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Taxpayers will be watching Nicolet School Board

April 13, 2011

Public Forum:

Before the Nicolet teachers union and School Board get over-confident with their referendum victory, there are five things they need to remember:

1. The School Board works for the students and the taxpayers - not the teachers. The teachers have their union to fight for them. The unfortunate fact that teachers union officials and School Board members celebrated together after the referendum shows who they really think they represent.

2. Nicolet teacher compensation needs to be brought in line with similar schools. Nicolet teachers are the highest compensated public school teachers in the state of Wisconsin. This results in two-thirds of the school budget being devoted to teacher compensation. It's time to put the taxpayers' money to work helping the students, not lining the teachers' pockets.

3. Nicolet students are not getting the best education for the money being spent. Nicolet student test scores are lower than comparable high schools such as Whitefish Bay and Shorewood, even though Nicolet's per-student expenditure (at $15,000 per student) and average teacher compensation (at $103,300) are significantly higher. It's time the School Board stop making excuses for ineffective teachers and administrators and start demanding better performance.

4. Forty-six percent of taxpayers are unhappy with the School Board's performance. For the $10.75 million we just gave you, we expect real changes, not more of the same irresponsible use of taxpayer money (like recently giving teachers a 2 percent pay increase retroactive to 2009 and promising them their salaries won't be touched in the upcoming contract, despite knowing you face a budget crisis).

5. Residents will be watching how much their Nicolet tax bill really goes up. The School Board originally said taxes would increase $130 on a $250,000 home ($.52 per $1,000). But that number inexplicably dropped to $68 ($.272 per $1,000) in the referendum propaganda. Were we misled?

No more excuses, School Board members. Taxpayers gave you their hard-earned money. Now show us results that justify our sacrifice.

Larry Booth

Fox Point

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