The big meeting of the West Bend School Board was tonight to decide on whether or not to combine the high schools. Fortunately, Judy Steffes was there! Here’s her report:
WB School Board votes to maintain two high school configuration.
Following a recommendation by Superintendent Ted Neitzke, the West Bend School Board voted unanimously to maintain the two high school configuration.
The board also voted to approve spending $40,000 to paint the field house in school colors and the hallways to represent the individual East High School and West High School.
Couple of tidbits from the two-hour meeting.
– About 100 people in attendance. Thirteen people signed up to speak and all were in favor of two schools except for one.
– Local attorney Amy Salberg spoke to the board about a need to set up a better procedure to discuss the issues. She said, “a lot of people did not trust the procedure.”
– A man named Joe told the board to “listen to the community – open your eyes to the turmoil you’re causing.” He then quoted the school motto “where children come first” and he said, “When do children figure in to this decision.”
– Former WBHS coach and English teacher Rick Riehl said he spoke to four board members “with a cranium full of research and a gut full of apprehension.” He told the board, “The number-one goal is let’s see if we can trust each other and become a team. West Bend East and West Bend West on behalf of our kids.”
– Joseph Garrison of Jackson said after the vote he was “disappointed because it was all based on emotionalism” and “there’s no solid reason to keep the schools separate.”
– Local business owner Mary Husar Martin said, “Do what the community has asked. No more money or time spent on this issue. I’d rather see you as a board and us as a community work on why students are leaving, teachers are leaving, and why we have declining test scores. Work to make West Bend a district of academics, arts and athletics.”
Superintendent addressed the board and talked about developing a policy to define the process to review the high schools configuration. Some of the suggestions include crating a task force, developing a survey from focus groups, and reviewing athletic metrics.
The board will review language in Policy 432 which deals with how it’s determined which West Bend High School a student attends.
Overall comment from board members:
Ryan Gieryn, “This discussion has been good for our community. Why are we settling for mediocrity in athletics?”
Vinny Pang, “This was not a courageous decision, it was a no brainer.”
Bart Williams, “Let’s keep what we have because it works.”
After the decision people in the audience stood and applauded.
Having not been there, what’s the deal with deciding to spend $40k for painting? Is it in need of painting or is this just stupid pandering to the two schools crowd? Things like painting are usually done in the normal course of maintenance. Why are we spending $40k in unbudgeted money on this?