Following the money at East High School

Coming to light in the last week is how the East Student Council raises and spends their money. What started as an innocent question – Why are East homecoming tickets so much more than other schools? – gave way to a couple of weeks of discovery. It’s turned into a lesson in politics, up close and personal.

Joe Springer, the current Junior Class president at East, wanted to know why East’s homecoming tickets were $25 while other area schools managed to have a dance with lower prices. He called around to the other schools and found the average ticket price for the conference of schools was $14.50. So where does the money go?

The bottom line: $5,000 was paid to graduating student council executive board members last year. Serve on the StuCo board; pay yourself money labeled scholarship at the end of your senior year. Two students had served two years and were given $1,500 each. Two students had one year on the exec board and received $1,000 each.

It would be really easy to discount this because kids need money for college. But where else can you charge other students to fund your education? If you think this is ok, then maybe you should hear Joe’s rebuttal:

Prom should higher $20 so as Jr. Class President, I walk away with a nice Scholarship at the end of the year.

Yearbook should increase $20 so the Yearbook editors get money at the end.

The Banner should cost money to get and read, so the editors get money at the end

All sporting events should raise $10, so that they players can get paid, they work hard too donโ€™t they?

Young Mr. Springer has recently asked for the fund reports from Central’s student council. He wants to know if they do it, too. He’s opened Pandora’s box, and he’s already starting to catch heck from the students as word gets out.

As a parent of an East student, I’m curious about this practice. So much money is funneled through the school. Does anyone really know where the PTO funds go? East 2000 and beyond? Yes, they are independent groups, but they raise funds on the students’ name. Would a donor even know if someone were making a similar practice of, say, scholarships to the president’s kid?

We just saw how the Elmbrook Education Foundation failed to answer the criticism when we discovered that all of the recent grant awards went only to one side of the district. Did I have a right to ask? Look at their books? Second guess their decision? They, too, are constantly raising funds in the name of our children.

We ran into this from Central not too long ago when looking for records from BC(2). You might remember, they are the parent group who promised and then failed to match funds for Central’s fancy fake football field. They wouldn’t even release a list of members. Can you imagine someone asking for financial reports?

One of the comments from that post suggests that Elmbrook’s School Board serves as the public oversight for these groups. Obviously, the board is falling down on the job.

In the last week a decision has supposedly been made the scholarships won’t be paid any longer. Any chance of independently verifying that detail a year from now?

Comments

  1. Is this the scandal that everyone’s been talking about recently?

  2. This is the news that’s come to light. Whether or not it will be labeled a scandal isn’t my call.

  3. Randy in Richmond says:

    It would be a scandal here–and possibly illegal if where the money was going was not made public prior to the ticket sales.

  4. Santa's Elf says:

    Woa, do the participants get AP credits for skimming, scamming and financial mayhem?

    Seems as though there is room here to organize an alternate prom supported by students who don’t wish to get whacked prior to leaving high school. Say one in which the financial statements are presented to each participant for audit at the door.

    Perhaps if the Madoff group had a prom go bust and had to run to Dr. Matt for bailout funds, the schools would begin to watch this thing more carefully.

    I can definitely see the gym-deprived Spartanettes leading the charge here and doing some good for everyone involved.

  5. The students are absolutely not made aware of where any of this money goes prior to ticket sales, nor even after. In fact, most of my classmates just naturally assumed that the entire cost went to covering the dance. (Dj, decorations, etc.). NOTHING

    I repeat

    NOTHING is told to the students about where the money raised from Homecoming goes. Not before the ticket sales, not after, not ever. Until now of course.

  6. Also, Santa’s Elf,

    Remember this is Homecoming, not Prom. Homecoming is done by Student council, Prom is done by the Jr. Class President, which is me, and i would never do such a thing to my students.

  7. Joe,
    Your actions in bringing this to light are admirable and I congratulate you on your strong sense of morality. Anyone who gives you grief over this is most likely someone who should be avoided in life anyway. Remember…

    “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.”
    -Thomas Babington Macaulay

    Randy,
    I’m with you on questioning the legality of what transpired – especially considering the events are school-sponsored. Clearly the school must have been aware of this practice, and have sanctioned it. If it was not aware, then why?

    Cindy,
    I think your point is well-taken and extends beyond even these private groups to the general “school fees” that parents are charged every year. They vary from school to school, and parents are never really told what, EXACTLY, they will be used for or why the hefty property taxes we pay are not enough.

  8. Excellent point about the school fees.

  9. BrkfldVoter says:

    Thank you Joe for following your curiosity and being a catalyst for TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY. That’s true leadership. I join Libby in affirming your actions.

  10. As an Executive Board member at Brookfield East, I find this article to be completely one-sided. We, as Exec. Board members, do not pay ourselves money labeled as scholarship; it is scholarship. Also, we do not decide on the scholarship, our advisors do, which is approved by the administration. I admit, we made a mistake on the ticket prices. We relied on the past prices of Homecoming and were not aware of the prices at other schools. Looking back, the prices were obviuosly too high, but they were not high to fund our scholarships. The finds from homecoming go to support many of our community and school events. We apoligize for these prices, but to imply a scandal or corruption is far-fetched at best. This article is a lousy and sad attempt at jounalism. Now excuse me, I have a clase to go to.

  11. I am the student council advisor at Brookfield Central and Young Mr. Springer must learn to go to the source. I have never been contacted by him nor anyone else about this issue and to publish the statement that he has contacted people and opened a ‘pandora’s box’ is just plain silly. None of my officers have mentioned it, nor has anyone else so to say that he is ‘catching heck’ sound like soneone’s imagination got the better of him! I can tell you that we charge $20. per ticket and the students get a t-shirt along with that. My daughter pays $15.00 and does not get a t-shirt. When you add the cost of chaperones, police officers, decorations, tickets, a dj, the expense of the week’s activities, and the multitude of other expenses, we make very little profit. WE want our dance to be exceptional, so we don’t spare a lot of expense. Most schools use the dance as a fundraiser; that is not unusual. The council raises the money, it should be the council’s choice as to how it is spent. I have attended senior honors night for many years and know that student council is not the only group giving out scholarships. SO are all of you of the opinion that no student groups should ever give out scholarships?

