MJS gives bad information regarding Elmbrook referendum

It seems the truth isn’t really necessary when the MJS editorial board is trying to make a point. Today’s endorsement of the $62.2 million referendum includes this statement:

To their credit, the Elmbrook staff and School Board went back to the drawing board and to the citizens. The current plan is the outcome of about seven months of work by a seven-member task force that included four members who said they voted “no” last year. An independent group of citizens also considered the issue over several months and came up with a plan similar to the one voters will be deciding on April 1.

The Elmbrook school board did not use the recommendation of the seven-member task force. They added wants to that final work and put it to referendum. The task force DID NOT include 4 no voters, and those no voters it did include were never publicly known prior to the assignment, while all three yes voters were part of the public yes contingency.

Also, the independent group the MJS editorial board describes was entirely yes voters. Albeit many of these yes voters are people I enjoy as friends, we differ in opinion regarding the balance necessary between taxing and improvements for the schools.

It’s tough to dispel the wrong information the district has repeated week after week to be fact. Still, I have to try. Your decision and your vote deserves to be made on the facts, not the district’s – and even the only news source’s – revision of history.

Surprising that the MJS would support Mayor Jeff Speaker and a dozen council members on this $62.2 call? Nope. After all the whole group thought combined referendums for $108.8 million were a good idea a year ago.


  1. BrkfldDad says:

    Eerie sense of quiet on this go around. I usually am pretty good on picking up sentiments and trends, but it’s not so clear this time. I think the political and media endorsements don’t mean anything, otherwise we would have spent $100MM+ last year. I think this one’s going to be very close. Under normal circumstances, I’d predict a 53/47 defeat, but I don’t think these circumstances are normal, there’s no race of any excitement level that piggybacks against this referendum and will draw apathetic voters. I’ve only been able to really confirm two things in my gut. One – there’s a general sentiment of resignation that we have to spend a lot either way and if we don’t spend it now, it’s just gets more expensive (i.e., this referendum now is more about final design than final cost). Two – I haven’t found one person yet, except for school board members I know, who isn’t rather perturbed if not outright hacked at the extension and raise for Dr. Gibson. There’s a good chance that that move could backfire into extra no votes on the referendum, we will have to see.

  2. I also feel a defeat is eminent. Not one of the no voters I had met prior to the last referendum has changed their mind for this round. The only woman I know who was close to switching her vote has decided against the referendum, but I don’t know why.

    Nothing changed from the previous attempt. The no votes were as much a referendum on the district as the buildings.

  3. kathleenm says:

    You can call out ErnstUlrich Franzen on this one.He is the editorial writer for Waukesha County, and often does not do his home work.

    Ernie is an obvious tool of Ricardo Pimentel.
    Never believe a word either of them say.

  4. Cindy,

    I have to wonder – is there any referendum the district will propose that you will support?

    This almost sounds as bad as Franklin’s situation with district referendums.

  5. I think Cindy stands where I stand–that unless we get down to needs and get rid of this ridiculous non-resident enrollment, the answer is no.

    My position is that I will only vote for a one high school option.

  6. Greg, as I mentioned in the letter to the editor, had the board respected the final report of the group that spent months on the issue I would have had a hard time saying no.

    Removing non-resident enrollment is a really big issue here. We’re being asked to build more square footage so that we can accommodate students outside the taxpayer district.

  7. I don’t know if a one high school option is such a great idea, Shawn.

    As for this non-resident enrollment, correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t Elmbrook get extra assistance from the State if they include students from the Chapter 220 program? I thought that was the whole point of having it and encouraging districts to implement it.

  8. Greg, you might be a little late to the discussion. Yes, there’s money that comes in, but there’s also a significant cost to the taxpayers to support the extra students – especially when the facilities are labeled “crowded” and new square footage is demanded from the taxpayer in the form of a referendum.

  9. My qualm is two-fold–what Cindy said and also that Chapter 220 has put a financial choke hold on MPS, only to encourage more failure.

    And the one high school option is, to me, the only long-term feasible option.

  10. kathleenm says:

    Shawn, what would you do to support the one high school concept? Would you tear down one of the existing high schools?