A new round of enthusiasm for 4K in the Elmbook district

This time it’s complete with an online petition you can sign.

I’m not going to actually interview anyone – the real news can do that – but I thought we’d take a minute and review what’s being said.

First, the petition link is being sent with an e-mail that declares:

The way to keep Hillside from Closing is by bringing in more revenue. 4K is the solution.

The petition states:

Please sign our petition and help show the school board that our community needs 4K as an offering from the Elmbrook School District to remain competitive with local private schools and neighboring school districts. As of 2008, 76% of Wisconsin school districts offer 4K including New Berlin, Pewaukee, Wauwatosa, Hamilton-Sussex, Menomonee Falls, Hartland-Lakeside, and Milwaukee. Private schools in our attendance area that also offer 4K include Brookfield Academy, Brookfield Christian, Christ the Lord Lutheran, St. Dominic’s, St. John Vianney, Elm Grove Lutheran, Immanuel Lutheran, and St. Mary’s.

Enrollment is dropping. Let’s increase it right now – and in the future – by offering 4K and attracting young families to our district.

And it’s getting traffic. Last night I saw 135 signatures; today it’s 158. The goal is 500.

This caught my eye:

# 112: 11:17 am PST, Dec 7, Curt Downes, Wisconsin

I am a Realtor and fully realize the impact that schools have on our real estate. Even though Elmbrook has a good name, it isn’t that good to prevent buyers from choosing an alternate district when buying a new home. I have a daughter that would be in the 4K program right now, but we are using a private school as an alternative and, due to that, are considering keeping her in private school. The lack of 4K is certainly one of the causes of the declining enrollment and one of the causes for the unfortunate consideration to close Hillside, Tonawanda and/or Swanson. My daughter should be starting 5K at Hillside next year, but with the current talk of Hillside possibly closing, we are seriously considering private school. I would certainly hope you would bring 4K back to Elmbrook and find an alternate solution to closing ANY of the elementary schools.

Yes, he said the lack of 4K is one of the causes of declining enrollment.

Catch the “and/or Swanson”? I’d say the goal is to add a new layer of hysteria and involve as many as possible. Swanson area residents are notorious for defending their school. (Anyone remember that Swanson school swap fiasco Mayor Jeff Speaker orchestrated a few years ago?)

In short, here we go again.


  1. Bkfld Voter says:

    Real estate is about location, location, location.

    JOBS are said to be the number one factor for relocation and drawing new home buyers to an area.

    Once the job is determined, there are a number of factors to considering which community among those within a reasonable commute a family will choose to reside in. The available quantity and quality of HOMES (or lots and builders) is said to be the second factor after jobs, for determining residence location. The type and condition of the particular home, and it’s PROPERTY TAX BURDEN has a great affect on resale value.

    Services, including SCHOOLS, then come into play. The stats of the schools may have greater affect on families with or anticipating children. The associated PROPERTY TAX BURDEN is a consideration for all families, including DINKs(dual-income-no-kids). Your average DINKs may find Brookfield / Elm Grove more affordable than your average family with kids. The presence of many DINKs may lead to declining school enrollment. Families with children may choose to live in less costly neighboring districts and still send their children to Elmbrook public schools.

    This does not appear to be a situation easily solved from the bottom-up, by creating an additional layer of services to be provided by our schools and funded by property taxes including additional proposed referenda.

    It may be time for doing more with less. This may not be a period for growth, it may be a time for downsizing (or as corporate America called it a decade ago: rightsizing).

    We can start by vetting our school board candidates for the upcoming election.

  2. The last time I saw statistics about the demographics of the Elmbrook School District, from their own published studies, was that 2/3 of the households in Brookfield/Elm Grove had no children in the schools. A very significant percentage of residents, again I recall something like 2/3, were age 50 or over. When we purchased our newer home in Brookfield, moving from Menomonee Falls, the location and the tax bill were the two MOST important determinants. The other area we considered was Mequon, which currently has a lower tax burden for a similar priced property. Brookfield still has a good location vis a vis commute to the metro area. It’s tax load, however, has increased dramatically due primarily to the aggressive building schedule adopted by the Elmbrook School District. They apparently chose bricks and mortar over programs. Obviously, unless they want to emulate the property tax level enjoyed by Milwaukee residents, they cannot add programs “wanted” by a small number of residents (135 signatures out of 40,000 city residents.)

  3. I really find the idea that people would choose a community to live in based on ONE grade-level laughable…especially when it is preschool. That’s like saying, “I think we’ll move to Oconomowoc because I hear they have a great 2nd Grade!” Never mind the other 12 years of education! Are people honestly trying to argue that preschool is the single most important aspect of their child’s education?

    All that aside, I have yet for someone to convincingly explain why 4 year-old preschool must become taxpayer supported in Brookfield and Elm Grove. The rationale that we “deserve” it simply because other people get it doesn’t fly.

    Other people get welfare. That doesn’t mean we “deserve” it, too.

    4K programs were originally designed to bridge “the effects of poverty that often puts children from low-income families at an educational disadvantage.” (Tony Evers, Wisconsin State Superintendent, http://dpi.wi.gov/). They were/are taxpayer supported programs for children in areas populated by children at-risk with out them.

    “4K” programs were not introduced because they are educationally superior to 4 year-old preschools. They are essentially the same thing. This is evidenced by the fact that many communities (Elmbrook included) choose to go the “community approach” by partnering with local preschools and daycare centers to provide programming.

  4. Oh Libby. You’d be so amazing on the school board. Maybe before I move someday.

    That should be my new goal – get Libby on the school board in the next couple of years.

  5. Elmbrook can join Franklin in not having a 4K program. Our Superintendent was floating the concept a few months back, but ultimately dropped the idea once it was found out that the additional state/fed dollars to create the program was literally only to create the program – taxpayers would foot the bill in later years. Due to the Super. dropping it, our School Board never had an opportunity to cast a vote on the matter.

    Just for the sake of record, I was in 4K, and both my younger sisters were in 4K. We all attended(ing for one) private school until 8th grade, then moved to public high school.

    A lot of families over here do this when it comes to Catholic school – they’ll have their children attend private school K4-8 then send their children to public high school. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing is occurring in Elmbrook.

  6. Elizabeth-time to follow in Mary Ann’s footsteps!

  7. Just received an e-mail from a reliable source explaining New Berlin DOES NOT have 4K as described in the petition.