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0724, 23 Sep 19

West Bend School District Annual Meeting Tonight

It’s tonight.

September 22, 2019 – West Bend, WI – The annual meeting of electors in the West Bend School District is Monday, September 23. The budget hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium and the annual meeting starts at 7 p.m.

Some of the information regarding the tax levy resolution for 2019-20 is posted below.

The annual meeting is the advisory meeting where citizens can vote on resolutions put forth by the board. The primary function is to vote on the tax levy, but as I said, it’s advisory. Based on information shared in the last school board meeting, it looks like the district saw a dramatic drop in enrollment:

“Last week, with a year ago – a week ago, it looks like we’re actually not just down about 75 to 100 students we’re actually down possibly 200 – 240 children,” said Andy Sarnow.

That obviously has an impact on state funding and the levy.

Thank goodness for the Washington County Insider for putting out this story. I consider myself pretty well-informed and this totally snuck up on me. The school district did the bare minimum in public notice for the meeting.

I don’t see a notice about the meeting on the district’s social media pages. It’s not in their events on Facebook. I get other email announcements about the district and I didn’t get anything on this. On the district’s website, there is no mention of the meeting on the District Calendar, or under “news and updates,” or under “public and annual notices,” or on the main page. The only place I found it was by clicking on “School Board” and looking at the meeting schedule.

I assume that the district put the legal notice in the newspaper, but with all of the available ways that the district has to reach out to the community, that is truly the bare minimum. Keep in mind that the district has a full time Communications Manager (PR person). This is the best they can do? One might think that they don’t want the citizens getting involved.




0724, 23 September 2019


  1. Mark Hoefert

    Yes, they have met the minimum legal requirement of notice.  Posted a Class 2 Notice in the newspaper of record (Daily News) – accessible to paid subscribers.  A Class 2 notice requires 2 publication dates in the 1-8 day window before the meeting.  There are postings on the District website, but you would have to know that they are there.  Very few citizens will bother to check the website on a daily basis to see if a new meeting has been added to the index. Notices are also posted at various locations – not sure how many citizens stop at the doors of public places like the Library or City Hall or WBSD office to look for that information.  If they are wedded to the horse & buggy era, perhaps they should also be posting the notices on tree trunks where township section lines intersect.

    The notice also indicates that the budget information is available for review at the district office.

    Under previous regimes, transparency and stakeholder relations meant mailing out an Annual Report and a postcard ahead of the meeting.  In this day of modern technology, it seemed like that would be an unnecessary expense  – post links to the information and make sure that the availability of that information is aggressively promoted in a way that aligns with the way citizens currently seek and obtain information in the digital age.


  2. Mark Hoefert

    Well, you must have caused someone to become “woke”.  About 3 hours later, the District did put up a “reminder” about the meeting tonight on Facebook.  Not exactly sure if it qualifies as a “reminder” – that implies that it is repeating something already known.  A current Board official and a former Board member have shared it to their community pages this afternoon, so I guess they can self-congratulate for their transparency, albeit rather last minute.

  3. Owen

    I did get an email today touting a cool relationship between the High Schools Chamber Orchestra and the Kettle Moraine Symphony. Perhaps they could have used this new-fangled email to notify the public.

  4. steveegg

    Gee, I wonder why the school board didn’t want too many people to find out they want a 9% tax levy increase.

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