  12. Ooh, Nita. Defensive much? How about if I ask you for a copy of your funding for the school year 2008 2009 and 2009 to current date. If you’d like me to make that request more formally, just say so.

    And yes, I think I am of the opinion that no student group should hand out scholarships when the group’s mission states something else entirely.

    Judging by your reaction, the comparison of Pandora’s box might be right on target.

  13. As an ANONYMOUS Executive Board member at Brookfield East, you aren’t exactly making an impact here. I will say I heard that East Principal Brett Bowers was aware of the practice.

  14. Randy in Richmond says:

    Anonymous
    I apoligize[sic] that you find this site a sad attempt at journalism. I fully hope the clase[sic] you had to run off to was English grammar. It is obviuosly[sic] apparent that there are more problems at your school than the misuse of funds or pricing protocol.

  15. Nita –
    If you are asking for a vote, then my vote would be “No – no student groups should be giving out scholarships with money that is not knowingly donated for that specific purpose.” If the Student Council wishes to have a fundraiser to accumulate funds for scholarships to be awarded to a select group of students, then they should state so. Requiring students to donate to these scholarships by incorporating the “fundraiser” into the ticket price of a school-sponsored event is extortion. Furthermore, doing so without full-disclosure as to the intent of the money is fraud.

    ps. Since when do chaperones get paid?

  16. Cindy,
    Defensive? Is it defensive to report facts? No one contacted me, but your blog says they did. I am the one being defensive? This is so funny to me. I love a good laugh on my lunch break. Why are you reporting that I was asked for the records and now you are, for the first time, asking me for the records. I rarely read this stuff because I know the facts are a mess, if present at all. You take a tone with people who try to dispute you by attempting to belittle them, but you simply do not have your facts straight. YOu suggest that the request should be asked more formally…how about at ALL before you start berating either groups. The danger is this kind of yellow jounalism is that people believe things in print to be the truth. It is sad. It is also sad that some adult felt it necessary to personally attack the exec board member at East. Again, the word “childish” and mean-spirited comes to mind.

  17. Randy in Richmond says:

    It’s pretty simple .Have the school prepare a balance sheet on the funds generated and spent. It should show at least a $5,000 profit based on the info we have been supplied. Show what was done with the five grand. Your costs are irrelevant because you generated a profit. Get the school board and student body to approve giving four students the five grand and you should be good to go.
    And good luck with doing this. Your students will learn that ‘daylight’ has a meaning other than the sun shining.

  18. No one said you were contacted. The post said Joe has asked for the report. He could have asked anyone and you haven’t had the request through the channels yet. He could be planning to ask today and I read his e-mail incorrectly. What you can assume is that the records for your organization will be requested and those numbers made public.

    That would be called getting the facts, ma’am.

    It’s very common for accusations to fly every time I stumble upon that very thing one would like to keep secret. You should know you can call me pretty much anything and it won’t make a difference; I have been called all that before and it usually only strengthens my resolve. If you’d like to present counterbalance in the way of facts, however, that’s always welcome.

  19. Randy – Nita is from the other high school in the Elmbrook district – Central – and not East, the one originally discussed.

  20. Libby,
    First off…we have to pay teachers to chaperones, always have. That money comes from our profits and is true for any group putting on events with the exception (I think) of athletics events. Due to the fact that we have close to one thousand kids at our dance, we need quite a few chaperones. We have also hired four police officers whom we pay as well.
    Secondly, I can agree with your argument about fund rasing specifically for scholarships. We did do that last year; all students were aware that we were doing so. I am not sure that it is fair to attack East though. The scholarships have been a part of the culture since I have been in the district. The advisors at East are relatively new and are likely following the process. They are both very honest and very sincere in making their council successful. This type attack does not encourage teachers to do extra-curricular activities. Both of the advisors at East should be lauded for their time and efforts to make leadership a priority at that school.

  21. Randy in Richmond says:

    Sorry. My mistake. Correction made.

  22. If this practice sees the light of day and survives, so be it. Just because it’s always been done that way doesn’t necessarily make it right.

    Nita, does the student council at Central offer similar payments? Are they always to members of the StuCo executive board? For how much? You could fill us in while you’re here.

  23. Randy in Richmond says:

    Nita
    Are you saying that Mr. Springer lied ? That the $5,000 was not given as scholarships? That Cindy cannot support her statement as to where the $5,000 went ? No matter what explanation he would have been given by you or anyone else will change those facts. Because it’s always been done means nothing. For your charge against this site of yellow journalism please provide where opinion was used as fact by the author. Start by providing where Cindy says she asked you for records.
    Thank you.

  24. Nita,
    I see now that you were talking about staff as chaperones – not parents. Thank you for clarifying. I still question why those payments to staff would be funded by a school-sponsored club (like student council) for a school-sponsored activity…and not by the district itself (as is typically the case with any staff hours that fall outside of the regular contract – for example coaching duties.) How does the district then account for those payments? Are the teachers paid cash? Does the Student Council pay the district, who then turns around and pays the teachers? (I can understand the club paying for the Police directly, since I imagine you are contracting with them separately – as you are the DJ, etc.) The custodial staff must get some extra pay for the work required before/after a dance (or any other event) held at school. Are their payments also funded by the Student Council? Seems odd.
    By the way, no one is attacking the teachers who run the Student Council. We are questioning the practice of giving Student Council members “scholarships” using money intended for a school-sponsored activity that was, in actuality, extorted in a fraudulent manner.

