Category Archives: Education

West Bend School Board Announces 3 Finalists for Superintendent

From the email.

Donald A. Kirkegaard — Prior to being appointed by the governor of South Dakota as secretary of education for the state in 2017, Kirkegaard was superintendent of the Meade School District and Britton-Hecla School District for nearly 23 years. He was also a principal in the Britton-Hecla School District for six years. Kirkegaard earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from South Dakota State University, a master’s degree in school administration from Northern State University, and an educational specialist degree in school district administration from the University of South Dakota.

Christopher D. Peterson — Christopher Peterson has 23 years of experience in public education, including nine as superintendent of Howards Grove School District. His experience includes serving as principal in the Manitowoc Public School District, Kimberly Area School District, and the School District of Wausaukee, and teaching in the Little Chute Area School District. Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, a master’s degree in educational administration from Marian University, superintendent certification from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and is working on a doctorate at Marian University.

Thomas J. Hoh, Ph.D. — Thomas Hoh has 20 years of experience in public education and currently serves as the executive director of secondary education for the Green Bay Area Public School District. Prior to joining the Green Bay Area Public School District, Hoh was a principal in the Ripon Area School District and also worked in the Kaukauna Area School District and Neenah Joint School District. Hoh earned his bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned a doctorate in education leadership from Marian University.

Graduate Protests Suppression of 2nd Amendment Rights on Campus

Good for her.


Kaitlin Bennett graduated from Kent State University in Ohio with a degree in biology.

The following day, the 22-year-old returned to the campus with an AR-10 semi-automatic rifle strapped to her back and posed for photographs while holding a graduation cap emblazoned with the words “come and take it”.

Bennett, who later posted the photographs on Twitter, says she was protesting against a university policy that prohibited students, professors and employees from carrying “lethal weapons” on campus – but allows “guests” to possess them on school grounds (but not in buildings).

She noted that Kent State was the location where “four unarmed students were shot and killed by the government” – a reference to the 1970 incident where soldiers clashed with Vietnam War protesters, firing shots that hit 13 protesters and bystanders.

State of Illinois Takes Over Chicago Public Schools Special Education

Of course, it’s not like the State of Illinois has a solid record of competent management.

The Illinois State Board of Education took on sweeping authority to supervise special education at Chicago Public Schools on Wednesday, voting to appoint an outside monitor who for at least three years will have to approve any changes to the district’s special ed policies and procedures.

ISBE will now meet with CPS to map out what state schools Superintendent Tony Smith described as “the road to transformation” after officials concluded that the district’s 2016 overhaul of special ed violated a swath of federal law and regulations.

“The corrective action and recommendations we offered today are the right first step to helping CPS fully serve all children and families,” Smith said in a statement. “The common good requires uncommonly good public schools.”

ISBE also recommended that the district change the way it creates legally mandated education programs for special ed students, and identify students who may have had their services delayed or denied because of the CPS policy overhaul so parents have an opportunity to pursue needed changes.

Liberal West Bend School Board targets November for $80 million referendum

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

As the West Bend School Board continues to search for a new superintendent after the unfortunate departure of the previous one, it is also aggressively following the liberal playbook to bamboozle the taxpayers into approving a new, massive, $80 million (plus interest) spending referendum. While every one of the school board members ran for office on a platform of conservatism and transparency, their governing is indistinguishable from the arrogant liberal school boards in Milwaukee or Madison.

Since Act 10, the liberals in Wisconsin have fought for more spending and stumbled upon a process to get school spending referendums passed that plays on the fears and best intentions of goodhearted people. The West Bend School Board is following that process and looking to take advantage of the projected “Blue Wave” in November to get more money from district taxpayers.

First, the School Board created the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee last year with a strong majority of members who were already convinced of the need to spend more money. The only questions were “on what” and “how much?” The board hired a company based in Milwaukee called Bray Architects to run the CFAC meetings. Bray brags on its website about the expensive building projects funded by referendums it helped get passed.

Bray did its job for the board and ran a rigid CFAC process that would only lead to the outcome that the board had predetermined. In one unguarded moment, the Bray facilitator admitted that “the decision to build a new Jackson school was made in the prior efforts.” The taxpayers of West Bend would be surprised to know the decision to build a new school was already made. When the facilitator was asked by a CFAC member about why they were even bothering with the committee, he answered, “because we need to help the community understand why a new Jackson is being considered.” In other words, CFAC was a sham propaganda tool from the beginning — not an actual advisory committee. Recent events confirm that conclusion.

After the bogus CFAC process, the School Board is taking the next step of spending $35,000 of our money to conduct a sham survey. The board pretends that the survey is going to be used to gauge public support for areferendum. The survey is a propaganda tool used to build support and, like CFAC, has a predetermined outcome.

The West Bend School Board has hired SchoolPerceptions to conduct the survey. A recent column

by Mark Belling exposed School Perceptions for the propaganda machine it is. Instead of conducting an objective survey that is honestly seeking answers, “the whole point of School Perceptions is to influence opinion through framing questions,” Belling writes.

The upcoming survey in West Bend will not be any different. It is telling that while asking respondents about a list of projects, there will not be an option to just say “no.” The West Bend School Board has decided to intentionally spend taxpayer money to conduct a propaganda effort under the guise of a survey with the intent to sell a spending referendum. It is a shameless act of liberal activism at taxpayers’ expense.

It is worth noting that while the West Bend School Board members are intent on jacking up spending and taxes, the transparency that constituents have enjoyed with previous boards has muddied. Many meetings are no longer recorded, meeting minutes are missing from the district’s website, the use of special and closed sessions has become the norm and many agenda items appeared to have been already discussed and decided before the public meetings. This School Board has made a practice of obscuring their actions from public view.

Furthermore, when I have repeatedly asked the elected school board members to comment on issues for more than a year, the only member of the School Board who has ever responded was Ken Schmidt. Every other Board member has refused to respond — including the two who were just elected. This is a sharp departure from previous years where even the most liberal School Board members were willing to chat with me over a cup of coffee. Elected officials have a duty to speak with their constituents. It is part of the job. Sadly, most of the members of the West Bend School Board lack the sense of duty or humility that good public service requires.

West Bend is proud of our conservatism and proud of our public schools. The School Board is failing our public schools by failing to govern as the conservatives they professed to be. Before they come hat in hand for another $80 million to spend, they need to get their house in order and rebuild the public trust that they have squandered.


Madison School Board Denies President

Only in Madison

Madison School Board members quashed a proposal Monday that could have allowed the board president to block other members from requesting information about the school district they are elected to govern.

During an Operations Work Group meeting, board members agreed not to pursue a proposed change to board policy that would have given the board president the ability to deny or alter requests for district information made by other board members.

District spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson said the policy change is part of a routine update of policies and is meant to “codify the board’s current ways of working.”

“We work very hard to fulfill all requests in a timely way,” she said. “In the very rare instance that a request is very difficult to fulfill, we run that request past the board president so they can decide the best way to move forward.”

Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said the intent of having the president deny a request would be to make it clear that a district employee does not have to tell a board member a request is too difficult to fulfill.

Special Meeting to Spend Money Tonight

I’m not sure why the West Bend School Board has to do all of these things with special meetings and not as a part of their regular order, but here it is:

May 7, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend School Board will hold a special meeting at 5:15 p.m. tonight, to approve spending $35,000 on a community-wide survey regarding Jackson Elementary School and the West Bend High Schools.

The Washington County Insider has a lot of background information and financial information.

I’ll remind the gentle reader that this is part of a predictable liberal playbook to con the taxpayers into passing a referendum. The school board is about to spend, and has already spent, tens of thousands of dollars hiring sham companies whose sole purpose is to get school referenda passed. In this case, the district doesn’t even have a superintendent. This is all on the school board.

Teacher Uses Position to Wage Social Justice War

This is part of the reason why there has been a decline in respect for the teaching profession.

The woman named this year’s National Teacher of the Year used buttons pinned to her dress on Wednesday to stage a silent protest.

The Guardian reported that Mandy Manning wore six political badges on her black dress and declined to clap for Trump as he entered the White House Ceremony.

According to a pooled report, one pin included a photo of the Women’s March poster, the international protest that was first held the day after Trump’s inauguration.  Another badge read “Trans Equality Now.” One other pin was the shape of an apple with a rainbow.


“My goal is to share my student stories,” Manning told CNN. “But to send a message, to not only by immigrants and refugee students but the LGBT community, that they are wanted, they are loved, they are enough and they matter.”

Nowhere in that story do you see anything about… you know… education. I don’t even see what grade or subjects Manning teaches. I don’t see anything about how the kids she teaches benefit from her teaching. How they do better getting into the colleges and careers they want. Nothing at all about outcomes. This teacher just uses her classroom, and now her award, to wage the various social justice battles that are important to her.

West Bend School Board Follows Liberal Playbook

From the Washington County Insider:

May 1, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Six members of the West Bend School Board, (Tiffany Larson was not in attendance), spent nearly two hours discussing a proposed survey to test the waters on a possible $80 million referendum. The referendums would focus on Jackson Elementary and the West Bend High Schools.

The survey would be created by Slinger-based School Perceptions. Bill Foster, the president of the company, was in attendance.

You can follow the link to watch the videos. Here’s where we are:

Last year, the School Board started down the path to a building referendum. They engaged an architectural firm that specialized in running a sham process to build support for the referendum. As I wrote back in August, they are following this proven roadmap to referendum:

  1. Form a committee loaded with people predisposed to support more spending
  2. The committee will conduct a needs analysis that has a very wide definition of “need”
  3. Conduct a propaganda campaign through the committee (so that it appears to be coming from the community) that bemoans all of the facility “needs” (expect to hear about sewage backups in Jackson Elementary again)
  4. The committee will determine that existing district resources are inadequate to meet the facilities “needs”
  5. Conduct a community survey with slanted questions, e.g. “Would you support a referendum to prevent the children having to learn while standing in a foot of sewage?”
  6. The committee recommends that the board go to referendum based on the survey results
  7. The School Board puts the referendum(s) on the ballot

They have completed steps 1 through 4. During the CFAC process, they even admitted that it was a sham designed to build support for a predetermined conclusion. You can find that video here.

Now they are working on step number 5. They have engaged School Perceptions, which is the go-to group for creating biased propaganda to build support for school referendums. Mark Belling wrote a column cataloging School Perceptions’ fraudulent business practices last week. Belling concluded:

Foster’s a hustler. He’s come up with a way to get hired by dozens of school districts who want to get referendums passed. Even my attempts to expose him aid his business by publicizing to other districts how he aids them in their referendum con jobs. What is not defensible is that school boards and superintendents are using public money to mislead their residents and pretending to conduct honey surveys.

Yes. That’s the same Foster who attended the West Bend School Board meeting last night.

Where are the alleged conservatives on the West Bend School Board? As far as I can tell, they are just walking down the exact same path to more spending and debt as any liberal school board would. They are using the same techniques. They are using the same propaganda. They are using the same companies. They are spending our tax dollars to advance this propaganda. And they are about to ask the taxpayers for tens of millions of dollars to dump into buildings in a district with flat-to-declining enrollment.

As far as I can tell, the Milwaukee School Board might as well be running the schools in West Bend. We would be getting the same result. But at least the liberals on the Milwaukee School Board are honest about their liberal intentions.

Wisconsin DOJ Doles Out School Safety Grants

Get your free money here! I hate this election year handout of the taxpayers’ money.

Wisconsin schools could complete safety upgrades by the time students return in the fall under a grant program launched this week by the state Department of Justice.

Public and private K-12 schools throughout the state have until June 8 to apply to receive grants from a $100 million school safety fund, to be used for building upgrades or staff training.

“We owe our children and our communities the promise of safe school environments,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel during a news conference on Wednesday at St. Dennis Catholic School in Madison.

To be eligible for funding, schools must develop a plan with local law enforcement. Schools must also give all full-time teachers, aides, counselors and administrators at least three hours of combined training in adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and trauma-informed care/trauma-sensitive schools (TIC/TSS) by the end of the 2018-19 school year if they have not already done so.

Applications will be considered in two categories: primary upgrades, to ensure all schools meet a security baseline set by the state, and advanced upgrades to build on existing measures.

DOJ officials estimate about $30 million of the grant pool will go toward primary measures such as installing classroom door locks and shatterproof glass.

If local school districts haven’t been taking reasonable actions for school safety with the billions of dollars that taxpayers already give them every year, then I would suggest that their priorities are hopelessly flawed. Having districts make up new “safety” projects just to get a state handout is just waste compounding waste.

Racial Disparity in Discipline Persists

The Obama discipline policies have been disastrous. Scrap them.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black students are suspended from school, expelled and referred to law enforcement much more frequently than their white peers and the disparities are growing, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

The report released by the Education Department is likely to add to an already tense national debate about what causes such racial disparities. Civil rights groups believe that racial bias is at play and insist that federal protections are necessary. Some experts counter that forcing schools to adopt milder disciplinary practices makes classrooms unsafe.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering scrapping Obama-era rules that were meant to counter those disparities and urge schools to adopt softer discipline approaches. She met with supporters and opponents of that policy this month.

The data show that while black students represented 15 percent of all enrolled students in 2015-2016, they accounted for 31 percent of children referred to police or arrested. The disparity is 5 percentage points higher than in 2013-14, when such data was last collected. Two years ago, white students made up 49 percent of all students but represented 36 percent of students who were referred to the police.

That a racial disparity exists is evident. Liberals like to blame the disparity on racial discrimination by the people administering the discipline. While some racial discrimination might exist, I doubt that it can explain even 5% of the disparity – especially since the public school systems are some of the most liberal institutions in America. In any case, discipline should be administered evenly, fairly, and without regard to race, religion, gender, or anything other than the infraction committed. Anything more or less than that is an injustice.

