AFE Events · District events · School Board Notes

District Annual Meeting Wed 9/6 7:00 pm

The Annual Meeting for the School District of Whitefish Bay is scheduled for Wednesday September 6 at 7:00 PM in the Auditorium of the High School.  This meeting is an important event for the district.  At the meeting the residents of Whitefish Bay who are in attendance have the responsibility of approving the proposed budget.  Attendance is highly recommended and the meeting is always kept short.

In addition, if you missed it the district has issued the following statement in October regarding the impact of the 2015-17 Biennial Budget on the Whitefish Bay School District it is still a good read.

Click here for additional information about the meeting agenda for Wednesday.

School Board Notes

School Board Notes – July 12, 2017


High School Graduation Requirements: The School Board discussed changing the graduation requirement to require 2 Cultural Arts credits. Cultural Arts would include music, art and foreign language. Most students already take a foreign language so this wouldn’t add anything to most student’s schedule. It is more about putting an emphasis on the arts, which is something the Whitefish Bay community believes in. Additionally, it was noted that the elimination of a required introductory art class increased participation in art classes.

Staffing Updates: Richards is expected to have 609 students (3rd grade will have 4 sections and junior kindergarten will have 3 which could increase to 4). Cumberland is expected to have 739 finalized until August. There were concerns expressed about class size due to the difference between the two schools’ student count. The administration stated that they watch this closely though it has been years since the dividing line between the two schools has been charged.

Post-Retirement Report: Current cost retirement benefits is 21 million with 2.6 million accrued (earned by employees). There is 19 million currently in the district’s trust. There will be a discussion about not putting additional money in the trust this year since the district is very close to fully funded. The district does not want to have the retirement overfunded since the money cannot be removed once put into the trust. Additionally, there is a new actuarial study being completed soon. The district’s rating has been increased to AA.

State Budget Update: It was noted that the aide projections are determined based upon made up numbers at this point. Other areas of the budget discussed were transportation and gun safety.

Changes in Policies for staff: Some minor changes were made to the staff’s conduct requirements. There were two sections with wording that concerned the board. Basically, they wanted to wait until the beginning of the school year to allow staff to provide comment before being adopted by the board.

Please note that these are unofficial school board meeting notes taken by an AFE board representative.  

School Board Notes

School Board Notes – June 28, 2017

Instruction Committee Meeting – called to order at 7:00

Sandy Saltzman, Anne Kearney, Pam Woodard, Kristin Bencik, Doug Armstrong

Maria Kucharski, John Thomsen, Stacy Gahan  – present

Kristin Yunker is out of town, W. Brett Christiansen is sick

Technology Plan– Maria introduced Dan (business side of technology) and Cassie (IT for teaching and learning) who went through a presentation of their process and timeline for achieving goals of:

  1. Providing the school community with reliable infrastructure and equitable access to technology resources and devices for teaching, learning, and productivity.
  2. Ensure that sound data governance policies and procedures are developed and implemented to ensure the privacy, safety, and security of confidential data sets.
  3. Define and integrate the Global, Media, and Digital Literacy competencies into the curriculum to ensure students develop the necessary competencies to be successful in our global society.
  4. Ensure teaching practices integrate the competencies and/or the seven thriving dispositions.
  5. Questions/Comments from Board:

Anne K: Brett (Board rep on the committee) had very positive feedback.

Anne K: Do we need to fast-track policies at the Board level to ensure privacy measures?

Cassie- not sure yet. Maria- speaking with others regarding info from DPI. If they came across something that needed to be prioritized she’d let them know.

Anne K: ask for information to be shared regarding the competencies/ thriving dispositions at future meetings.

Pam: Like seeing equitable access in Goal 1. Does that mean that every student has equal access to devices?

Dan: we are trying to get to that point. Cassie: We are trying to standardize the grade level classrooms. Maria: Different departments may have different needs. We want teachers to have technology available to prepare students for testing situations. Dan: working to standardize the set ups for each classroom so that teachers can move seamlessly between rooms.

Doug: appreciate the work, know this is a high priority. On equity issue do we need to think about what access kids have at home? Cassie: aware of situations where students (at high school) do check out devices from the library.

Question about internet service at home? We currently don’t have a way to check out wifi. Maria: colleague in a district where they check out sticks that go into TV to deliver internet. But they are not filtered.