  25. Nita – i don’t think anyone comes here expecting journalism. This is a blog run by individuals with an opinion. If 5 grand is such a non issue, let me know, I’d be happy to provide you with my personal address and you can send me with a check made out to “cash”. The fact of the matter is that students shouldn’t be funding others’ college (scholarship, yeah right!) under the guise of dance admission.

  26. BrkfldDad says:

    Forget the dance tickets funding the scholarship(s), I am betting it fleshes out they don’t. But… the scholarships period cause me some concern. I wonder how many students are aware of these scholarships and for what positions they are awarded for. How many students would have run for Council if they knew a scholarship was there at the end for their taking, just for service? I know a lot of kids who put in a whole lot of time and effort at the schools, strictly volunteer, and may get a nice resume adder for their effort. However, none of them are compensated in anyway.

    I think the fact that there is such a reaction to all of this, is a great indication that this pat on the back in the form of $$ was hoped to be kept under wraps.

  27. I am not leaving this comment to start an argument I just hope to clear a few things up. As both a member of Student Council Exec Board at East and the Senior Class President I have a good perspective of both sides.

    The members of Exec. Board in no way manipulate ticket prices to “pad their scholarships,” the tickets have always been this price and were not influenced by secondary motives. They should not be punished and reprimanded for walking into this tradition (a tradition that has never been a secret).

    Second I am somewhat saddened to see adults attacking kids through the safety net of the internet. I would hope a matter like this could be handled in a more mature manner.

    Again I do not wish to argue via the internet.

    Well wishes to all.

  28. Brookfield person says:

    Just to clarify… where the money goes has never been a SECRET… Anyone could go to the school office and see how stuco spends their money. Homecoming has always been a fundraiser to support the other school/cummunity activities stuco plans… such as kids night, teacher breakfasts, morp, and others. Everything stuco event gives back to the community and the kids put in a lot of work, more than you would know unless you were apart of it.

    Finally, all of the exec board members DID NOT run for board just to get a scholarship or a resume builder… these are respectable kids that want to better the community.

  29. Thanks for the comment, Andrew. You say tickets have always been this price, but an anonymous member of the exec board says they were indeed too high. Also, though this is a tradition, I can’t say it’s been public knowledge.

    No one’s in any kind of trouble. What needs to happen is simple: the Elmbrook School board needs to tighten up funding policies for school organizations; a rule needs to be implemented regarding student group scholarships.

    As far as “adults attacking kids” Andrew, I just haven’t seen that. Adults are voicing opinions about policies. It’s well understood the kids don’t make those rules. But if you’d like to do something mature, take this issue and give it the daylight it deserves. Involve advisors and the Elmbrook board. Make it your legacy to clear the policy air.

  30. Brookfield person says:

    Randy in Richmond // Nov 9, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Anonymous
    I apoligize[sic] that you find this site a sad attempt at journalism. I fully hope the clase[sic] you had to run off to was English grammar. It is obviuosly[sic] apparent that there are more problems at your school than the misuse of funds or pricing protocol.

    -this isnt attacking a student????

  31. Brookfield person: If it wasn’t a secret, then who knew? If anyone could go to the school office, why was it so hard for Joe to get the data?

    No one ever said these were anything but respectable kids.

  32. Brookfield person says:

    it wasn’t hard…its public information…the people who know are the people who care enough about the subject to go ask for the records. I don’t think any school budget is paraded around the community for everyone to see…its not that its kept a secret, its just not paraded around.

  33. Missed that one. Anonymous comments don’t get the same respect, I’m afraid. The real world is full of hardball. Best get used to it now.

  34. The Lorax says:

    How sad; I missed an entire day of screaming. Reminds me of an old favorite, Macbeth:

    “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.”

    But really, I think it’s time for a new thread on this subject, with the (little) new information synthesized.

  35. Brookfield person says:

    too bad the person who made the attacking coment was Randy in Richmond

  36. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the misuse of grammar and slight attitude my previous message. Maybe my point wasn’t expressed clearly: there are two sides to every story and for Mrs. Kilkenny to post this article or blog based on one person’s account isn’t right. You can find our funding records in the office, as its public knowledge. And yes ticket prices may have been too high, but historically at east they have always been. While this doesn’t make it right, we were unaware of the prices around the area. With this knowledge the prices will obviously be going down. Also, it must be understood that prices are not inflated to pad our scholarships, as asserted in this article. Furthermore, they are scholarships, and have been used to further the leadership of previous Exec. Board Members at the collegiate level, not spending sprees at Mayfair Mall.

  37. We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I know gathering the information was more difficult than going to the school office.

    Time will tell if anything changes based on the wider public’s knowledge of the “tradition.”

  38. Brookfield person says:

    I agree… but how would you know how difficult it was to gather the information?

  39. Well, you guys go right ahead and tell your side of the story. We’re listening! Hey, I know – why don’t you e-mail a copy of that spending report that’s so easy to acquire. I’ll pop it right up so everyone will have the same information.

    (Did anyone else notice the Central Advisor disappeared when asked if they do it, too?)

  40. Brkfld person – I only know what I was told by my source. I have no reason to disbelieve the notes he provided. There wasn’t ever a suggestion that he waltz into the school office and pick up the fundraising info for StuCo.

  41. After reading all of this, this not the right place to be talking about this. Some of these comments have gotten very rude. This subject should be handled maturely and face to face.

  42. Tyler Karian, Junior Class Secretary says:

    Regardless of what exec. board members say about the ticket prices not “padding their scholarships”, the fact of the matter is that at the end of last year $5000 went to scholarships for four exec. board members. Since the student councils main (and possibly only) source of revenue is homecoming, the students ticket money is directly paying for these scholarships. Regardless of all of the possible costs and expenses for the dance the surplus of money shouldn’t be used to give to four students as scholarships. If the excess money is there, prices should be lowered!

