And Speaking of the Annual Meeting....

New Berlin Schools

The School District of New Berlin Budget Hearing/Annual Meeting was held on July 26, 2010 and it was a doozy.

After the Budget Hearing portion, School Board Vice President Dave Maxey nominated fellow board member Susan Manley to chair the Annual Meeting. District resident/parent Janie McGinty nominated Heather Warner.  The electorate voted.  Ms. Warner garnered more votes than Ms. Manley and was declared chairperson.

When the agenda topic  “Board of Education Salaries” came up, Dave Maxey quickly made a motion to keep board salaries the same. Board members Art Marquardt & Keith Hastings voiced their support. They don't want less pay than what they are currently getting.  How interesting, especially since school board members like to say they are in it for public service and not the income.

Actually, I consider it self-serving and tacky of our part-time school board members to cast votes at the Annual Meeting on the size of their own paychecks.  For school board officers to also tell us how much we should pay them/continue the status quo--- seems rather arrogant.  

Our supposedly “fiscal conservative” board leaders and/or administrators have contended that these are tough economic times. They’ve expressed reluctance to  “burden” the taxpayers , claimed to be “sensitive” about numerous citizens being unemployed or underemployed,  argued that the District and teachers union was in the negotiation process and teachers should make financial concessions,  issued a slew of layoff notices to staff members, and approved a tax levy increase for the electorate to consider at the Annual Meeting.   The Superintendent told the electorate:  Taxes going up and services going down. That's the challenge of our generation.

Uh, huh. But  note that our School District officials have not been suggesting/ advocating reducing THEIR OWN taxpayer-funded pay. 

By the way, according to DPI Web site,  the New Berlin Schools Superintendent receives a generous $166,089 salary and $34,660 in benefits  (that’s over $200,000) and the Assistant Superintendent gets $123,701 salary and $47,885 in benefits (which is more than $171,000).

The multiple references to the tough economic times, etc., led me to voice my opinion at the Annual Meeting that rather than push to keep their same salary, our current NB School Board members could have demonstrated leadership (The buck stops here) by supporting a board salary reduction.

The electorate voted on Maxey’s motion.  The result was 35-35.  Ms. Warner pointed out that she hadn’t voted and cast the tie-breaking vote. She voted against Maxey’s motion.  

Janie McGinty moved to reduce board salaries by 50%. That was quite steep and failed to pass.  

 A subsequent motion from another individual (I think he identified himself as Ron Retherford?) called for a 20% reduction in board salaries. It passed with 44 yes votes, a majority.

At the June 28, 2010 BOE meeting: 

Motion by Art Marquardt/Second by Dave Maxey to approve a 2010-11 preliminary budget of $87,987,429 and a property tax levy in the amount of $46,954,874 for consideration at the Annual Meeting. Voice vote 7-0. Motion carries unanimously.

The proposed budget and tax levy were presented to the electorate at the July 26, 2010 Budget Hearing/Annual Meeting. The recommended $46,954,874 tax levy for 2010-11 was 6.16% higher than the prior year. The electorate votes on the tax levy at the Annual Meeting.  At this year’s Annual Meeting, not a single board member expressed opposition to the tax levy $ amounts and tax increase.

 If I recall correctly, it was Board President John Kegel  who made the motion at the July 26, 2010 Annual Meeting   to adopt the tax levy in the amount of $46,954,874, including $495,000 for capital expansion, for the year 2010-11. The resolution passed narrowly 39-32.

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