Boots & Sabers

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0703, 04 Aug 23

Immoral people act immorally in all things

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week. As I expected, I’ve received several outrage emails (and a few in praise) since it ran by folks in West Bend. Not a single person on either side mentioned the outrageous spending from the district. That’s the apathy that allows the district to increase spending by 40% when they lost 10% of the students. And they will keep increasing spending unless the voters stop them.

The West Bend School District is in the news again for promoting adult material to minors, but that controversy, while important, ignores the elephant in the classroom. Let us first discuss books and appropriate material for minors.


The issue in West Bend is that the schools are making available to children several books that discuss, and often evangelize, complex, and often controversial, topics like transgenderism, sex, and sexual intercourse. The books often include graphic descriptions of sexual activity and drawings of the same. While nobody is arguing that such books should be banned, many community members think that such graphic and complex issues are not appropriate for children.


The boundaries of age appropriateness waver by culture and temperament, but we have long held that there is a progression by which people are educated on increasingly complex and graphic material as their minds develop. What is appropriate for a 6-year-old is not the same as for a 26-year-old as the 6-year-old’s knowledge and experience has not yet developed to understand and contextualize the same materials. Issues like transgenderism, sex, and sexual intercourse, or for that matter the invisible hand, natural rights, or Mao’s Cultural Revolution, are issues that require a more mature mind to understand.


In most contexts, adults allowing access to, much less showing, graphic sexual material to children would rightly be considered deviant or predatory — like a creepy guy showing porn to his 10-year-old neighbor. In West Bend, as in other communities, there is now a passionate group of adults who insist that access and advocacy of such materials for children in school is paramount and any opposition to such is akin to Goebbels burning books before the Berlin Opera House in 1933. Such bombastic parallelism is the mark of a soft mind and softer morals.


With a near infinite amount of material to make available to our children, our government schools are obligated to curate content to the values and customs of the majority of their constituents. San Francisco will have a different perspective than West Bend — or so one would think. With the availability of school choice, parents of any economic means can and should be diligent about putting their kids in environments where the other adults are teaching values contrary to their own. If the school will not support parents, then the parents are obligated to take action in the best interests of their children.


While sex and books attract the ire of the community in West Bend of late, left unremarked is how the school district continues to spend the community into oblivion with absolutely no restraint or respect for the taxpayers. Let us consider just four important numbers: 6,623. 5,972. $87.5 million. $108.7 million.


According to the West Bend School District, in 2018, the district had 6,623 students and spent a total of $87.58 million. In 2023, they had 5,972 students and budgeted spending a total of $108.7 million (final audited numbers of what they actually spent has not yet been published).


That is a 10% decrease in students; a 25% increase in total spending; and a whopping nearly 42% increase in spending per pupil in just five years. During the period of a 10% student decline, spending on staff and on facilities increased. There has been no perceptible effort to reduce spending in proportion to the reduction in the number of students they serve.


If we are to discuss the immorality permeating the West Bend School District, we must start with the gluttony, hubris, and malice towards the taxpayers that saturates their financials. It is no surprise that where immorality exists, we see it manifest in many ways. Furthermore, given the record increase in state school funding in the state budget, coupled with the state’s dramatic increase in the property tax levy limit, we can expect the school board to continually increase taxing and spending ad infinitum.


The West Bend School District is now spending over $18,200 per student per year with no signs of moderating. In return for that extravagant expense and largesse from the taxpayers, the community is insulted and ignored when asking for school employees to demonstrate some decency and respect for the age of the children and the values of their parents. It is detestable but will continue as long as the community tolerates it by electing School Board members who support it.


0703, 04 August 2023


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