Doug: How much of a threat is there to the security of the network/hacking?

Dan: Information is shared across districts regarding various threats and shut them down as quickly as possible. Always watching.

Shawn: Student information and district finances are not stored on the district network, they are web-based programs, so that information is not at risk.

District Standards Notification– required notice of Student Academic Standards to be approved in July. Statement available on board docs.

C3 Framework: College, Career & Civic Life for Social Studies Standards- Maria & Dr. John DeRose (HS social studies teacher)

  1. DeRose: Went through a preview of what the social studies standards will look like. Presenting the plan before doing all the work. Just a framework.
  2. Using Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Social Studies- very broad (for good and bad) and Common Core State Standards for Literacy in All Subjects- gives a general description of disciplinary reading/writing/speaking.
  3. Dimensions: Developing questions and plan inquiries; Applying disciplinary tools and concepts; Evaluation sources and using evidence; Communicating conclusions and taking informed action
  4. Inquiry-based, skills-based but not specific, content-based facts. No specific set of information that students will learn (ie states and capitals).
  5. Questions/Comments from Board:

Kristin B.: Concern about lack of knowledge base. There has to be certain historical things that need to be integrated.

John: sure. In the current plan there are not specific facts, but there are themes that are open for teaching/learning the specific details that are integral to the theme.

AP US history course intentionally designed to not focus on specific people/battles rather than risk leaving important pieces out.

Doug: They still have to pass the state civics test. (groans)

Anne K: Skill building focus rather than pure knowledge base. Concern about tolerance. Hope this is the place where students learn to be tolerant.

John: excellent point. That is my biggest problem with it. It is very intellectual model but lacking the compassion and teamwork components. Something we need to attend to.

Pam: What about service learning? Answers “what can we do in our own community?”

John: Yes, we already have a course in the high school that does this and kids appreciate it.

Personnel and Policy Committee Meeting

Board is consulting with the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) to improve language around district policies and procedures and insure that district policies comply with state and federal law in “waves”. Areas of focus will include:

School board legal status, vacancies on the school board, codifying current graduation policy, staff discipline, staff use of physical force, use of seclusion and physical restraint.

Finance Committee Meeting

Three years ago big changes were made to compensation practices. Last year there was a review of these changes. A market analysis for each position in the district was conducted. These reviews will be carried out on as needed going forward.  There will be a meeting with union representatives before September so that teacher contracts will be updated.

There is a current stalemate of the state budget. Still waiting on resolution from the state before projections for 2017-18 can be confirmed.

Buildings and Grounds Committee: Enhancing Culture of Safety

Stacey Gahan and Brian Chase presented an updated on what the district has been doing over the past school year to enhance the culture of safety:

  1. Student/ parent surveys
  2. PBIS
  3. Non Violent Crisis Response Training
  4. Physical Enhancements-PA Systems throughout have been installed throughout the buildings. Announcements can be made to the public areas outside.  FOB access to all buildings allows for tracking of who is in the building.
  5. Intruder Response TrainingOn June 12 representatives from all buildings participated in a district safety response training. Training was intended to understand different options about different responses to emergencies, outside of the standard lockdown procedures. Shifting from a “what if” to “what then” mindset. There is no single response to an emergency event.
  6. District is investigating visitor management systems. Need to have a balance of a welcoming environment and student safety. District is behind other districts in this area.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm.

School Board Notes

School Board Notes – June 14, 2017

Present: W Brett Christiansen, Sandy Saltzstein, Doug Armstrong, Pam Woodard, Kristin Bencik, Anne Kearney, John Thomsen, Shawn Yde, Maria Kucharski, Stacy Gahan.

Absent (excused) Kristin Yunker

The agenda with supporting documents can be found here.

Call to order at 7:00pm.

Board highlights:

An approved personnel report with news of retirement for Jim Loebl, Sharon Mergener, and Hannah Mwai, and the hires of Lisa Alsch, Sarah Tuttle and Sara Suesskind.

Board also approved:

  • Ch 220 Interdistrict Agreement
  • 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 Calendars found here: 2018-19 and 2019-20
  • Tentative 2017-18 Budget for Publication- Shawn Yde made clear that numbers might change once the state budget has been completed. Likely July.
  • The Education for Employment Report Including Academic Career Planning.Board
  • and authorized Administrator Contracts for 2017-19.  All current administrator contracts renewed. Board members expressed thanks to the administration team.

