West Bend School District Private Task Force Tours Schools

Interesting. From the Washington County Insider:

June 27, 2019 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend School District Private Task Force (WBSDTF)completed tours of Jackson Elementary and the West Bend High Schools.

The WBSDTF is a group of citizens privately formed and funded whose mission is to generate and communicate independent findings related to maintenance and capital projects at the facilities mentioned.  The task force was formed in the wake of a failed referendum in April of 2019.  The goal of the referendum was the construction of a new K-4 elementary school in Jackson and safety and infrastructure enhancements at the high schools.

WBDSPTF members include Kevin Steiner, Tim Schmidt, Kraig Sadownikow, Randy Stark, Ed Duquaine, Dan Garvey, Mike Chevalier, Owen Robinson, Chris Kleman, and Chris Schmidt.  Members were chosen based on their design, construction, facilities management and communication expertise.

“We felt our first priority was to gauge for ourselves the condition of the high schools and Jackson Elementary to gain a full understanding of the intent of the failed referendum,” said task force organizer and City of West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow.

“Maintenance and capital budgets for the District’s 1.2 million square feet of buildings has been a focus of discussions so far,” said task force member and former City of West Bend Alderman Ed Duquaine.  “We requested and were given past information related to pre-referendum work, the district’s 25-year plan and completed tours with the facilities director.”

To gain a full and complete understanding of the district’s physical condition, the task force is considering touring other facilities.  “We are looking forward to where the district can go in the future, rather than looking backward to debate where we’ve been,” said task force member Dan Garvey.

Zimmerman Architectural Studios has been retained by the task force.  Their firm, led by Dave Stroik, had mechanical and electrical engineers along for the tours.  “Our role is to help assess existing conditions and bring the expertise of how modern educational facilities should be designed,” said Stroik.

The task force expects to complete its work this summer and will present findings to the school board in October.

For additional information on the West Bend School District Private Task Force contact Kraig Sadownikow at www.teamacs.net.

Wait… what!?!? Oh yeah… yes, I am on the task force. The Mayor does a good job of explaining it, but allow me to elaborate a bit from my perspective.

I was pretty happy when the referendum failed. I truly thought that it was a waste of money that would not improve education and would hamstring the district with debt for decades to come. But I do acknowledge that the school district must maintain its facilities and that, from time to time, they will need to refurbished or rebuilt.

When I was invited to participate in this task force, I was skeptical. I was worried that it would be just a group of guys looking for another way to justify a referendum. But after more discussion and learning who else was on the task force, I thought it was worth the effort. The task force is comprised of a group of local leaders, several of whom have experience in facilities, who believe in having a great school system, but who have different perspectives on how to get there. Some of us opposed the referendum. Some of us supported it. We all want to have a great school district that provides a great education and is an asset to the community.

I’m thankful to Tim Schmidt (Delta Defense) and Kevin Steiner (West Bend Mutual) for putting up the money for the architectural firm. West Bend is blessed to have strong local business leaders who care about our community.

So we are giving it a try. I don’t know where it will lead. My experience so far has been very positive. Right now we are in data-gathering mode. We have met as a group and toured both Jackson Elementary and the High Schools – the subjects of the referendum. I toured both before the referendum too, but we were able to tour as a group, ask questions, and the district has been very helpful in providing documentation, plans, studies, etc. We are probably going to tour a few more buildings and meet several times over the summer to discuss the information we received, develop our findings, and prepare them for presentation to the School Board. At that point, who knows what the School Board will do with the findings. That’s up to them. I’m hopeful that we can help be part of a solution.