West Bend School Board Ousts President

You don’t see this very often. After only a year as president, Tiffany Larson was cast completely out of the leadership. Is this a tacit admission of the exceedingly poor management from the board in the past year?

The West Bend School District Board of Education restructured Monday after Kurt Rebholz and Christopher Zwygart took their oaths of office.

Joel Ongert was elected as the new president of the board with Nancy Justman as vice president. Tonnie Schmidt held her position as board clerk and Zwygart was named the board treasurer.

Study: Private Schools Outperform Public Schools in Wisconsin

Here’s an interesting study from WILL:

April 17, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI – The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) released its second annual report comparing school academic performance across Wisconsin, Apples to Apples.  In this new peer-reviewed study, control variables—such as student economic status and demographics—are included to level the playing field and make the clearest possible comparisons between schools for policymakers and parents.

Also included for the first time is WILL’s Performance Ranking, which ranks the performance of every K-12 school in the state from all sectors while controlling for socio-economic status.  The searchable database is available here:

Some of the findings include:

  • Private schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) outperform Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). Students in the MPCP were about 4 percentage points more likely to score proficient or above in mathematics and 5 percentage points more likely to score proficient or above in reading.

    • This performance advantage is driven by Catholic and Lutheran private schools.
  • Both independent and non-instrumentality charters have higher proficiency rates than MPS.  Students in non-instrumentality charter schools were about 12 percentage points more likely to be proficient in reading and 15 percentage points more likely to be proficient in math than traditional public school students.  Independent charter school students were about 5 percentage points more likely to be proficient in reading and 8 percentage points in math.

  • Statewide, schools in the state’s voucher programs outperform traditional public schools in reading. No differences were found in math.  This is the first time a positive association has been found between choice programs overall in Wisconsin and academic outcomes.

  • Rural and small town schools perform worse than urban schools. Rural schools have significantly lower performance on the Forward Exam in both math and reading than urban schools.

    • Suburban schools outperform rural, small town, and urban schools

Kid Sues to Wear Shirts that Say “Diversity” and “Love”

It’s fine for the school to have a dress code. It just needs to be clear, fair, and consistent.

Matthew Schoenecker likes guns and T-shirts showing guns. But when the freshman wears the latter to Markesan High School, he is told to change, cover them, or spend the day in an isolated cubicle.

So he’s exercising some other rights to defend what he calls his First Amendment right to support the Second Amendment — he sued the principal in federal court.

The suit, filed Monday in Milwaukee, names principal John Koopman as the sole defendant. It claims Koopman violated Schoenecker’s freedom of expression by restricting him from wearing shirts that depict guns and other weapons in “a non-violent, non-threatening manner.”

The suit also contends that Koopman’s personal, case-by-case determination of which shirts are “inappropriate” violates Schoenecker’s rights to due process.

Two particular shirts crossed the line for Koopman. One reads “Celebrate Diversity,” and depicts a variety of firearms.  Another says LOVE, but the letters are formed by a handgun, a grenade, two knives and an assault-style rifle.

Arizona Teachers Plan Walkout

This is a growing trend as teachers in other states have been successful extorting more money out of taxpayers.

Across Arizona, parents, teachers, schools boards and superintendents are bracing for the likelihood of a walkout as educators pressure state leaders to act on their demands for 20 percent pay raises and more education funding.

Wednesday, educators in more than 1,000 Arizona public schools are expected to participate in non-disruptive “walk-in” demonstrations as part of the #RedForEd movement.

The demonstrations, which will mostly happen before the start of the school day, are intended to build more support from parents and school administrators.

Late Monday, organizers with Arizona Educators United, the teacher-led grass-roots group that launched the state’s #RedForEd movement, said they will move forward with a walkout.

Madison’s Micro-School

This really looked like a promising concept.

As promised, a new off-site “micro-school” for about a dozen troubled students from La Follette High School opened Thursday for a nine-week try at re-engagement.

The pilot program’s first day at Life Center Madison, a rented church space located about 2 miles southeast of the high school on the city’s Southeast Side, followed a family night two days earlier during which the alternative concept received what Madison School District secondary schools chief Alex Fralin called “tremendous buy-in” from parents.

Although it seems like an expensive idea, it looked like it might work. It separates the malcontents from the rest if the students and provides them some very personalized instruction that will hopefully take.

Then I read this:

But administrators are optimistic the micro-school could prove different, in part because the students chose to be there — enrollment in the program was voluntary — and because they helped design the curriculum, revolving around project work, soft skills, experiential learning and the study of “real-world” math and science.

Ugh. So they are asking problem kids if they want to get out of regular school and go somewhere where they can set their own curriculum. Never mind.

West Bend School Board Candidates on Bullying and Referenda

The Washington County Insider queried the West Bend School Board candidates regarding bullying and possible referenda for Jackson Elementary and the High School.

Their answers can be found in part 1 and part 2.

Overall, I would say that they are all thoughtful, considered responses.

Chris Zwygart Explains Position on Curriculum

Chris Zwygart had this letter to the editor today explaining his hand-off approach to curriculum.

I was privileged to chair the St. Joseph’s Hospital Board for several years. The majority of members were dedicated layperson volunteers from our community.

One of the board’s duties is overseeing quality and safety. We fulfilled those duties by discussing information received from highly trained medical experts from Froedtert and the hospital’s staff. The board explored how they developed the programs, the basis for their decisions and then applied good common sense before approving them. In other words, the board ensured the experts used a solid process to select safe, high-quality medical practices.

Imagine if a board member insisted on overriding the experts’ recommendation for the specific medications or amount of oxygen used during surgery. The public would be horrified. Consider the public controversy, distrust and staff dissatisfaction caused by that level of micromanagement.

Let’s translate this example to our school board. The board is responsible for approving curriculum. The board consists of part-time laypersons. If administrators and teachers propose new curriculum, the board should explore how it was developed, the basis for their decisions and apply common sense. The board should focus on the process the experts used to select high-quality curricula to advance the district’s goals. Imagine if board members insisted on imposing their choice of specific novels or scientific theories in our classrooms, contrary to the educational experts’ opinions. The public should be equally horrified. That micromanagement will breed distrust and controversy.

If elected to the school board, I join with Kurt Rebholz to ensure the board oversees the administration’s process for establishing curriculum based on collaboration with the educational experts this board hired, but not through micromanagement. Let’s not turn the specific content of our curriculum into a controversial political football up for grabs at every school board election.

– Chris Zwygart West Bend School Board Candidate

This is the same argument and example Zwygart used when I interviewed him before my column. There are two problems with this argument…

First, safety protocols in a surgery are not equivalent to curriculum choices. The former are based on provable scientific measures to prevent infection and not kill patients. The latter is very subjective and open to interpretation.

