Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Here in Franklin it’s 2007 all over again. Once again the Franklin Public School administration wants to tap into your wallets big time via referendum. They’ve been plotting strategy since the end of 2009, trying to devise a scheme whereby you part with your hard-earned tax dollars in the name of new or upgraded facilities. The strategy includes partnering with what is regarded to be the most expensive architect in the state to produce and then sell an unnecessary proposal during what is the worst of economic times. Will Franklin voters vote to give themselves a huge property tax increase? Let’s examine some of the issues surrounding the school administration’s plot.
To get into your purse strings, they have tugged at your heartstrings. In other words, they hope to play on your emotions by claiming a recent rash of surveys mandates you help finance new construction. In other words, play the oldie but goodie, “It’s for the children.”
This website, FranklinNOW has served as a drum-beating cheerleader for the cause. Reporter Rick Romano blazed the trail with one story after another that rarely contained any quote from anyone who might remotely have an opposing view. That would be too much like journalism. Some of what Romano writes is ludicrously funny.
You could just sense Romano walking alongside Franklin High School Principal Mike Cady like a lapdog, soaking up every unchallenged quote like this one:
“This has been a district that has been well-managed financially.”
If by “well-managed financially” Cady means taxed to the max and then some each and every year, that would be true.
Superintendent Steve Patz told Romano, “We do know that our needs are mostly from the middle school level through the high school."
Scary. Why? I don’t trust most school officials to know the difference between “needs” and “wants.”
Architect Bob Vaigrt has also been quoted, saying, “The way we see it is that interest rates are really low, there may be favorable government financing programs available and a lot of companies in the construction industry are looking for work. With all of those factors, this may not necessarily be a bad time to do these projects."
Translation/spin: Do it now, Franklin, and do it fast before the costs go up.
using that logic, I should run out immediately and buy a $50,000 sports car and humongous plasma TV.
Of course, if you disagree, you are anti-child, anti-education, anti-Franklin, anti- America, anti-God.
It’s bad enough FranklinNOW published an incredibly one-sided puff piece. It then tried to reinforce the issue with pictures.
Check out this photo with the caption used by FranklinNOW:
I don’t know. See anything unusual there? Appears to be a typical high school hallway between classes. I didn't see a need to rush to referendum.
Fashion students begin rehearsal for a Nov. 10 fashion show in the
Utterly disgraceful. No space to prepare for fashion shows. How will these students ever recover from the shock.
The boys locker room is small and the storage areas are in poor condition at Franklin High School.
Excuse me, but could you tell me again how the football, baseball, and basketball teams have been doing the last several years?
Franklin High School's weight room shares space with an auxiliary gym and a second room with a wall removed.
See previous question.
Gail DeClark works with senior Nick Schott before the start of Television Production 2 class. Limited space for this class and others has forced the school to limit sections for a number of classes.
Television production class? When I went to high school we didn’t even have a TV in the whole building. What’s the problem here? Everyone seems to have a place to sit.
Hmmm. Maybe it's just me but I find it odd there's no mention or photo of concern about academics. Strange.
First came the surveys. What building improvements would you like to see in the
Now comes the hyperbole. If we don’t pass the referenda and make radical, expensive upgrades, students will go hungry, programs will be cut, the sports teams won’t win any games, morale and self-esteem will deteriorate, kids will stumble into each other in the hallways, and my personal favorite, another oldie but a goodie, we’ll have to put up trailers.
The out of control spin machine is using this key word as part of their argument in support of property tax increases (three referenda)...GROWTH.
"We have seen a growth in enrollment to where we are about at capacity and we have a number of needs.”
That gem comes from Franklin High Principal Michael Cady. Next, Superintendent Steve Patz.
"We have been experiencing a little bit of growth in
Growth. To the point that it warrants self-imposed tax increases, I’m sorry…referenda.
Really? So much growth
Here are enrollment figures from the Franklin Public School district's own website showing the growth in the
It appears the Franklin Public Schools intelligentsia, a la ostriches at the zoo, hasn’t learned their lesson from the previous 2007 referenda that bombed, despite every trick, legal or not, used by the school district. Both questions that year lost 60-40.
“Not to worry” is the mentality of the current Jesse James regime at FPS. We’ll get ‘em this time. We won’t fail like we did in the past. We messed up in 2007 because of “ineffective communications.”
In other words, they just didn’t spin those collossal referenda just right. Couldn’t fool those taxpayers that shouldn’t be as smart as they are.
The referenda cheerleaders think that by going back to the drawing board and doing a better job this time around, they can pull the wool over the taxpayers’ eyes because after all, Franklin taxpayers have historically just taken the over-taxation abuse over and over and over and over and over again. OK, so we messed up last time. If we dress this up with enough sob stories and ask for less, we can reel those suckers in.
As we all know, Franklin schools have failed miserably since the cataclysmic failure of the last referenda. Test scores have plummeted. The athletic teams are a joke. Buildings are literally crumbling. And trailers have had to be brought in to house students (Yes, that was sarcasm for thsoe that didn't notice).
Now if we only had done a better used car sales job, damn it, we could have won in 2007.
DID THEY REALLY WANT THREE REFERENDA?
Oh yes they dId, and they would have been wise to reconsider.
The Wisconsin Reporter writes in a piece about how the state budget saved local municipalities money as a result of the state budget proposed by Governor Walker and approved by legislative Republicans:
“Referendum is a tool in Act 10 (the state budget) that hasn’t received much attention. School boards are free under the law to take teacher salary increases to district voters, and let taxpayers make the final call.
But the odds of voter approval drop in tough economic times. And school referenda have fallen in recent years, said (Dale) Knapp, of the (
Asking for money to cover salaries and benefits, however, is a tough question, the researcher said.
‘Many in private sector, many in public sector, are getting by with minimal raises at best,’ he said. ‘To ask them to pay for higher salaries is probably going to be a real difficult sell’.”
The same could probably be said about “facilities.”
1) We don't have a referendum. We have referenda (3). The tax and spending Franklin School Board had the votes to approve the referenda. No surprise, somerschool board membrs that masqueraded as fiscal conservatives (Witkowski and Nielson) have turned out to be phonies. Happens all the time in Franklin politics.
2) The price tag , close to $50 million is not reasonable.
3) The school administration propaganda machine is spinning like Warner Brothers’ Tasmanian Devil.
4) It will all boil down to whether or not
5) The school administration is hoping you forgot the debacle of referenda questions in 2007.
Wants vs. needs.
You can't afford your own family needs, and yet, you're being asked to give more to a fiscally irresponsible school district?