  43. Why don’t you get a life. You sound like a bored housewife who has nothing better to do than stir up trouble for attention. Scholarships have been awarded for years by different groups at BEHS. All of a sudden it is unethical ? Why don’t you go after all the other clubs and even the PTO who grant scholarships probably with some of the money I have contributed for membership and directories over the years. You are making a mountain over a mole hill. So homecoming is a fundraiser big deal! Get a life.

  44. Mia, I love comments like yours!

    Tyler, thanks for weighing in on this one.

    kiaahh, I think we’re doing ok. If anyone goes face to face on this, why don’t you let us know?

  45. Randy in Richmond says:

    Brookfield person & Nita & Mita
    Pointing out the poor spelling of a high school senior or junior is attacking him (or her) ? Is childish? Is mean spirited ? It used to be called grading or reviewing. If it were my child I would be appreciative.
    And actually it was directed as much to the teachers and administrators but apparently it makes no matter.

  46. If homecoming ticket prices were too high this year—simple solution lower them next year.
    But do not accuse the students and the teachers who advise the club of committing a conspiracy to pad scholarship funds. As a individual with direct knowledge this simply is not true. And Cindy can you please address if you will be attacking the other clubs at BEHS and the PTO for their scholarship endeavors.

  47. Randy in Richmond says:

    Brookfield person
    Do you mean being a parent in Brookfield is different from being a parent in Richmond? Or do you mean since I don’t live there I shouldn’t comment? Or do you mean that since you have no facts to refute what’s being discussed you make it personal to change the discussion?

    And comment has two m’s-not coment[sic].

  48. I do think it would be interesting to do a formal audit of all the groups for all the schools. However, even as a housewife with too much time on my hands in need of a life, I realize that might not be possible. My current plan is to wait and see if the Elmbrook School Board bothers to step up to the plate on this one. Given they have lives as well as board responsibilities, that might take a while. I doubt anything would happen until after the first of the year if I decide to continue to pursue this.

    Forgive me for mentioning it, but you seem to be worried.

  49. Let me mention something else. There’s a difference between an organization who grants a scholarship as stated in their mission versus one that fundraises and then pops money over to the decision makers on the side. If the PTO states it as part of their mission, cool. I would expect that group’s executive committee to exclude their own children from the pool of possible recipients, though. If I discovered scholarships went predominately to the board’s children, I’d let that be known.

    EEF granted a scholarship to a board member’s kid once while I was on the board. I didn’t stay on the board. I feel strongly about that.

    This issue is brand new. No one really has a list of the organizations who grant scholarships. If you do, by all means share.

  50. Joe - Junior Class President says:

    Look, as the source of this story, and all the information in it, and reasons behind it, i’ll throw my 2 cents out there on all these comments.

    Members of the Exec Board: You argue and protest that this is an actual Scholarship Awarded to you. It seem’s a little biased don’tcha think? I mean, the Exec Members have won the past what, 15 years? That’s not just a funny coincidence. Also, it takes up $5,000 dollars of Homecoming Money. When were you planning on telling Students that half of their money went to paying for, wait for it, YOUR COLLEGE education. And seriously, stop being a Coward and remove the
    “Anonymous” tag. Either publicly back up the words you say, or crawl back into the shadows of your fake scholarship.

    Anyone else find it funny that they only real people defending it are the Exec Members, the people receiving the money?

    Nita- Welcome to the Blog

    A) If you’re old enough to post here, you’re old enough to take the comebacks that come with it. If Randy wants to go and tease the kid, he’s entitled to do so. There’s no PG sticker around here anywhere.

    B) Seriously. Do we not have better things to be doing during the school day? I mean, you post on a blog with a bunch of Elmbrook taxpayers who are talking about auditing the system, and they do what? Pay for your Salary? Risky move.

    Bottom Line-

    The Scholarships are unfairly given out, and unfairly received. Exec Board. You are supposed to Represent the entire student body, along with be model leaders to us all. By Accepting this money, and fighting for the Scholarships, you are letting us all down. This is the STUDENTS money, it should be spent on thinks that benefit the STUDENT. Not your personal education.

    IT DOES NOT MAKE LOGICAL SENSE why any student would KNOWINGLY give money away to other kids for their college education, when they need it just as bad.

    I run prom and other fundraisers. Should i be allowed to over charge so i can walk away with extra money? No, i shouldn’t. And neither should you.

    This is why the Scholarships have permanently ceased. They will never happen again.

  51. Joe,

    You have come under scrutiny for your offending remarks in regarding to teachers and the administration at BEHS. I will not repeat these comments but a real leader would not stoop to these comments and display your constant need for approval and attention. People can disagree with you that is why we are a democracy. Please quit trash talking the Executive Board Members and the Teachers and quit taking it so personally. There are not any “bad guys or girls” on the Board. They are good young men and women and have done a lot for the school. So chill out!

  52. Sue, Mia, kiaahh, Brookfield person

    We have a long tradition here at Fairly Conservative of asking one to comment under a single identity. Now I’m willing to believe there are a couple of people on this one IP, but the four of you need to resolve your personality issues. Otherwise I’ll be forced to block your comments.

    My blog, my rules.

    Until this crowd making comments under a single residential IP fesses up readers, know the four people are likely only one or two, and the public isn’t as divided as this reader hopes to make it appear.

  53. Joe - Junior Class President says:

    How I do love the power of IP addresses Cindy…

    Sue, Mia, Kiahh, Brookfield Person. Whoever you think you are, or are trying to be, let me make myself perfectly clear.