Let’s leave aside the issue of intelligent design that the lefties are focusing on. Zwygart’s and Rebholz’s position is that the school board should have almost no say in any curriculum. In the Engage NY curriculum currently being used by the school district, the 8th grade English Language Arts class lays out thus:

  • 20 Days – Launch
  • 40 Days – Refugees
  • 40 Days – Taking a Stand
  • 40 Days – Shakespeare
  • 40 Days – Sustainability of the US Food Supply Chain

Of the 180 days of school, 120 of them are being used to advance liberal social justice issues under the mantle of teaching language arts. According to Zwygart and Rebholz, the school board should not be empowered to make any changes to this because the “experts” already decided. They couldn’t replace “Taking a Stand” with “19th Century English Literature.” They couldn’t replace “Refugees” with “Immigration.” They couldn’t replace “Sustainability of US Food Supply Chain” with “Modern Fantasy Literature.” Remember the purpose of the class is to teach the language – the material is supposed to be just a means to an end. The material is just supposed to be interesting enough to hold the students’ attention.

Of course the school board should have an active role in determining curriculum. Yes, they should strongly defer to education experts and rely on their input, but the the school board has the final say. They cannot absolve themselves from responsibility for what is taught to the kids by delegating it to the staff.

The second thing wrong with Zwygart’s argument is that it could be used to render any elected board meaningless. He says, “The board consists of part-time laypersons” to point out that the school board members are not curriculum experts. That’s true. They are also not financial experts, safety experts, childhood development experts, HR experts, management experts, facilities experts, or anything else. Some of them may be an expert in one of those areas, but the board is not made up of experts. To take Zwygart’s argument to its conclusion, the school board should also defer to experts on all of those other topics. If that’s the case, then why do we even have an elected school board? Let’s just hire experts and let them run it.

Of course we have an elected school board for the precise reason that we want our local government schools to be run by the community – not the experts. We want the experts to implement the will of the people. We want Republican government – not a technocracy.

I really like Chris Zwygart and think he has a lot to offer the school district. In another slate of candidates, I could easily see myself supporting him. But I fundamentally disagree with his hands off approach to one of the most important responsibilities of the school board – determining what our kids are taught.

Proven conservatism for West Bend School Board

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

There is an election April 3, but in-person absentee voting is open at your local City Hall until the end of the day Friday. Most importantly, get out and vote for Michael Screnock for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. After that, look further down the ballot and you will find many other important races. In the West Bend School District, four candidates are contending for two seats.

The West Bend School District is in the midst of some serious challenges. The biggest challenge is that the district has been without a superintendent for the better part of a year and is just beginning the search process for a new one. Many of the other administrators have also left the district leaving a severe vacuum of leadership. Meanwhile, the School Board is charging headlong toward an unwise referendum to replace Jackson Elementary.

West Bend voters are privileged in the fact that all four candidates running have a lot in common. Monte Schmiege, Mary Weigand, Chris Zwygart and Kurt Rebholz are all devoted local citizens with deep roots in the community. All four candidates have solid, if different, backgrounds that would bring a lot to the school board. They all tout the virtues of fiscal responsibility, safe schools, transparency and all of the other things important to West Bend’s voters. They are all intent of finding a superintendent who will fill the leadership void with a clear vision, strong administrative skills and an ability to connect and communicate with the entire community.

For all practical purposes, all four candidates appear to agree on 90 percent, if not more, of the issues that will come before the board. The differences between the candidates are small, but they are real. Those differences lead me to cast my votes for Monte Schmiege and Mary Weigand.

One of the biggest differences that has emerged between the candidates revolves around the School Board’s role and responsibility when it comes to determining curriculum. Rebholz and Zwygart have made strong statements to the effect that the School Board should provide some oversight, but that the determination of curriculum should be left to the so-called experts. They eschew the responsibility for curriculum saying that part-time non-educators should not have a say in determining what is taught to our kids. I reject that notion.

The whole purpose of having an elected School Board is so that the government school district is overseen by representatives of the community. They are there to inject the community’s values into everything from budgeting to safety protocols to extracurriculars and to, yes, curriculum. And if the School Board thinks that there is better use of time in an eighth grade language arts class than spending 40 days reading about the “Sustainability of the US Food Supply Chain,” then the School Board should change the curriculum — experts or not. The School Board should not micromanage curriculum, but neither should they abandon their responsibility for it.

The other primary difference between the candidates just comes down to track record. As we learned in the School Board election last year, it is easy for candidates to bamboozle voters by touting fiscal responsibility and transparency and then abandon those values when elected. Both Rebholz and Zwygart are relative newcomers to engaging in the issues of the school district.

Meanwhile, Schmiege is the only incumbent in the race. Running for his second term, he would be the most senior member of the School Board and the only member who has been part of a search for a superintendent. He has a rock solid track record of fiscal responsibility and thoughtful leadership on the school board. He is one of the only members of the School Board willing to continually work on the boring things like revamping old policies and strictly adhering to rules governing a public board. He has also remained transparent and open to the community throughout his term. There is never any doubt about where Schmiege stands on an issue or whether or not he will stick to his convictions. He is a rock.

Weigand has been actively involved in district issues as a parent and citizen for years. She has served on the district’s Human Growth and Development Committee and is serving on the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee. Weigand is a regular feature at School Board meetings and frequently offers insightful input. Like Schmiege, there is never any doubt as to Weigand’s convictions or whether or not she will waver from them under pressure.

All four candidates say many of the same things, but only Schmiege and Weigand have the years of public history backing up those statements. They have both earned a seat on the board.

Win or lose, I truly hope that all four candidates remained involved in shaping the district’s future.

School Gets Weapons Upgrade

Common sense prevails.

The Pennsylvania school district superintendent who discussed arming teachers with rocks last week is now stepping up school security. The security will be armed with guns.

Blue Mountain School District superintendent David Helsel commented last week that the district would be arming teachers with a 5-gallon bucket of landscaping stones in each classroom. The quotes immediately brought criticism — and ridicule — over the practicality of students and teachers being faced with having to hurl rocks at an armed attacker.

The school district announced on Sunday that beginning this week there will be increased security at schools due to the media attention the comments received.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Dublin’s to close March 31

There’s been some rumbling around West Bend the past few weeks regarding the future of Dublin’s, 110 Wisconsin Street.

On Wednesday afternoon those rumblings were confirmed as Dublin’s owner Todd Ceman said they are closing the Irish pub at the end of the month.

“My wife Jamie relocated and accepted a job in California,” said Ceman. “It was too good of a job to pass up.  She moved in the early part of February and I moved with her and that unfortunately left Dublin’s and I was unable to continue running it from California.”

Ceman said they looked at a couple different options to possibly pass the business along to employees but “unfortunately the stars did not align.”

“Yes, the business is closing but not out of distress,” Ceman said.  “This is really a bittersweet decision. There was a lot of work effort and we made a lot of friends, consistent customers and I will miss this a lot.”

