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2158, 15 Jan 19

West Bend School Board Votes for Referendum

In the least surprising news of the new year, the West Bend School Board has decided to ask the taxpayers to go further into debt to build a new school in a district with mediocre performance and declining enrollment. Neat.

Jan. 15, 2019 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend School Board set the initial resolution for the April 2, 2019 referendum question at $47 million. The true cost with interest at about 4.25 percent, according to John Mehan with Robert W. Baird & Co., will bring the total to $74 million as that will include $27 million in interest.


Cobbling together the outstanding debt of $34,431,000 plus the proposed referendum and interest of $74 million the total, if approved in April 2019 would bring, the West Bend School District debt on referendums to $108,431,000.

That’s roughly $1,400 in debt for every man, woman, and child in the school district. Nuts.

Meanwhile, they are killing the district’s charter school.

Jan. 15, 2019 – West Bend, WI – Parents and students lined up at Monday night’s West Bend School Board meeting to express their displeasure about the district’s plan to possibly eliminate Pathways Charter School.

According to  documentation posted on the School District site a recommendation will be made for Pathways to be eliminated.

We wouldn’t want innovation or anything crazy like that in the stolid, old, 20th-century education model being offered by the West Bend School District.



2158, 15 January 2019


  1. TEXAG

    In only a few short years, the forces of the status quo have beaten back even the most minimal progress of a Board and Superintendent who wanted to be “innovative”.  It’s difficult when change requires going to battle with over a thousand publicly-funded staff members who are thoroughly vested in keeping things the same.

  2. Kevin Scheunemann

    20th Century education model?

    Public schools are that innovative?

    I view public school structure to be in the 19th Century model. (Minus the most valuable piece of 19th Century model: God.)

    Whenever government operates an industry, it brings innovation to a halt. We saw it with post office for 225 years.

  3. Mark Hoefert

    Wow, TEXAG, thanks for the reminder that the old regime had several ideas for charter schools that kind of fell off the radar. Some in response to families having Open Enrollment options. In some ways, have to wonder if the Pathways situation resulted from benign neglect or was set up for failure.  In the summary for the 2014 budget, one of the goals of the WBSD was to establish an elementary charter school.  Not to worry, Northern Ozaukee School District is establishing one right next door, at Riveredge Nature Center near Newburg. With Open Enrollment, there will be West Bend families that may find it a viable option.  Another concept introduced in early 2016 was the High School Institutes – was going to be a career focused program, in partnership with local employers.

    In 2015 there was a lot of chatter about West Bend being a loser on Open Enrollment and the old regime being to blame – WBSD had a net loss of 231 (difference between INs & OUTs).  In 2018 the net loss was 275.  A 19% increase.

  4. MHMaley

    Fiscal conservatives should applaud the charter school closing . It didn’t serve enough children and was getting increasingly expensive to run .

    Any religious school that preach worship one of the 10,000 Gods man has invented to explain what they couldn’t is using an 300- 2,000 year old model .

    What could possibly be innovative about that ?

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