    I have made no comments to any Teachers that directly attack them in any way. Yes, i do admit, some of the e-mails i have sent to some of them have been in a harsh tone. But none attacked them, I made myself very sure of that. If you wish, I would be more then happy to release those e-mails to you, I just need to know which one of you to send it too
    ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are wrong however, in that i should not take this personally. I went to homecoming this year, and i brought a date, therefore I paid a whooping $50. By last year’s calculations, $15 of that will go to paying for someone else’s College Education. That’s MY MONEY that Exec Board is spending on themselves. I was elected as the President on the promise to my peers that I would “Get Shit Done” for a change as many past officer elects have done nothing. I have been aggressive in my investigation, this i don’t deny. But the Junior Class demands a lower cost to Homecoming. And to know that this whole time it has been higher because Exec Board was getting huge payouts at the end of the year, it makes me angrier then ever.

    Also, this is a blog of facts. Do not threaten me that you have information about what I said but “won’t repeat it”

    Either State the Facts or state nothing at all.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Joe, are you serious- “crawl back into the shadows of your fake scholarship”? We are your fellow students who have done absolutely nothing to you. Your anger is astounding. You have done nothing but bad-mouth the Executive Board behind our backs to our peers, teachers, and now community members. Its sad when everyday for the past week I get to hear, “Guess what Joe Springer said about the Executive Board today? “You contacted Mrs. Kilkenny before you even brought up the issue to us. Furthermore, you have portrayed us as frauds, flaunting over your “accomplishments” on your facebook page. You have made a student issue into a personal and sensationalized one. However, I look forward to our meeting tomorrow to conclude this over-hyped bickering, so we never have to talk about it on this blog again.

  55. Obviously it seems to me that if Student Council did say that part of the proceeds were going to scholarships people would protest about giving their money and would sell less tickets, which would mean less money for scholarships. They should have told us about where the money was going but for obvious reasons didn’t. I’m very glad that the scholarships have been ceased and curious as to what the teachers said when you emailed them.

  56. Joe - Junior Class President says:

    Jeff, i cannot really deny the anger at the Exec Board. But all of that comes from this blog where you try to DEFEND your scholarships. Do you guys honestly think the Scholarships are OK? Can you not see the point that the entire student body and Community is trying to point out to you?

  57. In Joe’s defense, he’d taken the issue to the advisor before he contacted me.

    (I thought the meeting was Thursday?)

    Anyway, I have to ask, how much did the students know about this? Were you aware Andrew and Anon that you’d pick up a payment in the end? Just curious.

  58. BrkfldDad says:

    Wow, I thought the tix were $25/couple. $50/couple for homecoming is a lot higher than many may have realized vs. other local schools.

  59. I just want to let this be known in relation to the Homecoming ticket prices- not all couple’s tickets were sold for $50. Students had the option of receiving a couple’s ticket for $45 on earlier dates, and all students were notified of this via morning announcements and other methods. I understand that it is only $5, but we gave the students the option of a lower price, and many did not take that opportunity.

  60. I never said that Joe lied about the money and how it it spent. I was rushing, during my duty free lunch to respond, so tax payers…take a deep breath. I did not waste any of your money, just time in my life that I will never give back which is why this will be my last entry…especially with the threat that Cindy will block me because I am disagreeing with her. Funny, someone spoke about both sides. Hmmm. Any way, my objection was that it would appear to many readers that Joe tried to get information from both schools. Qutoe from above, ”
    Young Mr. Springer has recently asked for the fund reports from Centralโ€™s student council. He wants to know if they do it, too,” ( see above) Again, no one asked me…go to the source. I have no idea what happened at East, but the request was not made to me. I am not hiding anything. If everyone is convinced that this is such a big secret, I would encourage you to attend senior honor night. Student council, Key Club, National Honor Society all give out scholarships. It is quite open and public…where did those of you who attended those evenings think that money came from? The kids have NO say in who gets the scholarships so they are not to blame. In past years some of my hard working representatives have received scholarships along with some exec board members. There is never a promise, nor an expectation. Any student who was involved in council is aware of scholarship money. We generally put out applications for all members. Last year was the first year we did not due to a lack of funds and because we focused our efforts on a scholarship for a council member who tragically lost his father. That student had been a hard working member of our council for four years and the whole school rallied around him. Those are the events that make me want to continue being an advisor. The great kids in Brookfield make me proud to be a teacher and an advisor. I can take any slings and arrows you people want to send. I know that I have the respect of my peers at work and my council members. There is no duplicity in any of this. It is just sad to read all of the toxic stuff on this blog. You can comfort yourselves however you would like, but it is all overblown and negative. And , my records are checked over with a fine tooth comb by our painfully honest bookkeeper. She does not miss a thing and anything that might not look right is given to the principal. To act as if no one knew these kids were getting scholarships is just nonsense. If you want the list of what groups give out scholarships, attend honors night or ask the schools for the program for that night.

  61. Time for me to chime in. Yes, Student Council, Key Club, NHS, etc., give out scholarships. But are they all funded by students who have no involvement with those groups whatsoever?

    I know by serving on the Officer Team for Wisconsin FBLA, I could easily get a $1,500 scholarship. But those are funded by donations from generous businesses, who are mentioned at the State Conference. Plus, we all know where our dues go towards – providing fun events for us and funding our chapter activities.

    I’m sure up until now no student knew that their homecoming fees would contribute to scholarships for the Executive Board.

    Mrs. Hodgson, I appreciate you taking the time to valiantly stand up for your opinion.

    We’ll all have to wait and see where this goes.

  62. Santa's Elf says:

    Where’s Justice Dick when you need him?

    Seems to me that the books need to see the light of day before anyone will be convinced.

    Even Madoff had a ‘painfully honest bookkeeper’ until they went looking for the cash! His scam looked too good to be true till it was finely examined.

    Too late to cop a plea now. I think we have to take Dr. Matt to task on this matter at the next board meeting. He is, after all, the one who is ultimately responsible for the school conduct of the kids.

  63. I’m in complete agreement with Santa’s Elf.

  64. You get to babble all you want, Nita. It’s Sue, Mia, kiaahh, Brookfield person who needs to resolve the identity crisis.

