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Superintendent, School Board fail taxpayers

Nov. 18, 2009

Public Forum:

Despite a severe recession in Wisconsin, our Brown Deer Village Board was able to hold the tax levy increase to 2 percent. The trustees worked long hours and attended community meetings.

I was surprised to hear Superintendent Deborah Kerr whine about the village terminating paying for crossing guards after Dec. 31. The police chief had sent a letter to Dr. Kerr in August and met with her in person to notify her. Due to the police union contract, the village manager and board needed the flexibility to negotiate so the part-time crossing guards will be off funded Dec. 31.

Despite the notification in August, Dr. Kerr failed to ask her School Board to factor in the crossing guard wages in the district's budget.

She also failed to factor in $20,000 to $30,000 in additional costs for 2010 for refuse and recycling services. The Village Board had notified her last summer of these costs, but once again, she and board President Dennis Griffin failed to budget these costs into the coming year's budget cycle. .

Due to darkness and driving issues, many seniors were unable to attend the October school district annual levy meeting. The vote to approve was 140-138. Had two more seniors come and cast "no" votes, the levy increase would have been defeated and a public discussion of lowering costs could have commenced.

Since the teacher contract is not settled, how can this School Board come to an annual meeting with set budget costs anyhow? Teacher salaries and benefits make up 60 percent of budget. Salaries and benefits of all personnel are 72 percent of the total budget. In the midst of a severe recession, why hasn't the teachers union settled?

Next year's annual meeting for the district should be held on a Saturday in October during reasonable daylight hours such as 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. By having the meeting during daylight, the many seniors on fixed incomes would not be disenfranchised from expressing their will.

Bruce Thomas

Brown Deer

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