Can someone help me understand this Elmbrook document?

Oh, I hate to look stupid here, but I’m kind of lost. Look at it and tell me what you think. I’m particularly confused how closing two grade schools didn’t create more cost reductions. At least I think that’s what I’m supposed to be seeing.

The Tuesday, January 27th documentation for the Elmbrook school board.


  1. Do you know what scenerios A, B and C are? Where does it say?

    Never mind, I missed the first page somehow. Your edit feature won’t let me delete the whole comment!

  2. This is above my pay grade.

  3. Looks like each open enrollment child is worth about $5,000.


    What is the increase in revenue for each open enrollment child in future years?

    How many open enrollment children are added in subsequent years?

    They are stating that if they decrease open enrollment and 220, then they need to close schools because of overcapacity. They do not break down the detail on cost savings, and are attempting to show that if you decrease open enrollment and shut these schools down, you won’t save money.

    What is the risk?

    It would be interesting to see the capacity of other elementary schools.

    If they can move the the Montasorri school into Burleigh (or run YMCA like they are doing now), they can add some classes.

    Bottom line. Increase open enrollment and 220 for revenue.

    But what happens when the competition increases, and there are fewer children.

  4. Tinkerbell says:

    L.R. Remember that +$5K to the district is -$5K from taxpayers wallets. Bottom line: we are not so interested in increasing the gov’t revenue at our expense.

    What do you mean by, “If they can move the Montasorri school into Burleigh (or run YMCA like they are doing now), they can add some classes.”?

    When the competition increases and there are fewer children, all children will continue to be well-served whether in private, parochial, virtual, home, or public schools. In a fair market, competition generally brings positive results. We are focused on the best interests of the children, not creating bloated gov’t payrolls.

  5. “They do not break down the detail on cost savings, and are attempting to show that if you decrease open enrollment and shut these schools down, you won’t save money.”

    That’s what I surmised as well. Close two schools, but there won’t be any savings.

    And people complain when I suggest the school board doesn’t have any common sense. How would a reasoned individual agree with these numbers? I will keep in mind that the board received the documents the night of the vote, but to me, that means staff is manipulating the situation.

    Like I said in my original post, I think the board was set up with this one. Staff wanted the increase, proposed something hysterical, and smiled coyly to each other when they got the increase they actually wanted from the board. Funny how 74 seats created the most savings over 5 years.

  6. In general, I don’t think it makes sense to base your well-being or your decisions for the future of Elmbrook on continuous non-resident enrollment. Decisions should be made as if those students could be out of the financial picture tomorrow.

  7. Tink, we are not necessarily increasing government revenue at our own expense. They already have our money. It is possible that we can recoup some of it for our own district.

    The state funds 2/3 of state-wide school costs with tax dollars, but the state doesn’t distribute it on a strict per capita basis. Some districts get far more than 2/3 of their expenses covered by the state. Property rich districts, like ours, get less than 2/3. And we get a limit as to how much of our own money we can spend on our own kids (except by referendum), hence our annual budget slashing as costs increase but revenue doesn’t keep pace.

    So our tax dollars are supporting our schools more or less completely, and our tax dollars are supporting other districts also. If we bring a student from another district, the student comes with a fixed amount of cash (per capita–we know the number) that we get and the other district forfeits.

    I’m using all these waffle words because the school funding system is about as clear as the tax code, but this is more or less how it works. The moral and ethical aspects of who gets what is another whole discussion; I’m just trying to describe the money side.

    The big budget question is where the break-even point is–when are incoming students a financial asset and when are they a financial liability? I would watch Glen Allgaier for an answer to that.

  8. I agree with you Cindy. This was a total set up.

    There was a board member that wanted statistics on non-resident information, right?

    Looks like he asked for a number that would cover the shortfall, and created the 3 scenarios for cover.

    Tinkerbell, public schools MUST provide education to it’s resident students if the students chose this option. So build away at OUR (taxpayers) expense, to provide education to those 12% who do not live in Elmbrook district. Then collect the $5,000 that is also coming out of our wallets, as you have stated.

    Tinkerbell, this isn’t free market, it is the building of an Empire.

    And 5 years from now, you will deal with over capacity, and may not find “high quality” non-residents to learn with resident children.

    My statement on Monesorri Schools is in reference to the district stating it could “relocate” the Monesorri school presently housed at a district facility to Burleigh.

    If they have enough room at Burleigh for this, how much additional capacity do they have in all elementary schools? Why can’t they consolodate and decrease the burden on the taxpayers?

  9. Tinkerbell says:

    L.R., well said! I concur. If I may take it one step further, I would state that while we have some quality non-res pupils, generally those with ties to the community, we also seem to have more problems with out-of-district pupils in general, therefore we may already be experiencing some degree of problem finding quality non-res pupils. No need to wait 5 years for that to happen.

    Kathryn, I follow what you are saying and it does sound somewhat familiar. If I can take this one step further I would add that I have a foggy recollection of someone saying that once a threshold number of students is reached, the district may charge local residents additional property tax based on larger pupil count. In addition to considering the revenue stream, we may be wise to consider costs… do non-res pupils, in general, utilize costlier services? From longer bus commutes to extra help in the classroom to disciplinary issues, etc, count the cost. I believe it is most accurate to work with the net figure, not the gross revenue dollars.

  10. Busing wouldn’t be a part of this district argument. Open Enrollment students must manage their own transportation; 220 is under state funding. (Yes, technically a tax paid issue, but not an Elmbrook issue.)

    I have heard considerable anecdotal evidence that makes me think we should look into the disciplinary costs, both financial and emotional/learning, of allowing non-resident enrollment.

  11. Randy in Richmond says:

    I’m glad our school systems don’t have the power to tax.