Superintendent’s father-in-law supports referendum
Before I start, I need to declare that I am the father-in-law of Patricia Greco, superintendent of schools. However, I was substitute teaching nine years before she became superintendent.
In my 15 years subbing in the high school, I have seen many changes. I have seen tech ed (autos, woodworking, metal working and print shop) go from five teachers to one. I have seen class sizes rise. It has been stated that our per-pupil cost is high as compared to other school districts without asking the question, why?
I did just that and the reason is twofold.
One is that we offer smaller class sizes at the elementary level and we have more class options at the secondary level. The second reason is that we employ more educational assistants. I have spent 15 years watching and subbing for these educational assistants.
The school board has two plans, one if the referendum passes and one if it fails. If the referendum fails, in the next three years the school district will be forced to lay off 40 employees. Class sizes will increase even more than what they are now. The elementary schools will be restructured.
There are two communities who forced their school boards to reduce budgets and property values dropped like a rock. Already our school district has reduced costs by reducing staff, employees pay 13 percent more for their health insurance premiums and they have a $4,000 family deductible. Energy costs have been reduced by $7 million (there are days I wear my coat all day) and much more.
So folks, the ball is in your court. There is no threat here, just facts from a guy who has spent 15 years in the bowels of the school district. Please vote yes on April 4.
Asks how much is enough?
I just looked at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee website to see the cost of tuition. A full course load with fees is about $11,000 for a year.
Let’s consider the Menomonee Falls School District costs. The spending per pupil is over $13,000 per year.
Yet is this enough? Apparently not.
When will they stop asking? At 15, 20, or $25,000 per pupil? I doubt it.
Do you realize that after 13 years of schooling, you could have purchased a $175,000 home for each student instead? Do you realize that voucher schools somehow get by with 40 percent less per pupil.
We elected a governor that promised and delivered lower taxes. MFSD is trying to guilt us into giving this money back.
The first two referendums were already too much. MFSD, stop begging.
Retired teachers support referendum
As retired teachers, parents of two very successful MFHS grads and volunteers at Riverside for over 15 years since retirement, we know first-hand the excellence of our school system. We also know of the growing needs and budget restrictions we have faced in this district for far too many years.
We came to this community because of its excellent school system, all provided by previous taxpayers. For that reason,n we feel an obligation to present and future families to continue that proud reputation. We support the current referendum 100 percent and urge others to do the same.
Susanne and Bill Gay
Says referendum should wait
The Menomonee Falls School Board (MFSB) is at it again. They have another referendum on the ballot to increase our taxes again. I urge you to vote no on April 4. Here's why.
First of all, the governor has already proposed a significant increase in shared revenue in this year’s budget for the "rich property" districts. (That's us.) This ballot referendum should be postponed until the state budget is finalized. MFSB will undoubtedly be getting an increase in shared revenue even as the number of their students declines.
Regarding the referendum, many taxpayers can't afford these increases. But if you read the points on the website of the Menomonee Falls Taxpayers Association, you will conclude we have "tax and spenders" running our school district. The association has studied the school district's budgets and spending, and found they receive almost $2,000 more in revenue per student than either Germantown or Hamilton yet their academic results still lag our neighbors.
Recently the MFSB sold some "surplus" property for $900,000. Rather than using it to essentially eliminate part of the need for this referendum, they've decided to put it away for more capital expenses so they don't have to bother getting approval from taxpayers. This is after they received $32.7 million for
capital expenses from us last year.
MFSB doesn't need more revenue. We need less spending. We need a school board that doesn't just talk about being more careful with taxpayer money at election time but practices what they preach on a regular basis. Please vote no.
Shows support for referendum
This community has something special going on for the children of Menomonee Falls. I was an 11-year resident in the city of Waukesha and chose to sell the home we started our family in to commit to this community.
