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0754, 17 Aug 18

West Bend School Board Calls Special Meeting to Put Referendum on Ballot

As usual with this board… public notice posted on the business day before the meeting. Apparently, they only anticipate 3 minutes of public participation.


Education Service Center

735 S. Main Street, West Bend

Board Room

August 20, 2018 6:00 pm

NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC AUDIENCE: A) At the regular and special meetings of the Board of Education, the President of the Board will honor requests of the public to speak to any item prior to the President’s closing of public participation. Persons requesting to be heard shall register their written requests to the Board President and identify themselves by name and address. Based on the number of requests, the President may set a time limit for all persons to speak. Persons wishing to speak a second time must register a second time. A person may speak a maximum of three (3) minutes; however, the President may limit the time, depending on the number of persons requesting to address the Board. B) Due to time constraints, Agenda items may be taken out of order. C) The time schedule is used as a guide. Times are approximate.


6:00      1. Call to Order 2. Pledge of Allegiance

6:01      3. Approval of Agenda

6:02      4. Public Participation 5. Action Items

6:05      a. Possible referendum election November 6, 2018

6:15      b. Potential referendum question(s) 6. Adjourn


0754, 17 August 2018


  1. MaxwellsEQs

    Good morning Owen,

    Did you notice that there are a lot of school referendums proposed/passing?

    Any thoughts on why that is? (I have a few)


  2. Mark Hoefert

    Several reasons I can think of:

    Trump economy: Consumer confidence up, people not as anxious about where their next paychecks are coming from. Personally and locally, I am finding that people are not all that worried about the additional tax implications of the proposed referendum.

    Walker/Act 10: Property tax increases have been minimal over the past few years.  People more open to a new tax for a “tangible” outcome like a new building.  As opposed to perpetual annual increases for operating costs.

    Election Timing: high turnout elections offer better chance for positive acceptance of a referendum.  Despite what the polls say before an election, people on both sides go in with a positive attitude that their candidate will win (otherwise, why bother?).

    Use of Architectural/PR Firms/School Perceptions Consultants:  That is probably the key thing.  In the past, school Superintendents and staff and Board carried the water for engaging the community in justifying the need for the referendum.  Success based on mutual trust between school district and community.  In the case of West Bend, we have a new Superintendent who just landed in West Bend (and Wisconsin).  In the run up to this referendum, there has not been any Superintendent community interactions in the planning process.  This whole process has been “contracted out” to professionals who have experience doing this with multiple school districts.

    As an aside, Owen, when thinking about the failed $120 Million “mother of all referendums” (or as per the media tagline, “Largest referendum ever proposed in Wisconsin”),  I recall an outside group did a robocall campaign against the referendum, using your wife’s voice.  Ironic that now public funds are being used to hire an outside voice to pitch the referendum.

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