In the biennial budget update discussion, Shawn Yde reported:

  1. Senate prefers Governor’s proposed budget of $200 (year 1)/$204 (year 2)
  2. Assembly proposed $150/$200 and raising lowest funded districts revenue cap, added in funds for special circumstances such as consolidation in union districts. Increase to the open enrollment per pupil amount from $6748 to Independent charters to $8,800. Special needs scholarship program for open enrollment change $12000/pupil to actual full cost for each and every individual student. Remove some of the caps in charters. Assembly proposal also withdrew the contingency of 12% health care paid by teachers.
  3. Governor has indicated he will not approve a tax increase.

Meeting Adjourned 7:54

A full transcript of AFE board member’s reports may be found here.

School Board Notes

School Board Notes – May 24, 2017

7:00pm Room 47, WFBHS

School Board members present:
John Thomsen, Anne Kearney, Kristin Yunker, Doug Armstrong, Pam Woodard, Kristin Bencik- Bourdreau, W Brett Christiansen, Sandy Saltzstein

Others Present: Shawn Yde, Stacy Gahan, Maria Kucharski, Brian Chase, Jennifer Dragseth & Anne Perina


1. Update of 220 agreement. Significant change is that the agreement now provides schools the right to deny a student, if MPS will not pay for the additional cost of a student who qualifies for an IEP. This would be a cost for services that are in excess. It doesn’t mean WFB would choose to send them back to their resident district but that WFB has that option.

2. Buildings and grounds update.  Click here for slide presentation.  B&G is responsible for 660,000 sq ft building floor space & 40 acres of grounds. Brian Chase is very happy with his team and the numerous projects they have completed this year and has a decent list of projects they are currently working on and will complete in the next year.

3. Budget update from Shawn Yde.   Click here for school board list of budget concerns.  An update on the budget was given by Shawn Yde which showed a balanced budget. After a long discussion, it was reiterated that he had to make a ton of assumptions as there’s nothing final at this time. Shawn made conservative estimates within his budget and nothing can be finalized while we wait for legislature to make some decisions and enrollment numbers to make significant determinations.

4. Calendar committee update on significant changes.  Click here for slide presentation.

  • consistent calendar for K-12 so families with students in multiple buildings follow the same schedule
  • move elementary schools to semesters
  • Spring conferences in which scheduled time would be initiated by either parent or teacher, but not required.

Please note that these are unofficial school board meeting notes taken by an AFE board representative.  For full transcript of notes, click here.

School Board Notes

School Board Meeting Notes – May 10, 2017

High School Room 47

School board was in closed session until just after 7:00 pm and doors were opened around 7:02 pm.

