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.
See UPDATE at bottom of post.
Last night the Elmbrook School Board unanimously approved annexing the area in question from the City and Town of Brookfield. (No big surprise there.)
But it is not a done deal...yet. Since Waukesha denied the request and Elmbrook approved, the measure now goes before the Department of Public Instruction. (Waukesha does not want to lose the state aid money from this area; Elmbrook would like that state aid money.)
It appears our board based their decision on the fact that the district would take in more money through the combined property taxes on 116 homes than they spend on the 30 estimated new students. (Per home property value estimates averaged $380,000 something. I think that is high.)
I don't understand how they figured there would only be 30 new students from an area of 116 homes, considering 15 are now in Waukesha's public schools and another 30 are currently open enrolled. (SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST) Even more children live in the neighborhood but attend private schools. I think the potential number of students is much higher. I think more students = more cost to Elmbrook taxpayers. Elmbrook looks at it as more students = more state aid in their budget.
This petitioning area is an older neighborhood, much like mine. Our home was built in 1942. The majority of homes on my street were built from the 1950s to 1960s. In the 23 years we have been here on Kinsey Park, our street has gone from a few children to its present 15. We are a renewing neighborhood and growing in population. I suspect this is true of the petitioning neighborhood too.
I can accept the idea that the actual City of Brookfield students should be added--just for consistency. For that matter, for consistency, why do we still have New Berlin students in Elmbrook? That decision was made years ago when the closest neighborhood school, Linfield, was virtually across the street on Greenfield Ave. But Lindfield School was closed years ago, and the New Berlin students must be bussed over to Swanson on Calhoun Rd. Their actual New Berlin neighborhood school would be much closer on Sunnyslope Rd., a few blocks south of Greenfield Ave.
The idea that we should add more neighborhoods on the premise that it helps our tax base escapes me. With that logic, why not annex all of the Town, or all of Waukesha?
If I hear more, I will try to update.
UPDATE: According to the Brookfieldnow watch, it seems there would be more than just 30 students coming to Elmbrook. School Board approves petition for Waukesha residents to join district: (My emphasis)
Should the residents be successful in their effort, the financial ramifications for Elmbrook and its taxpayers are uncertain. Expanding the district's tax base could mean lower taxes for all residents, and adding resident students could mean extra state aid.
However, according to numbers presented by the residents, most of their children attend private schools. Still, many parents at the hearing were quick to promise School Board members that they would transfer their students to Elmbrook if given the option. Some of the students already attend Elmbrook through Open Enrollment.
Remember, the more students from an area, the more it costs to educate
them / per taxpaying household. Example: If you had a neighborhood of
100 homes and only 10 students, you would have 100 homes paying
property taxes to Elmbrook to support 10 students. (The homes pay taxes
for the entire district, but this would be a way to judge the impact of
a new area on the budget.) If in that same 100 home area you had really
50 new students, do you see how admitting that area is not a money
maker but a money taker? (For Elmbrook's budget)
This is the breakdown the board was given for the area: 19 Open Enrollment students currently in Elmbrook, 21 Private/Parochial, 10* Waukesha Public Schools. If we add in some of those Private/Parochail students, as the parents promised, we are over the 30 student estimate.
*The Journal Sentinel stated there were 15 Waukesha Public School students.