The next New Berlin Board of Education Meeting is on Monday, January 9 at New Berlin West. The Regular Meeting follows a 6:30 pm Closed Session.
The agenda of that Regular Meeting (Open Session) lists this item:
Approval of Closure of Glen Park Elementary School at the End of the Current School Year and Direct Management to Begin Planning for Elementary Boundary Changes Immediately.
If the School Board approves that, one could interpret it to mean:
- Redistricting (a.k.a. “boundary changes”) will be implemented and affect many students. Depending on the District’s decision, one or more of the remaining elementary schools Ronald Reagan, Poplar Creek, Elmwood, and/or Orchard Lane would have to absorb the additional students who would be coming from the Glen Park attendance area
- The “a referendum is unnecessary, we can fix our schools within the budget” rhetoric from “fiscal conservative” Board members John Burke, Matt Thomas, and Michael Gratz in 2000 was a bunch of hooey.
- The District’s motto “Expect Excellence” is a sham. Keep in mind that the District allowed Prospect Hill, its only Blue Ribbon-awarded elementary school to deteriorate, then closed it and tried to sell the property. And now it would do the same with Glen Park, one of District’s top performing schools.
- It would be the fourth neighborhood elementary school the District has closed in less than 10 years! Count them: Calhoun, New Berlin Center, Prospect Hill, and now Glen Park.
- Our “fiscal conservative” school boards have been closing & consolidating elementary schools and turning them into mega-schools--- declaring that action necessary “to save money” ---but had declined to do that with the two high schools.
- A policy of planned obsolescence. The District neglected some schools, such as Glen Park, by deferring maintenance and failing to renovate them. Now it balks at fixing Glen Park because of the expense! But it poured millions into updating Orchard Lane and New Berlin West, and to build an elementary school to immortalize Ronald Reagan, (incurring massive debt in the process).
- The efforts and expressed desires of Glen Park parents to keep their kids' school open and the research they said indicates that small neighborhood schools like Glen Park are better for students and the community, fell on deaf ears
- The Board would be relying on a report and recommendations of a Chicago-based consultant (IFF) that was based on or containing data that District Superintendent Joe Garza has already indicated is inaccurate, and which also seems to contradict what former Superintendent Paul Kreutzer had been saying.
- The “tools” Gov. Walker claims he gave Districts to help them balance their budgets (along with his hefty cuts to public education) doesn't enable the District to afford or properly care for all its existing facilities.
Update: Per the Jan. 10 Journal Sentinel:--- The board Monday night voted unanimously to close Glen Park, whose nearly 300 students will be parceled out to Orchard Lane, Elmwood and Ronald Reagan elementary schools this fall.
Correction: It should read Matt Thomas not Matt Weiss in the text above