  1. Opening of Meeting
    • Call to Order, Roll Call. 7:03 p.m. All Board members present along with District representatives: Dr. John Thomsen, Mr. Shawn Yde, Ms. Maria Kurkowski.
    • Statement of Meeting Notice verified.
    • Motion to amend the posted agenda to move item 3 of the agenda (GOOD NEWS) to item 2 of the agenda, and move item 2 (PUBLIC COMMENT or PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON AGENDA ITEMS) to item 3, as GOOD NEWS involves several High School students, and want to support them leaving earliest.  Motion seconded, and passed unanimously.
    • Motion to approve the amended agenda made, seconded and passed unanimously.
    • Recognition of student displayed artwork selected from Ms. Van Hyle’s classes at both Richards and Cumberland.
    • MAPS student team (Evan Davis, Mohammad Shaheer, Austin Gent, Stephen Koch, Andrew Janssen, and Luke Dragseth) presentation, along with their instructor Ms. Krukar.  These students presented a research project on opioid addiction and a new painkiller that is being tested that treats pain like opioids without the addictive effects. This project involved collaboration with both Concordia University and use of some MSOE resources. The students presented their research and findings and fielded questions from the board.
    • One resident, a Richards parent, made statements in opposition to issuing final non-renewals, with concerns about class size and its short and long term impacts.  Resident was asked at 5 minutes to stop speaking.  (No other public comment given- though this note taker was told by others it was closed by Board President Kearney before they had a chance to come forward.)
    • Consent Agenda Approval – Motion to approve, unanimous approval
    • Approval of 4/5/17 Closed Session Minutes – Motion to approve, unanimous approval
    • Approval of 4/5/17 Regular Business Meeting Minutes – Motion to approve, unanimous approval
    • Approval of 4/26/17 Organizational Meeting Minutes – Motion to approve, unanimous approval
    • Approval of Treasurer’s Report 2017.05.10 – Motion to approve, unanimous approval
    • Appointment of Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) Delegates – Motion to approve Sandy Saltzstein appointment, unanimous approval
    • Appointment of Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) Delegate -Motion to approve W. Brett Christiansen appointment, unanimous approval
    • Approve the lease of classrooms at Lydell to Milestones Programs for Children
      • Discussion by District Business Admin Shawn Yde- same lease as for many past years, modified only to give the district ability to terminate the lease with 4 months’ notice to Milestones, which would allow district ability to use space without having to give more notice if need arose. – Motion to approve, unanimously approved.
    • Approval of personnel report 2017.05.10.  Credentials of all incoming personnel and their qualifications and background read.  Motion to approve, unanimous approval.
    • Approval of 2017-18 employee handbook revisions.
      • Proposed changes that were discussed at length at 4/26/17 meeting were summarized. – Motion to approve, unanimous approval
    • Approve Final Notices of Non-Renewal for instructional employees
      • Comments given by Dr. Thomsen: class size still important value to District. Have only gone to class size of 26 six times in last 23 years. Feedback from parents with concerns was heard and appreciated. District process is careful and deliberate to be able to have flexibility with staffing later rather than having staff a school does not need.
      • Comments from Mr. Yde on the amount of state aid we are going to get- still don’t know the amount. Governor Walker’s budget calls for $200 per pupil aid, WFB budgeted for $125. If we get $200 will be in better shape, but even $125 not guaranteed. Mr. Yde also stated that the idea parents have that “sectioning” for next year is done right now is wrong, they make those decisions much closer to the start of the school year.
      • Majority of board members spoke up and voiced their thoughts.  Most of them echoed that this was a hard decision, but the one they felt was the most necessary from a financial standpoint.
      • (Kristin Yunker) The Board is responsible to answer to the entire community not just the families at one school and the needs at an elementary school are no more important than the needs at say a middle school.  She also stated (in reference to a group of 5 high school students who presented the MAPS study) these kids were in classrooms that sometimes approached 25 and they turned out great. She lastly stated she sees the staffing process as trying to set a family budget without knowing how much money is available and how many mouths she needs to feed so she is going to be very conservative in pledging any money until she knows more.
      • (Dr. Kristin Bencik-Bourdeau) She has kids at Richards and thus knows how hard it is to make these cuts and if there was anything else that could be done she would vote in favor of that but there just isn’t
      • (Doug Armstrong) The Board has taken a lot of time advocating to our local legislators (Jim Ott and Alberta Darling) about a) how important state funding is to our schools and how much we need this funding and b) how the process of having to make staffing choices now (by state mandate) months before the state budget and then months later word of the state aid comes out is a backwards and frustrating process and that he’s advocating for change in that.  Mr. Armstrong also cited a number of documents the board has put together on these topics and recommends concerned parents read these pieces and contact our legislators on these topics. These documents are on the board docs- 10.19.16 State Budget; advocacy letter to local representatives and health insurance premium funding letter to local elected officials.
      • (Anne Kearney) The enrollment numbers are just not there to not make this choice and that given the uncertainty of the budget and limited resources there is no other choice.  This is not a new process, it happens all of the time that staffing changes at schools and she feels glad that we are not like other districts that are losing 25 or more teachers because they were not fiscally conservative in their budgeting. She feels our system and class sizes work and that while maybe the board should look at changing some of the process and start looking at handling enrollment shifts better, the tradition of going up to 25 students per class is a proven, sustainable and fiscally conservative approach that works for our district. Ms. Kearney also pointed out that she heard a lot from families about the troubles that one grade at Richards this year particularly faced (2nd) and that the District’s focus plan is an inclusive program and the special needs kids deserve and are getting the attention they need and the challenges that creates for other children in that grade are good life lessons that they will have to face in the real world.
      • Motion to approve non-renewal made and unanimous approval.
    • Approve the 2017-18 Staffing FTE and Approve the Corresponding Instructional Employee Contracts
      • Discussion was that this was covered in prior discussion. – Motion to approve, unanimous approval
  6. Information Reports – The 17-18 State Biennial Budget Update
    • Mr. Yde gave update on process, referenced earlier comments. May 22 Joint Finance Committee will look at Transportation and Education items in budget, so that is deadline for meaningful advocacy to elected representatives. Senator Darling Chairs the Joint Finance Committee.
    • District Supervisor Dr. Thomsen echoed call to action that concerned parents advocate to elected officials for educational funding.
    • Discussion on what is appropriate for board members when it comes to advocating for the district and expressing personal opinions.  The consensus was that as citizens they have a right to express their opinions but they should be careful to preface any remarks as being their own and not the opinion of the board.
    • Discussion about the actual impact to the budget the district will see if the additional funding of $200 per pupil currently proposed by Governor Walker.  It was restated several times that this increase would only allow the district to stay close to status quo.  It was also re-stated that there are districts that have much larger anticipated lay-offs right now.  $200 per pupil is not a windfall.   Shawn Yde stated everyone is waiting to see where the state budget goes. There is a lot of uncertainty, but he guarantees he will do the best he can to try to make it all work.
  7. Recreation Department Report
    • Brett Christiansen will be serving as the advisory board representative, replacing Anne Kearney
    • Every school in the area has representation on the board, including St. Monica and Holy Family.
    • K-Camp (for kindergarten students) has been doubled from last year. The spots filled in an hour last year so they saw a big demand.
    • They are continuing their counselors in training program for HS students. It is in its 3rd year and a big success.  They hope to fill 35 positions this year.
    • There will be staff training soon for inclusion practices, first aid and team building
    • Registration opened 4/3 and already 1500 families have registered for summer programs.
    • Pre-school registration for 2017/18 has begun and the early bird incentives end on 6/30.
  8. Invitation for public comments – none
  9. Calendar Committee Report
    • There will be a report next time, Jennifer Dragseth has agreed to continue to represent the board until it is brought to conclusion.

