School Facilities Spending Approved, But Leaves Big Needs at Elementary Schools Off the List

Muskego school board narrowly passes recommendation to spend nearly $2.6 million to fix what's ailing throughout school buildings, with some notable exclusions.

The failure of the November 2010 and which would have approved borrowing up to $30 million to update existing and builld new school facilities, meant that the Muskego-Norways school board had to go back to the drawing board.

Monday night, after several rounds of discussion the school board decided to spend $814,000 from their budget and $1.78 million of their fund balance to get started on the long 'punch list' that the schools have presented.

Among the items that will be repaired or replaced are roof sections on the and all but one school (Lakeview Elementary). The expenditure takes up the vast majority of the total, at nearly $1.2 million. Other projects will include classroom floor replacement at , Elementary School and .

The vote however was close at 4-3, and reflected debate held prior to the vote. Some members felt the elementary schools should have received a larger share of this initial spending, as they were the reason for the referendum in the first place.

"I think the focus should be on our elementary schools," said treasurer Dean Strom. "The referendum didn't pass, and I'd rather see the $680,000 for the roof at removed from this list."

Of the $2.59 million spending package, only 20 percent will be spent at elementary schools. However, board president Jim Schaefer reminded the board that the reigning philosophy was to remove expenses related to the aging HVAC systems, some of which are more than 50 years old, at the elementary schools, hinting that the return on investment wouldn't be worth it.

"We looked at removing the costs for the boilers because we were going to try and stretch their lifespan, and perhaps when it would be time to have to replace them, there wouldn't be a need to," he said. His comment indicated that the district would try again in the future to propose new building.

A memo from Scot Ecker, Director of Business for the district, also mentioned that "using $8.6 million (the projected expense to cover all repairs) of fund balance to support our most aging schools would not likely be viewed as good fiscal stewards."

Ecker also said the HVAC systems at Tess Corners, Muskego and Lakeview Elementary have exceeded their lifespan, and replacing them should not be an option until they fail. Should that occur, Ecker said the district should form a contingency plan "should we ever have to temporarily close any of these schools due to system failure in heating season."

Superintendent Joe Schroeder interjected that there could be unlimited discussion of what should go on the list and what should be taken off. However he reminded the board they had asked Gary Rosploch, building and grounds supervisor to come up with the list because of the trust they had in him, and his knowledge of the facilities.

The split vote left the original proposal intact. The repairs will take place during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 budget years.

Rick Petfalski March 23, 2012 at 05:45 PM
"Isn't Muskego El talked about as a candidate for historical site designation? I've heard that somewhere." That would be a VERY BAD thing for the taxpayers.
Brett Hyde March 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM
My understanding is that because of impact that the Janesville Road project will have on the buildings along the construction site, many building were looked at for any possibility of an historical designation. Muskego El, despite it's age, did not fall under the criteria the study was looking for.
Bryan K. March 25, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Mr. Petfalski, What was said by the talk show host on Thursday was completely wrong and one-sided about the English assignment. As a student of MHS who took that class last year, the real assignment was to watch "Sicko" after we discussed logical fallacies in class. Then, we had to list logical fallacies that were in the movie (in which there were many), NOT write a general summary of the movie. The movie does lean to the left, but if parents and the host think that we should not be exposed to all viewpoints, they are living in a fantasy world. The teacher told us to watch the film with an open mind. Also, what is the big deal if teachers at my school signed the recall petitions? Why should they be criticized? This teacher taught me so much in that English class last year. I completely improved my writing style, and because of the knowledge I gained from her last year, it helped with an essay that helped me win a major scholarship. I would back this teacher 100%. I don't understand why parents would go directly to a talk show host that they have never met in their lives before. He has no control over our school district. It baffles me why these parents did not talk to MHS administration and you and the school board.
Bryan K. March 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM
When will people give it up about the TVs? I mean, that was already 7 years ago! I have a feeling that this is what was going through the minds of the people who were purchasing them: In 2005, plasma TVs were the next big thing, and tube TVs were on their way out. Why would they purchase tube TVs that are bulky, small, and would be out of date right away? This is most likely why the flat screens were purchased instead. If they were to be purchased again today, that cost would have been maybe a little over $5000. So what are the TVs used for? Well, they are used daily for our announcements. They are also used whenever there is not enough seating in the gym for events, like graduation. There is a camera in the gym that can be viewed through the TVs. Maybe if we wouldn't have skimped out on the gym costs, then maybe we could have had a gym with bleachers that can pull out all the way for a basketball game (I'm surprised no one talks about this fault of the addition anymore). In the end, it's ridiculous for Muskego citizens to hold a 7 year long grudge on MNSD. How much longer will the grudge last? 10 years? 20 years? It will take a bad event to happen to the schools (like a boiler failing and the school closing) for the community to realize that our schools are outdated and inadequate for our students.
Christine Webb April 01, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Considering at Muskego Elem, you can hear the kids tip toe on the second floor when on the first floor, don't you think that is the school that should be on the minds of the school board?? It has 6-7 levels in that school! Maybe the building can be replaced, but keep some of the "historical" items in the design. They did that when my old high school, when they tore it down to add to the "newer' part.


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