Says there are other ways to address budget
Please accept this letter as an open invitation to the Menomonee Falls school superintendent, board, finance director, "Yes" supporters, parents and community at large to immediately meet to work out an understanding of how the supposed projected funding shortfalls over the next three years could easily be met with very minor tweaks and approaches without the draconian reconfiguration proposals suggested by the district.
Everyone can agree the Falls wants to give every student an opportunity to get a really good education. Where the rub can come is how to approach the funding apparatus to pay for the 500-employee workforce on an annual basis of some $48 million.
Taxpayers of Menomonee Falls and Wisconsin have involuntarily given the Falls District around $500 million over the last 10 years to operate the district. Enrollment has been on the decline for some 12-15 years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As a matter of fact, according to the district's website, this year's graduating class will be 338 students. The average class size for current grades 6-8 will drop to an astonishing 289 students for an average loss of 15 percent per class.
It is believed by the majority of voters in the April 4 election the District is awash with alternatives, options, assets, resources and various funding methods that, if exercised, would easily be able to meet the projected funding shortfalls in spite of what has been communicated to the community at large.
It is hoped the superintendent will take a leadership role and utilize the many options and resources available to the district that would completely eliminate the unnecessary need to implement the proposed draconian "reconfiguration plan" just to, for what some believe, will be used to make an example of Menomonee Falls and the alleged funding shortfalls.
The community is way past the empty and hollow "take-it-or-leave-it" or "it's Scott Walker's fault" or "you don't like kids or teachers" or the seeming outright refusal to consider any other approach to address the supposed pending funding shortfall.
The Vote "No" supporters are willing and waiting to meet as soon as possible to start the process of making this work to protect our kids and move the community forward.
Disappointed in referendum results
An open letter to Sen. Darling, Rep. Knodl and Rep. Brandtjen.
We have failed our children.
By 232 votes, Menomonee Falls has voted no on the three-year operating referendum. Our community was divided by 3 percent on how to best educate our most precious future asset: our children.
Rep. Knodl, at your town hall meeting in Glendale you shared that you felt referenda were a way for the community to weigh in on what they wanted. What happens now when my district starts to become a "have-not district?"
Rep. Brandtjen, your name was endorsing candidates on a flyer that encouraged residents to "vote no." You do not reflect the views of almost half of Menomonee Falls.
Sen. Darling, you tout a record that supports education, but I urge you to focus resources to support 860,000 public school students in Wisconsin.
I urge you all to support the increased funding that Gov. Scott Walker and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers are proposing. I thank them for recognizing the need to restore funding to our public schools. After $2.6 billion dollars in cumulative cuts in education funding since 2011, it's time to stop failing our children.
We have already failed 4,000 Menomonee Falls public school students.
The School District of Menomonee Falls has made $11.5 million in reductions since 2011 to stay within our revenue limit that is $6 million lower than it was seven years ago. Now $6.4 million needs to be cut over the next three years.
Our children deserve better than this.
How can we help our great state of Wisconsin live up to its motto of "forward" when education funding for public schools keeps going backward?
Legislators, we are counting on you to do better for our children.