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 (westbendcurrent.com/2020/03/31). 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