Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Another year. Another tax increase.

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a taste:

The 7.25% tax increase this year is on top of the 6.21% tax increase last year and the 7.15% tax increase the year before. Thanks to the power of compounding, that is a 22% tax increase in just three years.


They have to increase taxes to support the increase in spending. This year’s budget increases overall spending by 7.12%. The district will break the $100 million budget threshold with a whopping $103.4 million. The West Bend School Board is continuing to increase spending despite the fact that enrollment in the district is collapsing.


According to enrollment figures provided by the school district, there are 5,824 full time equivalent (FTE) students in the district this year. That is a decline of 560 students, or 8.8% in just three years and over a thousand in five years. In the same three years where the West Bend School Board increased taxes 22% (assuming they pass this year’s proposed tax increase), student enrollment has declined by 8.8%.




Have they lowered expenses in line with lower enrollment? Not at all. Did they scale back staffing? No. Staffing is down about 4% since 2017 despite enrollment being down 26% over the same period. The school board has also voted to give the entire bloated staff substantial pay increases.


Have they closed any school buildings that are well below capacity? No. The district has the same number of schools as they have for years. Have they closed the district office and moved into one of the schools to save money? Nope. Have they outsourced non-educational functions to save cost? No. The school board has just kept spending because nobody is standing up and telling them to do anything different.


0716, 05 October 2021


  1. Mark Hoefert

    Will wait until people have had the opportunity to view the whole column, in reference to the way the Board and Admin handle stakeholder communications. Will pull some receipts, unless I get distracted by something else.

    I get a laugh when a different columnist at the Daily News publishes his frequent “the future is so bright (re: West Bend School District) we need to wear sunglasses” columns because our current board is composed of “business people, by God!”. “Business Peoples!!, all of them!”. As if we never had business peoples on the board before, ever.

    This song plays in my head every time: Businessman drink my wine, come and take my herb

  2. dad29

    “Businessmen” who are–actually–looking for a resume decoration. They don’t give a flying damn what sexual perversions are taught, nor what Hegelian/Marxist rot is planted in those skulls full of mush. They can’t define “Western Civilization” to save their souls.

    But if they can cut $438.00 from the “miscellaneous expenses” entry, it’s VICTORY!!!

  3. MjM

    Mark sez: ” “Business Peoples!!, all of them!”


    And if said “Business Peoples” (a Certified Destinational Management Executive, no less) cost your county $500,000+/- 11 years ago due to utter incompetence, and quickly skedaddled to a new job instead of taking responsibility, what do you do? Why, you elect them to the school board when they come weaseling back after fleeing!

    Owen caught it back then:

  4. Merlin

    Da fug is a Certified Destinational Management Executive? A travel agent whose father owns the business?

  5. MjM

    And here’s another Business Peoples!! board member, Chris Zwygart, son of two former teachers, owner of Bay Marketforce in West Bend, and recently re-elected, speaking before the April election, March 26, 2021:

    Q: How might the district better allocate and manage funds?

    Zwygart: The budget has been balanced the last three years, we do have declining funding because of our declining enrollment so we’ve had to make some tough choices. We’ve cut some expenses out of the administrative area and administrative offices, we’ve tried not to have that impact our frontline teaching staff. We’ve prioritized frontline teaching in our budget, we’ve also prioritized offering the expanded curriculum that we have, and we’ve been having partnerships.

    [Note Mr. Zwygart’s the lack of mentioning any of the tax hikes]

    Q: What is the school district’s biggest concern at this moment?

    Zwygart: I think the biggest concern is the declining enrollment. We have 500 or so graduating seniors from East and West. This coming year you only have 384 in K-4 coming into the district. We know we’re going to be losing about 100 to 120 students just from the large high school later population of juniors and seniors. Why we need to solve this declining enrollment is for the amount of course offerings we have. All the AP offerings, career and technical education, and all the sports and clubs and activities, and just all the local schools in the area.

    In the meantime, hoping enrollment rebounds (it won’t), spend spend spend.

    The guy runs a marketing firm, ‘natch.

    Here’s Owen’s second oldie-but-goodie catch:

  6. MjM

    @ Wizard; “(CDME) is the tourism industry’s highest individual educational achievement.”

    IOW, a pricey industry certificate for learning how to get people to go somewhere. (Truth be told, Justman also has a master’s degree in business management from Cardinal Stritch. Wasted, obviously).

    OTOH, board member Tonnie Schmidt (BA in civil engineering) is co-founder of USCCA, or U.S. Concealed Carry Association, and Delta Defense in West Bend. Probably the only conservative left on the board.

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