Ceman wanted to make sure to recognize his great staff. “They have been my rock for the last four-and-a-half years. They’re the highest levels of integrity and they’re the reason people patronized the business,” he said.

Ceman runs the business in partnership with Dave and Kristin Toman; the couples have two other restaurants in Oshkosh. He said those establishments will remain open.

“The employees are OK with all this. They’re extremely awesome but they are sad about the closing,” Ceman said.

Shelby Neelis is a server and bartender at Dublin’s. “Todd Ceman is one of the best bosses we could have asked for, we’re sorry to see him move to California but all his employees are going to stick it out until the end,” she said.

Jordan Zeitler is a bartender/ server at Dublin’s. “I was sad when I heard but we appreciate everything Todd has done for us here; we all care about him,” he said.

Customers were shocked to hear the news. “I had one lady say ‘I’m going to just go out and recommend this place to all my customers’ and I appreciated that but this is it,” Zeitler said.

When employees found out, Neelis said everybody was sad. “Unfortunately it’s not going to stay open just for us but at the same time we’re happy as long as Todd is happy,” she said. “He’s been there through thick and thin with us and he knows all our names and we know he cares about us.”

The atmosphere and the 40 beers on tap is what Neelis said was a big draw and helped make Dublin’s a success.

Neelis said the building has been a mainstay in the community. She remembered the train through the rafters and the popcorn machine in the entry when it was The Binkery.  (and the head in the upstairs window)

Kelly Jordan of West Bend has been coming to Dublin’s since it opened and before that she patronized The Binkery. “I really liked the Irish food here and the old building,” said Jordan. “We’d come off the Eisenbahn bike trail and have lunch outside. This has always been a wonderful place to sit and have dinner and take mom and have an Irish beverage and Irish meal after work.”

Marlene Jennings of Slinger said she loved coming to Dublin’s. “I would look forward to spring and summer on the patio and my Irish whisky,” she said.

The Dublin’s name is owned by Ceman. For people with Dublin’s gift certificates, Ceman said those will be accepted in Oshkosh.

The owner of the building is Kevin and Amy Zimmer. So far the couple has no comment on the future of the location. On an editorial note, if anyone is familiar with the Zimmers and their connections it’s likely the building will not sit empty for long.

Dublin’s last day will be Saturday, March 31, 2018.

On a history note:  It was Sept. 15, 2009 when the former Binkery was moved from W. Washington Street to Wisconsin Street in downtown West Bend. There was a slow-moving parade to the east.

Sharpshooters may be next step for deer management in West Bend

Three months after the city of West Bend tried using bow hunters to trim the deer population the Deer Management Committee is regrouping to discuss Plan B.

On Monday, March 26 the committee will talk about using sharpshooters for deer management. During a five-day test program for deer management in West Bend in January 2018, five bow hunters killed a total of three deer. Their goal was 40.

Now the Deer Management Committee is regrouping. Sharpshooters have been discussed in the past. Some of the concerns were cost and safety. Tom Isaac with the DNR presented some details during a meeting in August 2016.

Bullet points (pun intended) include:

-The average park size in West Bend is 14 acres up to 140 acres.

-Options to control deer include sterilization, sharpshooters, and trapping.

-Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said the ultimate goal is to manage the herd. Another suggested option was to get volunteers to qualify as sharpshooters and maybe close a park for 2-3 days to try and solve the problem.

In 2009 in neighboring Ozaukee County officials in the City of Mequon brought in sharpshooters for $11,000 to help cull the deer herd by 100. According to a report from the Parks Director the sharpshooters used bait, shot the deer from tree stands at night while the park was closed.

Monday’s meeting in the Conference Room at West Bend City Hall is open to the public and begins at 5:30 p.m.

On a side note – Hallway conversation in 2016: After the meeting some of the neighbors in attendance talked about the huge problem of deer in their yards on Deer Ridge Drive. One suggestion that helped keep deer from destroying plants was Irish Spring soap.

Can Washington Co. Clerk work elections if spouse is running for office?

The question has come up in several instances in Washington County with regard to the April 3 election and whether it is legit that candidates and their spouses can work the polls.

This election Justin Reichert is running for District 3 alderman in West Bend. Reichert’s wife, Ashley, is the Washington County Clerk who oversees the election results. Reichert said it is perfectly kosher for her to complete her job on Election Day because the poll duties are completely separate from her husband’s municipal race.

“I’m only providing the supplies and the general support to oversee the election,” said Ashley Reichert.  “I’m not the filing officer for that position; the filing officer is the city of West Bend and I’m completely removed from all of that.”

Reichert said the database programs at the county are hired out so there’s complete separation.

Canvassing, also for those municipal races happens at the municipal level.

“I only canvass county races, state and federal so I’m completely removed from that,” she said.

Reichert said a county clerk is also an elected position and if her name were on the ballot she would recuse herself from the canvass.

Reid Magney is the public information officer with the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

“If you’re using the example of Justin Reichert, he was required to submit nomination papers to the city clerk and not the county clerk,” he said.

“When a decision is made on reviewing the required number of signatures to run for office, that decision is made by the city clerk and not the county clerk.

“When they put together the ballot the city clerk determines the order the names are on the ballot and not the county clerk.”

Magney said the county clerk does print the ballot but the information comes from the city clerk.

“When it comes to counting the ballots the county clerk has nothing to do with that because it’s a municipal office and it only goes up as high as that office,” he said. “There’s a municipal board of canvassers that will double check the results after the election but that information never goes to a county board of canvassers.

“The county board of canvassers will only deal with county races and state races in this election so she won’t have anything to do with the counting of the votes,” Magney said. “There is absolutely no issue in an election like this.”

Location announced for Eaton’s Fresh Pizza in West Bend

In February we announced Eaton’s Pizza would be returning to West Bend. The franchise owner was coming in from Fond du Lac.  According to the owner Eaton’s Fresh Pizza will be located at 830 E. Paradise Drive. That’s in the strip mall across from Blue Dog Golf Course.

The owner is looking at a target opening date of July 1. He said he will need about 10 employees. Watch for upcoming job postings at

Brenda Hetebrueg joins Horicon Bank in West Bend

Horicon Bank is pleased to announce Brenda Hetebrueg has joined their team in West Bend as a Branch Manager. Originally from West Bend, Hetebrueg comes to Horicon Bank with over 30 years of banking experience. After graduating West Bend East High School, Hetebrueg earned several banking diplomas, including one from the American Institute of Banking School.

She started her career in banking as a teller, and later became a teller supervisor, Branch Operations Service Manager and Bank Officer. Hetebrueg is an active member of the West Bend community. She currently serves as a board member for Roots and Branches as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County.

As a branch manager, Hetebrueg said she enjoys building relationships with her customers.

“I love working with customers – being able to help them with their financial needs,” said Hetebrueg. “As a branch manager, that also means mentoring and empowering my team in West Bend to do the same.”