Motion to adjourn. 8:42 pm.

Please note that these are unofficial school board meeting notes taken by an AFE board representative.  For full transcript of notes, click here.


AFE Board Discussions

School Board Response to Richards Community

May 5, 2017
Dear Community Members,

Board President Anne Kearney, Director of Business Services Shawn Yde and myself, John Thomsen, District Administrator, have compiled a collective response to your questions, to the extent that the questions can be answered at this time. There are two narrative portions that provide a majority of the information requested.

You will see some enrollment data included, but please know that our enrollments ebb and flow on a daily basis. The final sectioning (class sizes) are determined once we get closer to the end of summer. With respect to sectioning, in our review of recent elementary class size the District has not run classes over 26 students. The typical range is 21-25 students. No one is recommending we deviate from that practice. Also know that attempts are made to balance classes and to support students and teachers through additional support staff when appropriate.

Part One – Board Strategic Response

We appreciate your investment in your children’s education and in the Whitefish Bay schools. You should know that the district administration and the School Board are guided in their decision- making by The District Focus Plan that calls for “student-centered” “educational excellence” for all students in our district. This means, of course, that we look for excellence, equity, and a whole-child environment in all our schools.

You mention the May 10th deadline in your letter as a final decision point. Please know that May 10th is not the final staffing determination point. Although a staffing plan is likely to be approved on that date, the staffing plan is often modified in mid to late summer based upon updated enrollment counts. If the class size grows too large, we can add an extra teacher after that date; however state law mandates that we cannot take a teacher away after May 10.

There appears to be some confusion about elementary class sizes in the past and we would like to clear up any misunderstanding. The administration and School Board value small class sizes as is shown by past data. For instance, class sizes have historically ranged from 21-25 students in grades K4 through 5 at both Richards and Cumberland. Periodically, a section may run slightly below or slightly above those numbers. At this point in time, we do not anticipate a change in our practice and the administration will be working literally up to the first day of school, if necessary, to adjust sectioning to achieve balanced class sizes.

It is possible that you see the balancing work being done at the administrative level and the board level as a “fix.” However, we see this work as maintaining the delicate balance that state revenue caps (keeping taxes in line), current state funding, a desire for robust and equitable educational experiences for children, as well as a sustainable compensation model for our staff, all require.