    There’s more than one source. You may think you’re the center of the universe on this one, but don’t you report to someone who reports to someone else? And it doesn’t change the fact that scholarships are being paid out of fundraising that never mentioned that intention. Again, I’m working from the East detail since you haven’t exactly provided any.

  65. I have provided details. You just don’t want to pay attention. I am clearly not the center of the universe, but I do run BCHS stu co; therefore I know more about it than anyone else…have been doing so for quite a few years. We charge 20.00 for the dance, we open our scholarship to all members, the scholarship is not a secret, neither are the scholarships given to the other various clubs. The books for all clubs are public record. Our scholarships have never come out of the money from the homecoming dance. Again, you stoop to the loaded words like “babble” and you think this blog is fair-minded. Again, you are funny to me. Have a nice evening and even better…you make the comment that you need to get a life in another spot on your blog, I sincerely wish you the best in that endeavor. I hope the sun shines on you real soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  66. ” Our scholarships have never come out of the money from the homecoming dance.” (Nita, Adviser at BCHS)

    Nita –
    That is great to hear. I am hoping this implies that any scholarship money raised for BCHS Student Council members is done so with the full knowledge of intent for those making the donation.
    You could have simply absolved BCHS from any wrong-doing and gone back to eating your lunch.
    Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case at BEHS…which is what this entire discussion has been about.

  67. Tyler Karian - junior class secretary says:

    I agree with the fact that the students on this board are great students who have helped out the school a ton. I feel that this has gotten way too personal. Niether side should be launching personal attacks. The fact that the scholarships are no more and the issue seems to be resolved solved the main problem and it should be left at that. This in turn should lead to lower ticket prices in the future which is for the good of the majority of the
    student body. ๐Ÿ™‚

  68. Nita, go back and read your statements from earlier today. First “all schools use the dance for fundraisers” then “you can’t tell us how to spend the money” and finally an admission that Central also gives student council scholarships. While you’ve described those as “open” to all students, you haven’t said who’s been receiving them over the years. That can all be easily determined if necessary.

    Like I said, go back and read your comments and then decide if you’ve readily provided the details.

    You’ve certainly dished it out (before Cindy cuts me off for disagreeing, etc.) but you’ve also taken it. You have been defensive, but as the advisor for Central, you are in the hot seat, so I suppose that’s human nature. I will reiterate you are not the only source for the accounting, and I received a copy of the e-mail also sent to you explaining how the records were to be requested, so you’d do well to back off that one.

    You are more than welcome to think you are justified for the way you’ve run things all these years. That doesn’t mean the rest of us will agree. If the facts will out and indeed your situation is different from that described at East then swell. Still, expect the details to gain a little more exposure in the next few months. Whether or not you consider that “fair minded” won’t be much of a concern to me.

  69. Dear Everyone,
    I am also an Executive Board member at BEHS and have a very strong opinion about this topic. Both sides of this argument have been taken way to far.

    Everyone involved in this agrument is a leader that has been elected to their position by their classmates and both sides are taking the situation too personally.

    Nothing will be solved by arguing over the internet. Can we please act our age and resolve this issue in person at our meeting tomorrow. We are getting absolutely no where by sending 68 blog messages back and forth.

  70. Please show me the email. I have absolutely NO memory of this. If I did receive one I certainly must apologize because I seriously have no idea of this email. Who sent it to me?

  71. Thanks for weighing in, Katelyn, but not everyone gets to go to your meeting!

    Here’s what I think:

    1) confirm the scholarships are a thing of the past
    2) look for a way to keep homecoming tickets down around $15 next year
    3) agree to point the current surplus of money collected and originally expected to be spent as scholarships as a stuco gift to the school for a sound system in the black box theater or something similar.

    Someday a thorough history of how this practice became tradition would be nice. A history of the cost of homecoming tickets would be nice. A confirmation that indeed students selected for the scholarships were predetermined by office and how long that’s been happening would be interesting, too.

    What should not be assumed is that nothing will change. What’s been happening is a bad idea as it’s been described. It needs to stop.

  72. Nita – the copy I have was sent around 3pm to your elmbrook account. Basically it explains the request was made of the school’s accountant. That was the process that had to be used at East.

    I think what bugs me most is that since YOU hadn’t been contacted, we were all lying. You aren’t the only logical source for the information.

  73. Cindy, when you mentioned the email, I thought you meant it came from a school official. Sorry, it was the one from Joe that he obviously blind copied you in on.
    I agree with Katelyn that this is out of control. I do not wish to hurt anyone on either side of this confusion. I am not sure about funds at East, but I know that we put a lot of money back into our school as I am sure East likely does. We have a number of teacher appreciation events, we sponsor a senior citizens turkey dinner, we have given out grants to teachers, we have used our funds to pay for other clubs activities and for individual students who are unable to pay some fee or bill owed to the school. We also give a number of homecoming tickets to students who cannot afford them along with the entire court. I am sure East uses a lot of their money similarly.
    We purposely try to put money back into the school; the kids are part of that. As the years go by, I forget some of the names of the kids who received scholarships, but it is all in the records. Our case in point, as I mentioned, last year was the student who lost his father. I sincerely apologize if I have offended the students at East, never my intention. And truly, not my intention to offend any of you either. If I did, I apologize and I will take the lead of Katelyn and back off. These blogs are kind of addictive, but seriously I will be happy to give you information and candidly answer further questions if you want to contact me via email.

  74. Karin Wii B. Sharin says:

    Oh me, oh my!

  75. Santa's Elf says:

    Sounds as though Nita means business. I’d give her a chance to come clean, name names, and agree to turn states witness once the grand jury brings in a true bill.

    Then it’s on to the federal protection program for Nita.

    Oh, Elliott Ness you rock!

  76. Thanks, Nita. I was hoping for a copy of your accounting statement, but will go through the expected channels since you aren’t willing to bring that to us.

