Letters-Does ends justify meansEarly in this special meeting of the school board on May 29, I urged the board to reject open enrollment applications for the elementary school level until such a time that space issues have been resolved
By: Jeanette Kunz, Hudson, Hudson Star-Observer
Early in this special meeting of the school board on May 29, I urged the board to reject open enrollment applications for the elementary school level until such a time that space issues have been resolved for the long term. The school board has the right to reject the applications based on building capacity, enrollment projections, student-teacher ratios, or other space considerations as outlined in Wisconsin statute 118 and, furthermore, this is outlined in their board policies.
Failing to reject those applications will only exacerbate the space issue and bottleneck at the middle school entry point, and, in my opinion is an irresponsible act on behalf of those students that reside in the district. Additionally, it begs the question, is this being done intentionally to meet the enrollment projections and hence justify another new school, all on the back of the taxpayers?
A heated discussion ensued among the board members. Gehrke and Bell vehemently objected to accepting these open enrollment applications for those reasons. Nancy Sweet argued that rejection of these application would create appeals by those families affected but could only recall a handful of appeals that have occurred in the past 10 years. Would it not be prudent to risk those statistics, reject them, and take the chance of dealing with a few appeals? Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten chimed in and demanded that accepting applications is how it has been done in the past and they are “within the legal bounds to accept these applications.” In almost an intimidating atmosphere, from my perspective, the board voted 4-3 to crowd the classrooms further for the young children of Hudson.
During the discussion on the extension of the St. Croix Meadows purchase agreement, Gehrke asked why the sellers would be willing to be so patient in this type of an extension. Kaisersatt accidentally made the argument that “no one else wants to buy it, so the sellers are willing to wait.” It is ironic that the argument can be made out of both sides of their mouths; before the vote there was “extreme urgency” to act on this property before another buyer came along. Large amounts of public funds were used to distribute brochures on the need to pass this referendum. Additionally, it was presented as a fantastic deal for $8+ million. Reality has set in; the sellers are now incredibly patient because no one else would want the property.
My take away from the meeting was: the leader of the pack is claiming the end justifies the means. Is this the type of leadership we want for the children of Hudson? Does the community at large understand what is taking place?