Hetebrueg said she enjoys this role at Horicon Bank because of the bank’s philosophy toward the community. “I enjoy working for a community bank,” she said. “I am amazed how much we contribute back to the community. Our vision is all about our customers, community and employees – to enjoy working together to make lives better and more secure.

Advisory referendum question on April 3 ballot in West Bend

There will be four questions on an advisory referendum on the April 3 ballot for taxpayers in the city of West Bend. All questions are intended to gauge the interest of taxpayers and how critical they feel it is to spend more money on roads.

Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten – West Bend

-Advisory referendum and road maintenance. How to finance road repair and road fixes.

-Remember to vote on all four questions. All four are Yes / No questions

-First two questions talk about increasing property taxes

-Question 3 deals with a wheel tax – this tax can only be used for transportation and road type issues

-No. 4 is to ask Washington County to share 25% of their sales tax with all municipalities.

-Washington County reps have so far said – that will not happen.

-Three major road fixes include 7th Avenue, 18th Ave from Vogt to Paradise and Main Street south of Humar and each project is $5 million.

-$20 wheel tax would be added on at the state level

-How do you sunset the tax – we don’t have a true sunset.

-Anticipated revenue on vehicle registration fee is $600,000 a year applied to borrowing

-Total debt now at city of West Bend is $50 million – down from $80 million six or seven years ago.

Updates & tidbits

The Washington County Fair is coming up July 24 – 29 and notice went out this morning about when word will be released regarding headliners at the Silver Lining Amphitheatre.

-The City of West Bend is proud to announce Albiero Plumbing as Business of the Year. Join us at the award presentation: Wednesday, April 4 at 5 p.m. Albiero Plumbing · HVAC 1940 N. Main Street, West Bend

-The Gift of Giving fundraiser is April 7 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at King Pin Bowl and Ale House, 1022 S. Main Street in West Bend. Bo’s Heavenly Clubhouse is a nonprofit charity organization that was formed when Amanda Hartwig’s family experienced the loss of their 10-month-old son, Bo. “We had nowhere to turn for grief support and aid for mental anguish,” she said.

– The West Bend Police Department annual Spring Bike Sale will be Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 8 a.m. There are 95 bikes for sale with a majority in good condition. The sale will be on the north end of West Bend City Hall, 1115 S. Main Street.  The bikes are sold “as is” and all sales are final. No warranty, refunds, or exchanges. All bikes are $20, which includes a bike license. Yes all bikes will be sold with a bike license. CASH ONLY.

West Bend School Board candidate forum

Four candidates vying for two seats on the West Bend School Board participated in a candidate forum this week at West Bend City Hall. Two candidates will be elected to fill two seats on the West Bend School Board. Election Day is Tuesday, April 3.

Kurt Rebholz – son of two public school teachers, went to UW-Stevens Point, worked at Amity Leather, lived her 24 years, has two kids, my kids got a wonderful education here, business owner, hired a lot of students, have passion for community, lets reverse trend of 400 kids leaving the district, let’s hire a superintendent.

Monte Schmiege – in last three years I’m the most senior member of current board, bachelors degree, worked at WB Company and Regal Ware, three adult children, volunteered at Good Shepherd Lutheran and with Habitat for Humanity, treasurer of board and policy chairman, I’m engaged with work on the board, most important aspect is teaching and learning, what’s being taught and how effectively, district has many great things going for it,

Mary Weigand – attended school board meetings for years, current member of CFAC and served on human growth and development committee, have a vast knowledge of curriculum, home schooled children, US Naval academy in 2005 they went away from celestial navigation to GPS and 10 years later went back to celestial navigation. We in WBSD have lost our course and I often hear education needs to change to fix the 21st century. Run for school board and say ‘talk about curriculum’ because that’s the meat and potatoes of education.

Chris Zwygart – chief legal officer at WB Mutual and there for 23 years, I help manage our board of directors and also board on St. Joseph’s Hospital and proud of that work. I’m running because we have a fantastic school system and they wanted to establish a public school foundation and we researched how that would be done and under management of several great boards raised several million dollars. What a gem we have in the community. It’s one of the few areas where if we do our job well, everybody wins. Better educated children means better educated workers. We have challenges with superintendent and facilities. I want to help and I have the skills to help.

Address challenges of declining enrollment

MS – the district could improve the education because that can attract parents and families. Maintain a solid financial footing in the district and don’t want to blow up our budget. In the near future we need to look at facilities and make it possible for growth where needed and attract families.

MW – the district motto is we are a destination. If that’s so – we need to set ourselves apart – the choice to use common core standards is a mistake. Parents in Slinger, Mequon and WB say they can’t understand the new math. If we want to be a destination we could work to stabilize curriculum and local communities can set their own standards. That could set us apart. The white privilege test did not help this district.

CZ – need to take a look at demographics and how many children we expect in the future. Partner with city and council and what can we do to attract new citizens to the area. How do we differentiate ourselves – I spoke with a 9th grader about journalism and I noted these were not classes offered to me. It’s amazing the different opportunities we have. We have scale on our side to offer attractive classes. We need to work on our reputation. It’s undeserved but true – we need to make sure as a school board that we don’t micromanage. That creates distrust.  Let’s look why they are school choicing out.

KR – Student school choicing out to Slinger and Kewaskum. What are they doing better than we are? Let’s work to draw more families to the community. We need to promote school district and hire a good superintendent. We have an outstanding curriculum and promote trades education. This used to be a manufacturing town. We need a trades renaissance. Controversy drives teachers away. Curriculum changes – that’s controversy, that’s makes student leave. Let’s promote the good school system, and community we are.

Is a board member a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system and why

MW – hard to differentiate between the two. I have friends and neighbors and colleagues that send kids to schools here. As a SB member my job is to advocate for the school district. I’m a hard worker and love to research. I talked to a 3rd grader – her words were, “I get to learn cursive.” She said, “Her teacher got them all cursive handwriting books and none of the others are learning cursive.” I thought how great that was. I would push for more kids to learn cursive. I don’t know I can separate between community and school system.

CZ – school system is asset of the community. Answer is both. One of toughest jobs is the community isn’t always aligned in their views. It’s important to listen and set personal bias aside. We need to focus on what we do best – we act as listeners and advocates in the community. Important to navigate and that 100% won’t be aligned

KR – first is to be a rep of school system. So many businesses that want to support and we can expand and save tax dollars with public/private partnerships. We need to get behind the students and learning even if they aren’t going to college.

MS – a school board member is a rep of the community. You’re elected to work and guide the entire school district. Work with the superintendent to set the vision and establish goals. Working with the superintendent and you have to balance between the community and the school district. You need to collaborate and represent all parties. Parents, families and children are foremost.

