On Wednesday, the Common Sense Citizens of Washington County hosted West Bend Superintendent Jennifer Wimmer. She spent almost two hours answering questions about everything from the district’s potential opening plan to social justice to curriculum to facilities to budget. She was impressive in how she handled some really tough questions. From my notes:
- The district is doing a survey about what people want for reopening. Since Kewaskum and Slinger have already done a survey, they don’t expect the results to be that different.
- The intent and hope is to open for full-time, in-person, instruction, but do a lot to mitigate disease spread and provide alternative options for people who are uncomfortable with in-person instruction. Interestingly, they are also talking to a district in Australia, that has been open for months, to see how they are doing it.
- When asked about the budget, she was pretty adamant that they had to work within the budget they had. She expressed some reluctance to ask the public for more money in he current economic climate. She also said that they are forecasting declining revenues for years to come and they would just have to work with it.
- She was asked about closing an elementary school and she thought that it would be necessary. She also mentioned moving the district offices into a school somewhere.
- Back to an opening plan, she was asked about whether teachers were afraid to go back to work and if that would prevent opening. She said, “fear is not a valid reason to not come to work.” Yes.
- She was also asked about her thoughts about Act 10. She is working on her doctorate and her area of study is superintending post Act 10.
Overall, I was favorably impressed. The West Bend School District may be on the upswing.