  77. Nita is finding out what everyone here already knows: NEVER ENGAGE A BULLY (Cindy).

    If I were you, I would just walk away. Cindy is very good at baiting people into saying things they shouldn’t. If she needs any more info, she can file more open records requests. It is not that hard

  78. Good morning, Whatever. Nita had offered information. It’s not like I dragged her here making demands. In case you are confused I’ll mention once again that no one is making you read.

    With over 1600 page loads yesterday, my little blog is managing quite well. Microsoft won’t be calling to advertise here anytime soon, but if you put this blog up against all the others in Wisconsin, it would hold its own. I consider that a respectable accomplishment.

  79. I’m waiting for the BrookfieldNOW article that is supposedly coming out on Thursday.

    Hopefully, the scholarship program is being ended just like everyone says it is. It needs to end if it is causing this much controversy and if all of the allegations are true.

  80. BrkfldVoter says:

    @Randy (Re: comments 35, 47) Could indicate that a “local” may be subject to retaliation, possible property tax increase, etc

  81. Randy in Richmond says:

    Never thought of that, BrkfldVoter. Hope that’s not it.

  82. Whatever: you could not be more right! I have spoken with the reporter from Brookfield Now and he has seen our financial records. Feel free to read the article. Signing out permanently.

  83. It will be interesting to see how complete his story will be. Just think, a couple of days ago he didn’t have a story at all…

  84. Santa's Elf says:

    Ultimately the hammer has to hit a responsible adult.

    The deed may have been perpetrated by the kiddies but the deed was done within the jurisdiction of the school where we have every right to expect that responsible adults are monitoring and controlling student activities.

    And when that expected degree of supervision fails, the need to protect kids from one another demands that we hold the school district leadership accountable.

    Whenever the kiddies play, the doctor has to pay!

  85. But Nita’s comment indicates she’s proud of the outcome. It confuses me as to what will happen. Like I said, if all’s not well by the first of the year, I’ll give it a go myself.

  86. Santa's Elf says:

    We ought to get a subpoena from Justice Dick. He’s a reserve judge you know. That’d test their potty training now wouldn’t it!

  87. Randy in Richmond says:

    Cindy, do you know if the payments were a check made to the student, cash, or a check made to a school ?

  88. Randy, I really haven’t followed up on it. My instinct says a check to the student, but that’s just a guess.

  89. Santa's Elf says:

    Ms. Cindy, what would happen if the sheriff got a warrant from justice Dick, went off to search little miss Fanny Prattle’s house for homecoming financial records, and just happened upon a half kilo of Dad and Mom’s nose candy?

    Bet that’d earn Fanny a few weeks of ground time.

  90. Brookfield East Student says:

    An article is set to be published in the Brookfield East Spartan Banner covering the Student Council Scholarship Issue at Brookfield East. The paper will be coming out November 30th…it should settle all debates once and for all. Feel free to pick up a copy.

  91. A Former Class President says:

    I just want to give you a large round of applause for picking a fight with some dedicated high school students..you clearly have a lot of free time on your hands.

    These students are taking over the duty of planning a very large event (during their free time when they could be studying) and with out them, would probably not happen because of the lack of motivation from other students who always expect things to be done for them. I don’t see why there is so much uproar over the ticket price when these students have no problem spending hundreds of dollars on designer dresses, dinner, and getting their hair poofed. These students deserve every single dollar of their scholarships. They work hard to make sure that events, such as the homecoming dance, are planned and produced every single year, with out flaws. These students are dedicated and have worked very hard to make sure that their classmates get all the bells and whistles when it comes to their dances.

    hopefully you won’t sink so low that you start to pick on the elementary kids

  92. The blog just put it out there. Someone else started it all.

    I admit you present a rather odd angle to the discussion.

  93. Former Class President – You are missing the point of the discussion and cause for concern. Students were unknowingly required to contribute to these scholarships under the guise of necessary costs for coordinating a school dance. If the Student Council wishes to award scholarships for “deserving” students, they should do so using funds which have been donated for that intended purpose – not money which has been collected through fraudulent extortion.

  94. ps. The students who have taken on the responsibility of leadership via the Student Council have done so willingly. Since planning the school dance is part of the job description, I still see no reason why they should expect “payment.” Perhaps that is a character flaw present in the younger generation…they reject the notion that there are intangible benefits which may be acquired through volunteer positions and instead expect “payment.”

  95. A Former Class President is a shining example of the entitlement attitude that is ruining this country’s future. They worked hard, so they are entitled. And entitled to funds their fellow students contributed. Libby is right, he/she completely misses the point. I keep thinking of how many other students at BEHS bust their butts just as hard in other areas, but don’t reap any false reward.

  96. AMEN BrkfldDad!

  97. Tony T LOD says:

    An interesting aside is whether theses students declared this income on their tax returns? Because of the nature, I would argue it is entirely taxable. I would think B’East could be in violation of their 501(c)(3) status or the the applicable tax-exempt status for schools.

  98. Been There says:

    Anytime you dig into the self entitlement attitude of the public school system they obstruct and lie and call names. I experienced this years ago as a student and now as a taxpayer and parent.

    Look at all the crybabies who pocketed the money yell @ the kid who looked out for everyone else – with nothing in it for him!!!!

    Liberals= elitist, self-absorbed, corrupt – it never changes

    LOL @ “former class president” who thinks he/ they “deserve” to skim off the top another selfish liberal in training.

    Thanks to Joe giving the less fortunate and the less “connected” hope for our future Well done.

  99. Must be all those liberal kids in Brookfield.

  100. Melaniemerf says:

    As a fiscally responsible, liberal parent of a Brookfield East junior who gets straight A’s, carries a part time job during the school year, works as a summer camp counselor and who purchased his own $2,000 car to attend East when I moved out of the attendance area – I have taught him he entilted to nothing. He has to earn scholarships on his own and he is no position to unknowingly fund his fellow classmates.

