Theder supports referendum

Jerry Theder was to co-chair of the HSST/Next Steps team that met for several months. He has an opinion piece that will be in BrookfieldNOW. He says the additions the board made will only cost $1,000,000 more.

Sadly, the rest of us can not confirm that number. The Elmbrook School District still will not release the details of this referendum or the details of the HSST/Next Steps recommendation. The only thing I can find for sure is the decision to change the team’s enrollment number for each high school from 1,150 students (the number the district paid a consultant to figure) to 1,270 students. That’s an increase of 120 students per school or more than 10%. All that for $1 million more?

Here are the notes from the January 2, 2008 board work meeting. (Code for you won’t find it taped anywhere…and emphasis is mine.)

DISCUSS HIGH SCHOOL FACILITIES – The Board expressed appreciation to the High School Facilities Next Steps Steering Team (HSFNSST) for their extensive work and expressed appreciation to eProgress for an alternate recommendation. The Board discussed high school models indicating consensus on remodeling two high schools pending costing, discussed traveling between two high schools in the future for upper level courses, questioned the 1,150 student recommendation for sizing and suggested a slightly larger population to accommodate the current student population; discussed the program of specifications and expressed consensus on the HSFNSST recommendation for teacher planning areas, suggested adding two more core classrooms to accommodate current student population, requested information on enlarging some core area classrooms to anticipate some larger sections that may be driven by budget constraints, questioned the addition of physical education spaces and received an explanation of repurposing the gym, asked questions about the circulation at Brookfield Central, requested additional information about accommodations for ADA, requested further information on security, requested information on where external updates will occur, discussed phasing of the building project, and discussed communication of how the project would meet the needs and how the current proposal compares to the April, 2007 referendum proposal.

From the January 8th board meeting:

two additional classrooms at each high school in core areas and enlarging two classrooms per core area in English, math, and social studies and one classroom in foreign language to anticipate or accommodate some larger sections that would be driven by budget constraints

Larger classrooms were rejected specifically BECAUSE the team did not want more students per teacher. But, the administration pushed it, the board agreed, and now Theder agrees, too. He walks away from hours and hours where he made these numbers the number one issue the team discussed. Is that a flip, or a flop? If he’s changing his mind and thinks the board wisdom is much beyond his own (as his e-mail just stated) I hope like heck he lets the rest of us in on it soon. (Also, remember the Vote NO group had never heard of the “no” voters recruited for the HSST team.)

Just like I hope the administration gives me something to compare the two – the team recommendation and the board referendum. It’s only two weeks until this vote, you know. They are asking me to vote on faith.

Do you have faith in the district when it comes to spending your money to the tune of $62.2 million?