Here we go again… for those who are not from West Bend, we have two high schools – East and West – but both high schools are in the same building. Yes, I know… it’s strange.
The high schools opened in 1970 with the combined campus in an effort to create a smaller environments with more modular scheduling. Since the high schools are in the same building, the district determines which school a kid goes to by their birthday. Even birthdays go to one school and odd birthdays go to the same school. If there are multiple kids in the family, it goes by the birthday of the oldest kid.
Over the years there have been several efforts to combine the schools, but they have each been thwarted for various reasons. Mainly, it appears that nostalgia for the alumni is the strongest impediment to combining the schools. Practically speaking, the two schools already have the same principal, combined academic departments, and little adherence to physical separation within the building. The sports teams, however, are separate.
I am the epitome of the dispassionate observer on this issue. I didn’t go to West Bend’s schools and neither do my kids. I want them to be strong and provide a quality education at the lowest possible cost. If combining the schools saves money while not harming education (or even improving it), then do it. If it would cost more to combine them or would harm education, then leave it alone.
The School Board is going to be working on this over the next month. They plan to have some open forums and make a decision at their October 6th meeting. They get started tomorrow evening at a work session. It’s September 8th at 5:30 in the district office. I don’t think they are taking public input at this meeting, but you can hear what the board members have to say.