But it’s what Trustee David Glasgow said just before the vote that caught some of his colleagues off guard.
“We’ve been getting regular status updates from Mark Fitzgerald about the delays and worker shortages,” Glasgow said in comments addressed to the developer during the meeting.
His fellow trustee, Katie Kress, said she does not recall any updates given to the board about project delays.
“I was surprised,” she said. “I don’t believe that is an honest statement.”
Walz also says no updates were given to the board.
“I don’t ever recall getting an update on these delays that were happening,.”
But in an interview with FOX6 Investigators, Glasgow doubled down on that claim.
“All seven of us have known for quite some time – we’re talking 6,7,8 months – of the delays involving the developer and what they were experiencing,” he said.
“Were you getting emails? Were you getting memos? How were you getting these updates?” asked FOX6 Investigator Bryan Polcyn.
“In meetings,” he replied.
What meetings? Glasgow said it was discussed in at least one closed session in January and possibly open sessions of the Community Development Authority. However, a FOX6 Investigators review of Menomonee Falls Village Board records shows the Riverwalk on the Falls project hasn’t appeared as a discussion item on any meeting agenda since 2016 — open or closed. And Glasgow never did specify a particular meeting in which the delays were discussed.
I have learned that thirteen employees of the Menomonee Falls School District will be attending a social justice conference next week in San Francisco put on by the Carnegie Foundation. The cost is over $34,000 and the conference will be held only days before Menomonee Falls Schools is asking voters to approve a referendum allowing them to raise taxes over the state imposed spending limit.
The conference website, https://www.carnegiefoundation.org/get-involved/events/summitimprovement-education/, says the conference features “dazzling scenery, abundant activities and exquisite food.” It is being held at the tony San Francisco Marriott Marquis. The conference seems long on social justice and short on anything having to do with actual education. The website says the conference will include seminars on “creating an educational system that promotes social justice” and to “explore concrete applications of design thinking in schools” and “develop strategies for achieving large scale social change.”
Superintendent Patricia Greco and 12 other Falls school employees are attending at a cost $1,450 per registrant , $409 for the flight, $570 for lodging and $200 for meals. Greco is a speaker at the conference but says she is not being compensated. Greco, in an email, says the money comes from funds the district is paid for putting on training programs for other school districts. She offered little defense for the content other than to say district employees will be meeting with “researchers and leaders who are working globally on applying improvement science to accelerate improvement in student learning.”
On Tuesday April 4, Menomonee Falls voters will be asked to raise taxes above the state mandated spending limits. Greco and Falls school board members say significant cuts in educational programs will occur if taxes aren;’t raised. In material sent out to residents, district officials have claimed they have extracted all savings possible in their current spending.
The district has been sending employees to the Carnegie conference for years. The Carnegie Foundation is a left-leaning organization linked to liberal educational policies.
District claims school tax revenue limits leave the district short-changed. Simply not true. MFSD has the 4th highest maximum revenue limit per pupil out of 28 Milwaukee area districts. They don’t and never have had a revenue problem.
MF revenue per pupil is increasing. The district has experienced significant enrollment decreases – 12% thus far; projected 15% by 2020/21 fiscal year. Yet, total revenue has only dropped a small amount (3%).
District has long complained that decreased state aid is their main budget problem. But property tax increases have entirely made up for the state aid decreases. Total state aid and property tax is essentially the same since 2007/08. Same amount of state/local revenue to educate significantly less students.
District claims they will have a cumulative $7 million shortfall in the next five years but the referendum is asking for an additional $15 million in taxes over those five years. They want a blank check.
District claims building referendum is needed for aging facilities. This is the same argument made for the 2006 referendum which passed (>$20mil.). At the time district stated it was a long-term solution to maintenance issues.
The building referendum amount of $32.7 million is almost equal to the cumulative total of the last four referendums that passed ($38.2m).
Including interest, total potential increased property taxes over the next 20 years for both referendums – $118 million.
District doesn’t even have a detailed list of what the $32.7 million will buy. It has a list of maintenance items by school that sums to $16.3 mil. But that figure is magically rounded up to $18 million. Other items are similarly rounded up by over half a million dollars. The District wants a blank check.
Thanks to the Menomonee Falls Taxpayer Association – CPA Advisory Committee for their analysis of this referendum. For more information visit mftax.org
“Menomonee Falls has two referendums on the ballot. The one that is especially outrageous …. permanently raises their taxing power above the state limit…Not just this year… permanently overspend the limits…. raise taxes higher than state law allows permanently. What possible excuse would you have for that? It’s outrageous. If people vote for that – I don’t care how conservative Menomonee Falls seems, that’s not a conservative way of doing things…. The other is maintenance – instead of paying as you go they want to borrow…. which causes budgets to be screwed up ten years from now…. Of 28 school districts in the Greater Milwaukee area, Menomonee Falls has the 4th highest….12.3% above the state average…. Increase in property taxes has made up for the decline in state aid.”
“Private businesses address questions like the ones above all the time. They are forced to economize. Schools…. merely tell the LIE to an unsuspecting constituency and get $50 million referendums passed. The most galling part of this is that some districts actually do act responsibly. They prove you can handle state budget cuts….”