Monday, May 20, 2024

The Feckless Oconomowoc School Board Proceeds with Two Referendum Questions on Spring Ballot, Totalling $75 Million


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The sky is falling in Oconomowoc Public Schools and if they do not get more taxpayer money, kids will surely be learning by candlelight before too long. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE, or so the Oconomowoc School board apparently would like you to think.

In a major affront to the Oconomowoc taxpayers, the Oconomowoc School Board voted in favor of supporting two referendum questions to be added to the spring ballot, totaling a whopping $75 Million. Getting it on the ballot was the ‘hard’ part.

Make no mistake about it, this will likely pass in April, because who wants to be accused of not caring about kids? Hyperbole anyone?

This is because professional Referendum Hustler, School Perceptions conducted a survey, and not surprisingly, the results came back in support. Funny how that works, they probably have a 99% survey success record because of how they ask the questions. Here is a link to download the PDF of the manipulated SURVEY RESULTS

This does beg the question, how much taxpayer money was used to pay School Perceptions for conducting their ‘unbiased’ manipulative survey that was designed to get the desired result, and how much do they get if they pass? A question that has gone largely unanswered throughout referendums around the state.

A few weeks I wrote about how the board was ‘considering’ a $90 Million Referendum and was going to do the survey and hold a listening session. Clearly, there was pushback because now the total dropped. But in an effort to paint the false ‘perception’ (pun intended) of being a smaller amount, the propagandists split the $75 Million number into two smaller numbers and the board voted on both of them separately.

Here’s how the vote broke down.

The feckless Oconomowoc School Board voted 4-1 to place a $38.65 million referendum question on the ballot, asking for voters to approve a series of ‘facilities improvements’ at Oconomowoc High School and Ixonia Elementary schools. With the same 4-1 margin they voted to put a separate $36.8 million referendum question on the ballot, seeking authority to allocate the funds for a number of projects at Oconomowoc High School, including construction and renovation of art, music, and commons space.  

The four Board members who cast ‘YES’ votes were Neal Niemann, Sandy Schick, Jessica Karnowski, and James Wood. Board member Bill Thiel was the ONLY member with the courage to Dissent. Board members Jason Baumann and Matt Carrico were not present at the meeting for whatever reason. Were they afraid of being on record? Indications are they would have supported it, but we may never know. Shameful!

As I have written before, this comes just eight short years since the Oconomowoc School System’s last multi Million Dollar Referendum, and they are NOT done paying for that one yet. All this at a time when taxpayers are already saddled with runaway inflation on nearly everything. Taxpayers simply CANNOT BEAR MORE EXPENSE, but the Board simply does not care.

Why be responsible and maintain facilities and infrastructure when you can simply keep going back to the Taxpayer trough? This is to say nothing of the new fancy shiny things that do NOTHING to improve education.

What’s more, let’s not forget that the Board has done nearly nothing to cut costs so they could actually avoid picking the taxpayer’s pocket. Even now, they are still attempting to ‘sell’ the vacant Meadow View School building which seems to be deliberately priced way too high. By design?

Let’s not forget the ‘the caveat that it cannot be sold to another school as ‘deed restriction that restricts the property from being used as an educational institution or school for any portion of grades from 4-year-old kindergarten through grade 12.’ Really? In other words, to avoid competition. But I digress.

If the board is not showing fiscal responsibility with what it already has by cutting costs, why should the taxpayer give them more money to mismanage? The sale of that building could help eliminate most if not all of the ’emergency’ money needed.

What a sad tribute to tawdry self-indulgent times. Sigh!

What makes this worse, all but one of the seven board members are supposed to be Conservatives. Several of them ACTUALLY CAMPAIGNED ON NO REFERENDUMS, yet here we are. With Conservatives like this, who needs Liberals?

It’s long past time for the Oconomowoc area taxpayers to push back against the referendum hustlers and keep control of their hard-earned dollars.

Paris Procopis
If Paris is in a room filled with people, you will usually see him front and center talking and laughing with everyone. His effervescent, outgoing personality brings a refreshing change to the sometimes hostile political world. He takes advantage of his private sector relationship management and comedy improv experience to easily engage any size audience, from individuals to thousands. He has always had a passion for all things political and the world around us, and brings a unique and sometimes humorous, perspective. He has been involved in everything from working on individual campaigns to organizing large political rally's. While Paris is a solid Conservative, he takes the time to understand opposing viewpoints. He lives by the mantra, ‘Do not try to change the minds of others as someone else will easily change it back. Just simply state the facts and they may change their own mind, if that happens, you may have an ally for life.’

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