Most of your questions inquire about class size. Those questions are best answered by reference to the District Class Size Policy, 343.2, which states as follows: “It is the intent of the School Board to establish the ratio of students to teachers at such a level as to reflect the educational needs of children and also the availability of community resources.” Unfortunately, your questions requesting detailed information about enrollment data and sectioning cannot be answered at this time because they are premature.

Having said this, we do know that the total number of students at Richards for 2017-2018 currently stands at 605 students. This compares to 663 students with 28 full time sections in 2016-2017; 696 students in 2015-2016 with 29.5 full time sections; 699 students with 31 full time sections in 2014- 2015; and 722 students with 32 full time sections in 2013-2014. We look at enrollment over a 3-year period and make projections using a well-regarded software program. However, these are only projections and must await the reality of the number of children that are sent to district schools.

Finally, you discuss communication and collaboration. We are happy that we have had this opportunity to communicate with you as a follow up to the lengthy discussion at the school board meeting on April 26, 2017. To the extent that you have additional direct questions, we will do our best to answer them. As for collaboration, we welcome collaboration with parents. In the past, parents have been generous in supporting our schools by referenda, by renovating our sports fields, by supporting the arts, by providing classroom equipment, by raising funds for extracurricular groups, as well as by volunteering in schools. The quality of our District would not be the same if not for the incredible support and passion of our parents, which is shown in your outreach on this issue.

Hopefully, you saw at the school board meeting that the members of the administration and Board care deeply about our students, staff, and schools. The Board and administration will continue to work diligently to maintain the level of excellence that is expected in Whitefish Bay. We have attempted to answer your short-term inquiries, but some of your questions require a long-term strategic process as long-term interests are at stake. We look forward to a continuing conversation.

Part Two – Administration Staffing Process Overview

The purpose of this brief staffing update is to provide data and some analysis of enrollment projections and how the information is used in the budget development process.

Background: The District starts its budget development by doing enrollment projections in October. The projections (provided to the Board in Oct.) are refined in the early spring when each of the buildings goes through its early registration process. Those updated spring projections become the basis for contract renewals or non-renewals that by statute must be issued preliminarily in April and then the required final notices must be issued in May. Once contracts are issued the district is unable to reduce the full-time instructional staff.

Please realize this State imposed deadline does not stop the enrollment review process. The D istrict approves a projected staffing FTE (Full Time Equivalency) report which becomes the basis for the District’s budget development process in early May, but the District enrolls students from early May until the start of the school year. The estimates that were based on the early registration are monitored right up to the start of the school year. We have had enrollment increases or decreases prior to the start of school. We have hired additional teaching staff right up to the first day of school. The May deadline (contract issuance) establishes the floor for staffing; although not ideal for multiple reasons, the District is still able to add staff, during the summer, if deemed necessary.

Class Size History: We have reviewed Whitefish Bay’s class size numbers for the majority of the last 23 years. At the Elementary level our class sizes have been between a low of 17 students and high of 26 students. A class size of 17 students occurred once and a class size of 26 students occurred 6 times. Certainly those class sizes are outliers. A review of the data indicates that our class sizes are normally somewhere between 21-25 students per class at the elementary level. In fact, we have classes of 25 students at Cumberland in both second and third grade this current year. Also know that attempts are made to balance classes and support students and teachers though additional support staff when appropriate.

A more recent factor related to enrollment is the discontinuation of the Chapter 220 program. As we lose approximately 20 students per year because of the sunsetting of this program, we will likely see a decrease in enrollment.

Budget Implications: As described earlier, we start the budget process using enrollment projections to develop budget estimates. These projections indicated an increase of 25 students, which has been used for the estimated revenue cap projections. Based on registrations and current projections, the enrollment looks as though it will decrease by 26 students. This would result in the District’s revenue limit estimate being 51 students lower than estimated in the three-year enrollment average through the State’s revenue limit calculations. The state revenue limit formula provides Whitefish Bay with $11,239 per pupil and the District would lose the ability to generate revenue associated with the loss of students (the ability to tax for that money). In other words, our revenue limit would be reduced by an additional $191,073 in 2017-18. If the District were to add staff beyond the amount currently budgeted it would need to increase expenditures to do so. A full-time instructional staff member is in the range of $78,000 with family benefits.