How to attract and retain teachers and future leaders

CZ – critical issue. We need to attract, recruit and retain quality staff. Our reputation is not great and it’s unfortunate because we live in an era of social media but ironically so many of those opinions are captured on the permanent internet. When trying to attract a new superintendent or teacher they will surf the net. I don’t know they’ll like what they see. Compensation is important and we need a model to attract and recruit and retain good workers.

KR – we have great teachers in the school system. We need to stop them from leaving. Some great teachers and admin left for Slinger. We made a bad superintendent hire and we don’t have three of top admin and that creates uncertainty. We need a good superintendent that knows the students. Superintendent needs to be active in the community. If we have a great leader we stop the flow out and create atmosphere of teamwork

MS – in 2016 statistics from DPI our teacher force at WB is a bit more experienced and more degrees than average for the state. We have rather low turnover compared to other areas of the state and we also had a study that our compensation is in the top range relative to other districts. Some of those things need to be looked at again. Competitive compensation. We also have to establish good culture within our schools and teacher engagement. We need to have a superintendent who can work from the top down. Bring in good administrators and build a good system. The community is attractive and have manufacturing, businesses and stores.

MW – if I were a teacher it would be important to me to have clear expectation with benefits, salary, and classroom conduct. Having clear expectations helps. In our budget drivers is a provision that teachers and staff meet – it will meet what the others pay and we are in the top 5% in teacher salary. The superintendent we hire – it’s a juggling act and we need a solid leader and clearly spell it out.

What school district should WB most resemble?

KR – Slinger is run well top to bottom. They’re smart and recruited some of our admin and teachers. There are things we could do to emulate others. Tax benefit wise – 30 – 40% of school districts take advantage of energy performance contracts. These cost-saving measures for energy improvements.  We need to emulate what other districts are doing.

MS – I compare WB with Neenah, Wisconsin. We’re fairly comparable. Need to consider factors. Size we’re comparable to Neenah. When I look at budget – there are similarities. To some extent comparing us to a district like Slinger or Kewaskum it’s like comparing apples and oranges. When you look at HS we have great CTE program and AP classes. We are offering many good things with arts and music and athletic programs.

MW – my brother in law is the finance admin in Wisconsin Rapids. I think we have a better school district here. At cost per student in Slinger they spend less per student than WB and I think there is a perception that Slinger School District is more conservative than WB.

CZ – we’re a unique community. This has to work for our own community. We can look at other district for better ideas. Other reason this is important to identify. We want the best and brightest ideas to fit here.

District employees and taxpayers – how to choose between the two

MS – the budget is somewhat limited by the revenue limits so you have to work within that budget or you will have to bring up an operational referendum. We are working well within our budget. Between employees and taxpayers – we have to consider what’s needed for the employees. We have to be competitive and meet or exceed the market. What’s happened with Act 10 the old structures and now different districts have different formulas. We would need regular repeated studies to help fit within our revenue limit. We need to keep in mind the repairs needed and we don’t budget ourselves into the corner.

MW – we have budget drivers and the staffing portion is 70%. The budget drivers are a nice tool and the board evaluates them frequently. Decisions for anything else we should make data-driven decisions. At some point the board needs to lead and it’s a juggling act between valuing people’s input and using data for decision. There have been energy savings implemented and Johnson Controls helped implement many energy savings and that’s been a great asset.

CZ – as I’ve talked to taxpayers – why would angry taxpayers show up at a school board meeting? The perception we’re raising taxes and wasting money and the other is we have administrators leaving. That comes down to budget. We need to deal with them with transparency. I think teachers understand budgetary constraints. Don’t work in isolation as a school board

KR – I’m a fiscal conservative and a supporter of WBSD. Taxpayer – we’re a conservative community and want to hold taxes down. I have some good fiscal ideas. Dave Ross has done a good job but we can help with energy contracts. There are facility improvements with an energy performance contract. An $80 million budget need to put resources to attract and retain good teachers.

Changes in school curriculum

MW – Common core was adopted without board approval. The English language arts will be approved next winter. Looking at advanced 8th grade and I see it’s supposed to be with good literature with character building and teach values and vocabulary. This curriculum is 180 school days and has 40 days on sustainability of U.S. food supply.  The love of learning is being sucked out of our students.  We can’t teach everything – we need to choose the best curriculum. There’s so much good stuff out there.

CZ – it is absolutely true that school board oversee curriculum. I can’t imagine the state thought we’re going to take a group of part time people and appoint them the arbitrator. It would be absurd for teachers to obtain permission from the board. We should not turn curriculum into a political football. I’m passionate about this. We employ experts. We should oversee the process and that it’s working but leave the curriculum to the experts.

KR – I agree with Chris. We’re first to none in advanced curriculum. Curriculum can’t be a controversial topic. We’re a public school system and curriculum can’t be chosen on what books are good or bad. This drives teachers and students away. We need to have a cohesive school district.

MS – leaving curriculum to the experts – the experts are the liberal professors in the liberal universities in the non-government organizations that drive the choices of curriculum that are passed down to states and school districts. That is what some people object to what they finally find out – like the privilege test what’s going on. A teacher chose to use a test compatible to engage New York curriculum. When you leave the curriculum to the experts this is what you’re getting – I would agree with Mr. Zwygert that you can guide the selection of curriculum – but change happens fast .

How to stress accountability – who is accountable to the school board and how do you measure performance

CZ – accountability can be a scary concept. School board interacts with the superintendent and that’s where the accountability lies. IN private industry that can be shared responsibility. A board member has to work with the superintendent. The next choice is critical. The school board works with the superintendent.

KR – how we’re measure on accountability and performance. Can we reduce the trend of students leaving. That’s a measurable action to measure success. Board actions to help that. Board unity. I was part of superintendent search committee. It’s a serious decision to hire the next superintendent. Is the longest serving the way to have a school board in WB. I want to support unity and a positive direction. We need to compromise, be accountable to the superintendent and be judged on how we attract students.

MS – superintendent is the only employee of the school board. I’ve been working behind the scenes to collect sample evaluation instruments for the superintendent. We tried a superintendent evaluation last year and it was bumbling along. Before that – in my experience – we didn’t do much evaluating of the superintendent. We have to have strategic goals and the board needs to monitor performance. Thinking of a dashboard where the superintendent presents to the board with where the district stands on certain parameters. Mr. Neitzke had a bulletin board with facts and we need something that puts the data before the board.

MW – the board oversees the superintendent and the super oversees the admin. The school board is accountable to state law and the community – one thing we’ve seen is the lack of transparency. Recently every meeting hasn’t been taped – lately the admin and the board decided not to tape it. We’re accountable to the community. At the superintendent search and Dave in charge of HR and we talked about the pyramid and there is a protocol.

How does school board work to prepare HS student for college or technical training or workforce training

KR – our board needs to help students whether they choose college or trades path. That’s a passion of mine where I believe let’s promote more advance placement classes. Our community is concerned about trades education. Local companies have helped promote trades education. As a business owner I’d like to promote and bring more community resources in and enhance the curriculum.