    And as an ex-newspaper reporter and editor, I want to say Joe, you rock! While we have a lot of brains and talent in our district’s parental and education pool in Elmbrook, this scholarship practice not only was wrong-minded, but verging on criminal. I am glad Joe brought it all to light.

  101. Melaniemerf says:

    Lorax, this is the most conservative district I have ever lived in. I am a leaf, blowing alone in the wind here! Odds are, these are the children of conservatives. That’s practically all that lives here!

  102. That’s what I was saying, Melanie. In hindsight, most readers probably don’t know me by my moniker, or that I am a BEHS grad.

    I know the territory well–and blowing in the wind like a leaf. But let’s get real. The entitlement attitude pervades all of our culture.

  103. Melaniemerf says:

    That’s why I am disappointed in the adults in this scenario. Some of us are working really hard here to raise different thinkers.

  104. I would not rule out the possibility that the parents of the students who were past recipients of these “scholarships” had no idea that it was actually money skimmed from Homecoming tickets – and that they might be just as appalled as we are if they did (regardless of their political affiliation!)

    Melanie…keep up the great work on your end! ๐Ÿ™‚

  105. Junior BEHS says:

    I’m a junior at BEHS and since I began reading this blog I thought I’d just give my own opinion on the situation.

    First off, I am not on StuCo, NHS, FBLA, or any other major club. As a “normal” student with a 3.0 GPA I can honestly say that this whole thing with the scholarships utterly appals me. The students that normally get into StuCo are the one’s that more than likely won’t need these extra scholarships because they already have the 4.0+ GPA’s and can easily get other scholarships on their own, generally speaking. We’re not attacking teachers or Exec Board members as some commentators have been saying, we would have just liked to have been informed on the whole situation. We soudln’t have to go to the office or call in for records on how the money we spend on a dance ticket is being spent; it should be advertised to us from the beginning. I can honeslty say as a student who has been going to the school now for 3 years that i had NO idea this was happening and am really surprised this didn’t come out sooner…

    Secondly, anyone who defends this scholarship thing has to think; $5,000. That is, and sorry for language, but a shit load of money-especially to a high school student. If we had known that 5 grand was being spent on OTHER KIDS SCHOLARSHIPS, we more than likely would have done something about it from the get-go. As a student that will more than likely have to work their way through college just to pay tuition, this is ridiculous, and, to quote Joe, “not logical”. I mean I might as well go up to a senior on StuCo, hand him $15 and say “Oh here. Have fun in college!”..no. I could use that money for my own education, not some kid that A. I’ve probably never met and B. don’t really care about.

    Thirdly, I really liked what Been There said about Joe. Joe’s not being “over agressive” about the sitaution, he’s passionate about it! And I love that he is! We NEED more kids like this in our world, who aren’t afraid of scrutiny for what they believe is right and just. Isn’t that mainly what our country is based on anyways? Revolution? Going against the grain? That’s what Joe did. He had a question and instead of sitting back and letting the status quo take over, he dug deeper and found a much larger problem. BRAVO JOE!

    Oh, and just to finish it off, any student from BCHS really, in my opinion, has nothing to do with this situation. This affects BEHS students and should have been kept within BEHS and the Elmbrook Board members.

  106. Junior, you have an excellent viewpoint. You are right; we should be at least informed about what our homecoming ticket prices are going towards. I think if people knew that some of their money is benefiting another person’s college education, they wouldn’t even think twice about buying a homecoming ticket.

  107. BrkfldVoter says:

    Transparency.
    Accountability.

  108. Junior BEHS says:

    Anthony- But see, if I had known that my money for homecoming was being used to help another student go to college, I would’ve done that same thing Joe is doing and get the practice banned. I’m not going to use my money to hlp another student go to college when I can use the money just as much as they could. If anyne had a chance to see the portion of the Fox 6 news last night, even the news anchor was asking if there would be criminal charges pressed because, technically, it’s stealing (except, apparently, to the Elmbrook School District). Gotta say I’m very surpirsed there weren’t more severe actions taken over this….

  109. Yes, it had a couple of days – last Friday and this Monday. The blog was mentioned on Monday.

  110. Yes, it had a couple of days – last Friday and this Monday. The blog was mentioned on Monday.

  111. Do you have a link to a recording of that?

  112. No, I don’t. I can’t find it on his site, either.

  113. Tony T LOD wondered if the scholarship money would have to be reported as taxable income. Though I’m no tax expert, I would argue the answer is yes.

    If you go to this 2009 tax exemption pdf and look at page 9, you’ll see that Wisconsin uses the definition of a scholarship as provided by the federal internal revenue code 117:
    http://www.revenue.wi.gov/ra/09sumrpt.pdf

    The IRC states that:
    “(c) Limitation
    (1) In general
    Except as provided in paragraph (2), subsections (a) and (d) shall not apply to that portion of any amount received which represents payment for teaching, research, or other services by the student required as a condition for receiving the qualified scholarship or qualified tuition reduction.”

    This comes from:
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode26/usc_sec_26_00000117—-000-.html

    Considering that the money was paid out for services provided by exec board members which was a condition for receiving the scholarship, I would argue it’s no longer a scholarship and is therefore taxable income.

    A Former Class President said it him/herself: “These students are taking over the duty of planning a very large event… These students deserve every single dollar of their scholarships.” It sounds like the implication is that students are paying the exec board to plan the event – again, not what I would consider a “scholarship” but rather more like a job.

    Seems to me like an inquiry as to whether or not this was a scholarship from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue certainly would make sense.

  114. Wow. This is much more complicated than I thought.

    Anthony should have more on the subject this afternoon if all goes as planned.

  115. Well, the Banner wasn’t distributed today, but hopefully tomorrow it will be.