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Mequon-Thiensville School District voters guide

March 21, 2014

Paul Buzzell

Age: 43

Employer/occupation: Chief financial officer, Johnson Level & Tool

Education: bachelor's in marketing and real estate, University of Wisconsin-Madison; master's of business administration and finance, DePaul University

Contact: (262) 478-8007; pbuzzell@johnsonlevel.com

Why are you the right person for the job?

1. I have a strong business background (MBA in finance and corporate CFO).

2. I have a vested interest in quality schools (three children in elementary or middle school)

3. I am a lifetime Mequon resident and graduated from Homestead.

4. I am analytical, fact-based and knowledgeable (I attended 22 School Board meetings in 2013).

How can the School Board attempt to stabilize district enrollment?

Through budgeting, there are three ways the School Board can attempt to stabilize resident enrollment (about 3,500 students today):

1. By marketing to residents who recently left, or never attended, MTSD;

2. By promoting the benefits of our community and schools to encourage new families to move here and attend MTSD; and

3. By working with the City and Village to increase the supply of young-family home choices and local amenities for parents and children.

Options to financially sustain the district are limited to budget cuts or revenue increases — which could include a referendum. Which way do you lean and why?

To financially sustain the district, I lean first towards revenue generation because a new permanent income stream could free up budget dollars for classroom education. Second, I would be interested in new ideas to deliver quality education because while they're not specifically budget cuts, they could free up resources annually. Last are budget cuts because they're not a long-term solution to sustain quality. Capital investment is a good use, but asking taxpayers to pay for operating costs without an exit plan is difficult.

Wendy Francour

Age: 58

Employer/occupation: marketing and fund development

Education: bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Contact: (262) 242-4647; wfrancour@yahoo.com

Why are you the right person for the job?

Career: strategic sales, marketing, fund development — vital assets in implementing MTSD Strategic Plan

Only candidate

-with 20 years of leadership and volunteerism in MTSD

-who co-founded community-wide fund development campaign donating $96,100 to MTSD

25 year resident

Daughter attended MTSD K-12

Comprehend nexus between excellent schools and high property values

How can the School Board attempt to stabilize district enrollment?

To stabilize district enrollment, the BOE can:

-market MTSD in a way that attracts families who value education move into Mequon-Thiensville while continuing the conversation about ensuring there is high quality real estate available to them

-outreach to local families currently sending their student/s to private and parochial schools

-use Chapter 220 and Open Enrollment programs to draw new students to MTSD as space in our schools allows

Options to financially sustain the district are limited to budget cuts or revenue increases — which could include a referendum. Which way do you lean and why?

I recommend:

-reaching out to Mequon-Thiensville businesses for MTSD financial support

-aggressively pursuing selling naming rights for identified MTSD locations and pre-determining investment amounts

-pursuing fund development identifying private donors and MTSD areas of greatest need that would appeal to individual donors

-exploring fund development opportunities, including on-site before/after school child care

Sid Terry

Age: 63

Employer/occupation: strategy and organizational development consultant

Education: Bachelor's and master's degree in education from the University of New York-Oswego

Contact: (262) 643-4106; sidneyet@gmail.com

Why are you the right person for the job?

I am an empty nester, part of the 70 percent of residents with no children in the district. I want to protect the taxpayer's investment and improve the system. As a teacher I know the power of great teachers to transform lives.

How can the School Board attempt to stabilize district enrollment?

The School Board's focus is to provide the best educational experience possible. It is not to find more students to stop declining enrollment or to ask for more taxpayer money because they are unable to create a sustainable fiscal model for the district. Face the problem head on; stop trying to work around it with recruiting efforts (i.e. communications director) and referendums. Work within the projected enrollment and get on with it.

Options to financially sustain the district are limited to budget cuts or revenue increases — which could include a referendum. Which way do you lean and why?

I am against referendums since it is kicking the can down the road and is only a temporary fix. I am also against the random budget cutting that has been going on. Per recent reports the district has been deferring both building and athletic facility maintenance to cover budget gaps. This is simply poor practice and not in the best interest of taxpayers. The district has hired a communications director to focus on attracting more students while cutting programs for existing students. It is not a question of having enough money to spend, it's about how you spend your money.

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