaker, representing the Black Forest, Summit Lawn, and southern edge of the Shire subdivisions, explained that others from their group were at the Waukesha School Board meeting petitioning for detachment.
She went on to say that of the 74 school age children in their area, the majority go to private school or to Elmbrook through open enrollment. I did remember that same statement being made at their last attempt to join the Elmbrook School District in 2009. She mentioned that they had petitioned Elmbrook before but were denied. Now their year cooling off period was over and they were trying again. Another woman named Jane then addressed the board; Maurene spoke for residents of Emerald Ridge. One of them mentioned they had been trying to get into Elmbrook for over 10 years.
Wow--10 years of trying to get into Elmbrook? It would have been simpler to just buy in Elmbrook, wouldn't it?
Then I noticed the pages of school districts with 4K in the packet of papers given to attendees. I was pretty sure Waukesha HAD 4K, but checked to verify. Sure enough, there on page 4A-8 Waukesha was listed as providing 4K.
So these 3 areas HAD 4K, but the parents chose to send the majority of their children either to private school or to Elmbrook that doesn't have 4K. Doesn't that say it all? I quickly filled out a request to speak. (FYI, the board unanimously approved these requests to join Elmbrook. This request must be approved by the state, however.)
There were 2 other speakers who chose to address the board before the 4K discussion began.
Nancy Kormanik, spoke against 4K, saying that taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for a program that isn't mandatory. Kormanik, I found out, was a teacher at MATC.
Betsy, the 2nd speaker, talked about 4K not being a new program, that her children had 4K in Wauwatosa, then moved into Elmbrook the following year and had a repeat in our 5K. Here parting words were If you are going to compete, you have to have 4 year old kindergarten. (She wasn't exactly an example of no 4K lowering property values, since she did move into our district the next year.) I couldn't ask for a better set up to speak.
Stating the obvious that isn't so obvious
This was very off the cuff; my address went something like this: I agreed 4K wasn't new; I had 4K! But I didn't choose to move to Shorewood (where I had 4K) but chose Brookfield instead. I also mentioned that we are told--even by a school board member--that 4K is necessary to protect our property values, yet we have 3 living examples of people living in subdivisions, in a district that HAS 4K, petitioning to join a district that DOES NOT HAVE 4K! What matters is the quality of an Elmbrook education.
Incidentally, Mequon-Thiensville School District outscored us with its 25.9 composite score, as did West High in the Madison School District, also with 25.9. Why do I mention them? Because neither of them have 4K.
Later in the discussion, Tom Gehl cautioned about increasing the number of non-resident students just to fill our vacant elementary space. He hinted that there was a correlation between Elmbrook slipping from its #1 status in (ACT) test scores and the number of non-residents.
Jean "Lambert said she believes money would be better spent bolstering outcomes at the higher grades in preparation for post-graduation than at the elementary school level."
I couldn't agree more. So, please Elmbrook, concentrate on the things that matter, the quality of your product which is education, and leave day care where it belongs, in the private sector.
Contact the board:
Elmbrook School Board:
President Tom Gehl firstname.lastname@example.org
Meg Wartman email@example.com
Glen Allgaier firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Jones email@example.com
Jean Lambert firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathryn Wilson email@example.com
Robert Ziegler firstname.lastname@example.org