I am concerned that my children will not have the same experience many other students have had in our elementary schools. There is a clear difference between how Menomonee Falls elementary schools see our children versus other school districts. Value is placed on each child’s unique abilities and talents; personalization is at the heart of education here. Having quality instruction from the special areas of art, music and physical education help to drive that personalized experience for our students. There are many individual learning connections happening with all students by the hands of many different staff members. There are serious concerns that if our neighborhood schools are broken up and class sizes increase, students will lose those close, personal connections they have.
My wife and I are both teachers and I am currently the art teacher at Riverside and Valley View elementary school. There are many great things happening for the children who attend Riverside and Valley View that build independent learning skills and innovative creativity. My wife and I decided to build in Menomonee Falls because of the great schools and school district’s mission to meet the needs of the children of the community.
It is worth the efforts because we see the commitment from all teachers, principals and support staff. There are many great things happening that set our district above the neighboring schools. I do not want my children to miss out on the great opportunities our school district is providing. Without this referendum, our children may not have the great experiences as many other children and families have had.
Trustee praises quality of life
At a recent village board meeting, our community development director presented the 2016 development report summarizing key accomplishments from last year. I would like to share some of the highlights from the report as well as my own personal thoughts as your trustee.
Menomonee Falls has experienced tremendous development in recent years. In 2016, the greatest number of building permits were issued than in any year since 2005 and projects totaling over $100 million in construction value were realized. We have seen solid growth in small business, commercial, and industrial sectors that have created jobs, enhanced peoples’ livelihoods, and contributed to a strong tax base. This economic growth, coupled with an efficient, cost-conscious village government, has resulted in the Falls having one of the lowest tax rates in southeastern Wisconsin, making us a very desirable place to live and work.
I have made it a point to attend as many groundbreaking/ribbon-cutting ceremonies as possible as I believe it is important that we foster strong relationships with businesses and celebrate their success. In every case, the owners thanked the village for how supportive they have been and for a straightforward approval process with minimal regulation.
AreaVibes, a group that assesses cost of living, amenities, education, jobs, and crime rate ranked us as the fifth-best place to live in Wisconsin. Out of 1,850 municipalities in Wisconsin, this is quite the accomplishment. Our crime rate is low thanks to our police department, who dedicates their lives to keeping us safe. These are good men and women who serve with a great sense of pride and commitment. The police chief told me recently that the residents have shown them so much appreciation in different ways. Thanks to all of you for your support of our officers in a challenging climate.
We have much to be thankful for and there is more work to be done. I am proud to call Menomonee Falls my home and I will continue to make decisions that uphold our high-quality of life and our low tax rate.
In favor of referendum
We are writing to encourage the residents of Menomonee Falls to vote yes in support of the operating referendum April 4.
Our school board and administrators have worked tirelessly to make the financial burden on the community minimal, while maintaining credibility as one of the most sought-after school districts in the state. They have preserved the community’s values (maintaining top-notch schools, protecting student offerings and class size, and education having a positive impact on home value), while being forced to make $11.15 million in budget cuts since 2011. This is not something to be overlooked. Our district is not alone in seeking help from the community. In fact, between spring 2016 and 2017, 139 districts are asking their communities to support more than 200 referendum questions in the state.
What is at risk if this referendum does not pass? Class sizes will be increased at all grade levels. Physical education, music, and art classes will be reduced, along with many elective courses. Advanced placement classes and the state and nationally recognized clubs and sports that our students are involved in will be significantly decreased. Forty staffing positions will be eliminated districtwide.
Our family moved to Menomonee Falls largely because of the great schools. We came from an area with significantly higher taxes and schools that ranked much lower. The future of our community -- home resale values, low crime rates, education of past and future children -- is worth so much more than this. We are extremely proud of the community we have chosen to raise our family in, and particularly the way the School District of Menomonee Falls has shown responsibility and perseverance in maintaining one of the core values of a great community: great education for our residents.
Brian and Kara White
Editor's note: The final issue Northwest Now will publish letters to the editor in regard to the April 4 election is March 23. The deadline to submit letters will be Friday, March 17, by the close of business.