MS- we want to have as wide a variety of options available. We have students getting college credits in HS, AP courses, CTE and well supported by the community. Different companies provide equipment. In seventh and 8th grade the students can get credits for H.S.  There are a wide range of opportunities and we need to have a strong counseling program.

MW – change in recent years that students don’t need to go to college. Not everyone will do that and I like the change that’s happening with trades and technical school. We can do a better job informing kids that these are really good jobs. We can encourage students to get out of school in three years and I’d like to open that environment. That’s a really valid aspect.

CZ – take a look at school board’s mission statement. College readiness and career success. If they want to go directly into a career the student will be prepared under both scenarios. We have the scale to offer unique classes and we’re doing more with regard to trades. Anything we can do to bring more community resources in. We can train students to earn a fantastic wage in a trade and we need to encourage that. Use our size and scale to distinguish ourselves.

Social media – how do you improve the situation?

MS – Social media has somewhat subsided. Not sure how relevant that question is. We do have a communications person in the district who is working with a consultant to improve the communications aspect. We did a communications audit. Long process to get that going. We’re working on it. We need to have positive communications coming out of the district about the achievements and successes and we need to respond to complaints or objections that arise. We need to respond to that readily and a communications person would help in that area.

MW – not aware of anything with social media. Communication is the key. Talking to parents – from individual schools the communication is good. If parents are communicated with by the parents or teachers. The district office needs to work on that more from the top. Transparency. Everyone should have access and openness

CZ – do something to do what we can to avoid controversy. There will always be unusual controversy. We need to social media and use it as an advantage. Why are we seeing that. We need to promote and tell the truth. That’s simple. Tie into transparency and communication because if you don’t communicate there’s a different version of the truth. Transparency. Social media record stays out there a long time.

KR – positive and negative social media. Sometimes it’s self inflicted. We haven’t had an effective leader for multiple years. The teacher hasn’t felt they’ve had a good leader. School curriculum and challenging teachers and that brings negative social media. Once we have a great superintendent in place let’s put a great communication in place. Let’s talk to everyone and tell us how great a district we have.

Why are candidates running in tandem?

MW – when I took out my papers I didn’t know who else was running. I didn’t know the other two at all. Until tonight I didn’t know their views. I would be happy to serve with Monte as we have the same goals and concerns. It’s interesting how that happens.

CZ – when I started I wasn’t sure who would throw their hat in the ring. With regard to the signage – yes, there’s more clustering with Mr. Rebholz. Perhaps it’s intentional. Talked about school as a business and issues like budgets and contracts and there are business concepts to manage district affairs. In addition we’ve heard differing viewpoints. Differences on curriculum and managing teachers. We want to leave curriculum to the experts – that is one of the contributors to why the signs are clustered.

KR – I endorse Chris Zwygert for school board. I knew of Chris by name and he’s of impeccable character. Monte and Mary are great family people and community members. Our sons played together with Mary’s kids. You and Dave have a great family. When I met Monte I really didn’t know you. When you said curriculum was your first choice and policy was your second. I had to work with Chris.

MS – there are curriculum concerns and I’m happy to work with Mary. I think some of our supporters have brought us together. I have utmost respect for all the candidates and what they might bring to the table but clearly there is a difference. Curriculum, for many years, has been left to the ivory tower. I have the utmost respect for our teachers and I attempted to do that with the science and I was not permitted to have a separate work session for discussion.

What is role of School District in regard to vitality of district and how will you accomplish

CZ – economic growth and vitality – this education thing, everybody wins when we do it well. If we can have students well prepared for the workforce, that will help.  It means people with a better education can earn a higher wage. We want to attract people to move to the community. Keep property values high and make sure people are ready to work. It raises the standard of living for everyone

KR – 21st largest school district in the state. We’re a large entity. Retired teachers have encouraged me to run and promote unity.

MS – first responsibility is education of children. College and career ready. Students who go on to college hopefully they will return. Have to have an attractive education and we need employee satisfaction so that keeps the good teachers in the district. There is a strong connection with Moraine Park and UW-WC. If we have a good solid education program then good things happen. WBSD moved up in state report card and now ‘exceed expectations.’

MW – mission of district is to educate kids. We want them to be respectful and have a good work ethic and collaborate with community and schools. We need to let district know we respect parents and parental rights. There are a lot of choices – some home school, online learning, parochial – if we want them to come here we need to make it a destination with solid curriculum that parents can trust and let parents know they’re respected.

When people ask if West Bend is a great school district, what do you say?

KR – I will shout it from the rooftops. More passionate than ever to fix our communication issue. This is a great school district. Let’s reduce the controversy

MS – is WB a good district, Yes. In spite of what people say our teachers are staying more than average and more experienced and more degrees than state average. We have strong programs at the high schools of wide range and career possibilities. Whole range of activities and these are attractive to draw people to the district. Our community is top notch with safety.

MW – being a student from 4th grade on up with the ski team and band and when our kids were school age and our daughter was home schooled the district was wonderful in working with us. She took AP science and they have a great relationship with the community. Our son participated in sports and other son participated in automotive and our daughter is a professional violinist and if someone said – it’s not perfect but if I get on the board I will help make it better.

CZ – this is a district of a larger scale which gives us opportunities. We have quality teachers who care and they sacrifice their own time and go above and beyond. I want to add that we have a school board that’s supportive of the district with a top notch superintendent.

Final remarks

Monte Schmiege – served on board for 3 years. Attended three Wisconsin Association of School Board conferences to increase my knowledge in this area. I spend a lot on school board weekends to review and analyze the packet. I’ve worked hard to get a grasp on board policies. We need solid policies. I’ve delved into school board policies. District has some conservative practices and we would like to continue that. WB could use some longevity on the board.

Mary Weigand – I’m a nurse and I could look at some issues as a nurse in triage. Right now the bleed is the superintendent. We need a good super, and hire some good admin, stabilize the district and communicate with the community. I have a lot of questions I would like to propose to a superintendent candidate. I am a hard worker with community values and I want to restore community values. Board has a responsibility – board doesn’t teach curriculum they approve the curriculum. I want my community better and I desire to hear from more people in the community. Strong solid conservative.

Chris Zwygart – everyone intends the best but we have different approaches. I want to say why I can help – I am an attorney and my job will be to keep the board out of trouble and focused. School finances are difficult and I’m a CPA so if there are issues we can resolve them. I’ve recruited top level execs. With issues like finance and budget and regulation I have the skills needed. With curriculum, there’s talk about this set up by liberal professors – we employ people to review curriculum. This should not be a political football.

Kurt Rebholz – we’re four conservatives sitting and running for school board. Serious issues include hiring a superintendent and saving the community taxpayer dollars and look at the $80 million budget and let’s retain and attract teachers. Let’s not push a curriculum agenda – with school board members with that view we may lose more good teachers. My dad talked to me about good grades – and he praised an A effort. I will give an A.