Longer Term Effects: The fiscal impact would not just be felt during the 2017-18 budget. In 2018-19 the District’s revenue cap would be reduced by 34 students (revenue cap loss of $382,146) and the full impact is realized in the third year when the District finally would feel the impact of the full loss associated with a loss of 51 students ($573,220).

Effectively managing enrollment and staffing is vital to Whitefish Bay’s efforts to provide quality education. The District will quickly slide into financial distress by not staffing appropriately, yet could diminish educational quality if it understaffs. Class size has been an ongoing priority for the District. Our comprehensive enrollment predictions and budgeting process (which delays some final staffing decisions until August) have been successful over the years in maintaining favorable class sizes, at all four schools, while planning a fiscally responsible budget.

Part Three – Questions Addressed

  1. What is the current projected 2017-2018 enrollment, by grade based on most current data? E.g. where are we seeing the distribution of non-returning students by grade?See chart in question 2.
  2. What is the current K4 enrollment data (if not included in the above response)?
















































  1. Based upon the most current registration/enrollment data (“current data,”) what grades will see teacher elimination?This is yet to be determined. We are monitoring all grade levels and will make these determinations at a later date.
  2. Based upon current data, are losses of sections the only option to absorb the loss of these teaching positions?That is how it has been historically done in the past due to the fiscal impact. This is described in more detail in the narratives. Other considerations would require a longer term strategic look by the School Board.
  3. If not, what alternatives are being considered? Have multi-age classrooms, redistricting, or a temporary pause on non-essential electives been considered?Multi-age classrooms were considered by the Board years ago and were not pursued. Non- essential electives might mean different things to different people, but in the Board’s view electives are not expendable. Our desire is to maintain a high quality comprehensive program that addresses the whole child and all aspects of the Focus Plan.
  4. Could the increase in teachers to the other schools be temporarily postponed instead of the loss of the teachers at Richards?The increase in staffing at other schools is directly related to current specific course enrollment. These positions require specific teacher certifications, desired prior experience(s), and specific teacher skill sets. Postponing or reassigning teachers to different levels would not align with state statue (certification) or the strategic needs of the District.
  5. What type of enrollment numbers would be required to reinstate these positions? E.g. if there were 25 new registrants before May 10th, would that be enough, or what numbers do we need?Our enrollments ebb and flow on a daily basis. In our review of recent elementary class size the District has not run classes over 26 students. The typical range is 21-25 students. No one is recommending we deviate from that practice. The final sectioning (class sizes) are determined once we get closer to the end of summer.
  6. What is the number of students per section the District/School Board is comfortable allowing, per grade?This is covered in the narrative and the answer above.
  7. What information is being used to make determinations on optimal class sizes per grade?

We have maintained our current class size practice as we value small class sizes. The Board has engaged in public school advocacy addressing the funding of schools in a manner that allow these practices to continue.

  1. Are you willing to collaborate with parents to get creative on how to not eliminate these positions and meet budget challenges?We are always willing and eager to collaborate. We work through a lengthy budget development process to ensure our resources align with our goals and priorities. Class size has always been a priority in the budget process.
  2. Does the District intend to communicate with the impacted families the approximate class sizes they will be facing in the fall? If so, when? How often will it be updated? How will this be communicated?Final determination on sectioning/class sizes is determined later in the summer and in some cases adjustments are made days before school begins. Since this is a very fluid process, communicating before final enrollments are known makes that process very difficult.
  3. If the District does not intend to communicate prospective class size increases in advance of the school year, they will likely be faced with additional families leaving the District; has the District/Board considered the long term effects of the loss of these families to the District?We anticipate the Board having a larger strategic discussion on the budget process, enrollment, sectioning, fiscal resources, priorities and overall sustainability. Our goal is to remain a District of Destination for families and employees.
  4. Has the District/Board taken into consideration that enrollment and class sizes fluctuate significantly year by year and a one-year “fix” may result in much longer term impacts- loss of families, quality teachers, reputation, etc?See above response
  5. What is the District/Board doing to better anticipate these changes in enrollment?Our enrollment trends are being further studied so we gain a better insight on future projections and the “why” behind the apparent dip in student enrollments at Richards.
  6. Are the cause(s) for the declining enrollment at Richards being tracked and if so, what are they?Our initial look reveals that most families have relocated to another community and are sending their children to those public schools. We will know more once we complete a more detailed analysis.


John W. Thomsen, District Administrator

Anne Berleman Kearney, School Board President