The West Bend School Board is going to start the ball rolling to ask for a referendum next year. They won’t likely admit that, but that is the inevitable outcome of the process they are starting. This is the relevant item on Monday’s School Board agenda:
Topic and Background:
As part of the 17-18 Strategic Plan, the district has committed to evaluating the district’s options to address an aging Jackson Elementary School and the East/West High School facility. To that end, the district has hired Bray Architects to assist in the process.
Public engagement with the process will be crucial. The team is recommending the formation of a board appointed, citizens committee to analyze possible solutions and ultimately make a recommendation back to the board in spring of 2018.
It is extremely important to keep the Board apprised of the activities that are taking place. The formation of the citizens committee is a key component of the plan as we move forward.
$35,000 which has already been budgeted for activities related to this strategic plan item.
They have also included a handy document describing the process. You can find that here.
The process is designed to gather public input (good), assess needs (good), and make recommendations to the board (good). The process is also designed to lead to one inevitable conclusion – referendum.
What’s the tell? Look at the firm contracted for the engagement. Bray Architects is a firm that specializes in helping school districts get referendums passed to fund projects that Bray then completes. On their website, they even brag about their role in recent school referendums that passed.
They even talk about how they helped get referendums passed that had previously failed:
- Form a committee loaded with people predisposed to support more spending
- The committee will conduct a needs analysis that has a very wide definition of “need”
- 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)
- The committee will determine that existing district resources are inadequate to meet the facilities “needs”
- 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?”
- The committee recommends that the board go to referendum based on the survey results
- The School Board puts the referendum(s) on the ballot
I will be gleefully pleased if I am wrong, but I plan to pull this post back up next year to show how predictable this was.