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Mequon-Thiensville Board approves strategic plan

Board to address individual proposals in upcoming budget talks

Oct. 24, 2012

Mequon - After a year and a half of planning, meeting, and deliberating, the Mequon-Thiensville School District has an approved strategic plan that it will use to shape its decisions over the next three years.

The School Board voted Monday to approve the mission, vision, goals and guiding principles of the plan, but not without some pushback from board member Gary Laev, who said that the plan should include some financial frameworks, and later was the only board member to vote against its approval.

"Without a connection to a critical tool, which would be a budget planning tool that adjusts for specific things that will occur in the future, we really cannot go forward with a strategic plan," Laev said.

He said the strategic plan needs a mechanism to address potential changes to state aid and other funding sources, and took issue with certain actions items proposed by the administration that would fit the goals of the strategic plan - namely a K4 program, potential referendum, and hiring of nonteaching staff.

Those action items, among others in a list of approximately 50, were not part of the conceptual strategic plan approved Monday, several board members pointed out.

"We haven't even begun to have the discussion about the individual action plan proposals," board President Suzette Urbashich said. "Any of those that have fiscal implications, like anything else we have done in the course of all the years we've been governed by a Board of Education, have to be well vetted in the budget process."

"We have not been in a meeting where there has been a conversation around the merits of any one of those individual items," board member Mary Cyrier said, later adding, "it would be incorrect for anyone in the community to think any board members supports or does not support any of those items."

The parts of the strategic plan approved Monday, Cyrier said, will serve as a framework and benchmark as board members debate action plan items in future public meetings, starting at an upcoming Tuesday budget meeting and culminating in the adoption of a 2013-14 budget at the district's 2013 annual meeting next July.

Several community members expressed some concern to the board over the amount of community input that had gone into the parts of the strategic plan approved Monday, citing the 5 percent response rate to a community survey conducted by consulting firm ECRA - though, according to board members, the consultants told them the response rate was high in comparison to similar surveys conducted in other communities.

Board member Cheryle Rebholz emphasized that the community must be included as the board deliberates the potentially budget-affecting action items.

"This needs to be transparent," Rebholz said. "It needs to be posted on our website so that stakeholders out there can all weigh in and be giving some input."

NEXT STEP

WHAT:School Board budget workshop

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Range Line Conference Room, Lake Shore Middle School, 10036 N. Range Line Road

MORE INFO: The strategic plan is available online at: mtsd.k12.wi.us/board/boereports.cfm (under "Action to approve the district strategic plan 2013-2016")

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