Boots & Sabers

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0836, 04 Apr 20

Vote for Jody Geenen for transparent School Board

Here’s a Letter to the Editor I received.

I believe the West Bend School Board needs a shake-up.  I believe the right person to do so is Jody Geenen.

A recent article in the West Bend Current, the high schools’ online newspaper, made me sure of this (  All candidates running for the School Board were interviewed, but the three incumbents (Justman, Ongert and Schmidt) reminded me once again how often they are misleading with facts, less than transparent, and far from conservative.

Mr. Ongert misleads when he states that the District has “far more AP classes and CTE classes than any other district around us.”  All one has to do is combine the number of students at our two high schools, and West Bend ends up as one of the largest high schools in the whole state.  No wonder our high schools offer more AP and CTE classes– or any other classes for that matter– than schools like Germantown, Slinger or Cedarburg!  How does the number of classes make our district any better?

Ms. Justman is less than transparent when she says the board is “working proactively” on building needs such as roofing repairs.  Roofing is always included in the District budget, and there is a schedule of repairs each summer.  She also says that “attractive and high-functioning schools” will make West Bend “the chosen destination for families to live,” and she is concerned about our community thriving and higher property values.  One would think she works for the Economic Development office of the city rather than serving on the School Board.  What about improving the education of our students?

Ms. Schmidt mentions learning but usually in the context of her own educational experiences.  Her plans for improving the District do not focus on curriculum or test scores.  She wants United Way to step in with their Inspire program (but doesn’t explain how that would improve student achievement), and she borrows a successful concept from Riveredge Nature Center.  Schmidt wants to establish a charter nature school like Riveredge in the District!  Perhaps more disturbing is her attack on former Superintendent Erik Olson.

Since being elected in 2017, the three incumbents have had plenty of time “to move our district forward,” as Ongert states in the Current piece.  Instead, test scores have fallen below neighboring districts, and the Wisconsin State Report Card scores show both East and West High Schools at the bottom of all conference schools.  The school board at great expense pursued a $74 million (including interest) referendum that was too much for this community on top of existing debt of $32 million from previous referendums.  They’ve allowed left-leaning curriculum and lesson plans to persist in the classrooms, even when a national spotlight was shined on the District.

Justman, Ongert, and Schmidt are out of touch with this community.  It’s time to vote for Jody Geenen to add a voice of reason to the School Board.  Jody will respectfully represent your tax dollars, and she’ll welcome input when working to improve student academics.  Because that’s what schools are all about:  learning, not shiny new buildings.  Cast only one vote for School Board; the right choice is Jody Geenen on April 7.

John & Carol Heger


0836, 04 April 2020


  1. Charlie Hillman

    Geenen, an anti-vaxxer running for School Board during a pandemic. Wow. You can’t make this stuff up. Being transparent, I’m sure you mentioned that, Right Owen?

  2. Owen

    My, all of the club got their talking points, eh?

  3. Owen

    Here’s the thing… yes, this was brought up in another post. While it is, perhaps, interesting, it is not relevant. The school board doesn’t pass vaccination laws. It’s like attacking her for her opinion on HGH or dairy. It doesn’t matter in the context of her serving on the school board. The school board does, however, vote on the taxing and spending policies of the district, curriculum, discipline, etc. That’s where I disagree with the incumbents and support the challenger.

    What you are engaging in is a not-so-subtle anti-religious smear. This happened before and the anti-Christian bigotry of the left in this town is becoming more and more brazen. I would hope that you would be above such tactics.

  4. Mar

    “Geenen, an anti-vaxxer running for School Board during a pandemic.”
    You mean they already discovered the vaccine for the Corona virus?

  5. MHMaley

    If she can’t win with 3 seats open , it would appear that the conservatives in WB have lost the ability to put even one candidate on the school board .

  6. Owen

    Nice to see you admit that we don’t have any on the board right now. I agree.

  7. Charlie Hillman

    The people have chosen wisely.

  8. Mark Hoefert

    The people have chosen wisely.

    Yes, the people have chosen to continue the further slide into mediocracy.

    Let’s look forward to more debacles like last night’s crap-show.

    Two agendas put up on Friday. 2nd version not noted as “amended”.

    Policy 171.1:  If it is necessary to amend any meeting notice that has already been issued, notice of the amendment(s) should normally be given in the same manner and within the same timing as the original notice, but at least in conformance with minimum applicable statutory requirements. It should state that it is an amended notice.

    Tried to sneak in a change in the public participation policy to restrict public participation comments to agenda only items while doing a Fast Track change in policy necessitated by the need to include virtual meetings.  Was pushback from the community, one Board member did not like the tone of that pushback, voted no. Motion  passed 6-1.

    Policy 151: Fast Track Adoption
    The Board Policy Committee may recommend Fast Track Adoption of policy changes when the changes are in formatting, grammar, or simple correction or textual updates that do not change the effect of the policy, as well as for policies requiring expedited adoption. The Board may approve these changes without additional change in its first reading with unanimous approval of the Board or move to extend consideration to the normal two or three reading process.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Speaking of mediocracy, did you see in Daily News the finalists for the Superintendent position?  One of the finalists superintends a district smaller equal to the enrollment at McLane School.  The other superintends a district smaller than each of the high schools.  I thought it was a stretch when the current one came from a 2800 enrollment school district.

    Well, I will let Owen do his takes on this.

    Onward!! Downward!




  9. Charlie Hillman

    So Mark, a Geenen supporter I take it. Wow,

  10. Mark Hoefert

    Yes Charlie, sometimes I vote contrarian. I abhor blocs. Like a former Board member that campaigned and won on a dislike of “rubber stamp” boards. I kind of thought Jody was on a fool’s errand, but actually she performed quite well – within striking distance of the 3rd place finisher.  Has to be hard running against 3 conjoined triplets.  I mean, you got a “3fer” going on – signs, interview with paper, etc.  Which head do you talk to?  Oh yeah, the one head who seemed to be doing all the talking.

    In the past I have voted for you, your son-in-law Ryan Gieryn (who was knocked off by the current bloc), Kris Beaver, Mark Maley, Karen Betz, Therese Sizer (my absolute favorite), and two of the current board members (their lack of independence has been a disappointment to me).  I voted for Randy Marquardt the last time he ran, based on the recommendation of two of the aforementioned who served with him. So, like it or not, you are in the same boat as Jody when it comes to my voting record.

    A little prediction – I think one of those three will not complete their term, allowing the current bloc to appoint one of their own as a replacement who can then run as an incumbent in 2023. I will screen cap this and save it for future reference. Not that I am always right on predictions, but when I am I like proof.

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