This blog represents my opinions and my opinions alone, and certainly doesn't represent the collective thoughts of any of the Boards or organizations that I serve on. Unfortunately I make all sorts of miistakes, I'm a picky eater, I can't sing and I just recently found out I have been spelling certain words in my vocabulary wrong my entire life. That being said, I still continue to muddle ever onward. Welcome.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Election 2010 Results

Monona Grove Board of Education:
* Susan Manning 2161
* Peter Sobol 2004
Jennifer Pickel 1435
Monona City Council
* Jeff Wiswell 1100
* Dennis Kugle 1028
* Scott Munson 1022
Kathy Thomas 986
Matt Aro 945
Cottage Grove Village Trustee
* Dave Viken 537
* Diane Wiedenbeck 482
* Mike Willkomm 402
Jeff Weigand 401
Jeff Simpson 320
Cottage Grove Town Board
* Mike DuPlayee 392
Michael Klinger 230


  1. Thank god that's over. Now it is time to get real. Please take a look at what happened around our area. Waunakee's referendum to exceed revenue caps for operating failed. Stoughton passed one, but they had to close a school to do it. Up in Sauk county, Reedsburg voters rejected a referendum that would have kept three schools open which will now close. MG has some really tough decisions ahead before a referendum will pass. Remember that the people from whom the school board hears are more engaged than the other 99% of the citizens who votes. You were blinded by the 1% on the Maywood issue. Many of the people who signed that petition for Maywood had no idea staff were being laid off. No way will the voters in this district vote to increase taxes while we operate two half-empty schools.

  2. "No way will the voters in this district vote to increase taxes while we operate two half-empty schools."

    I would strongly agree with that one.

  3. Got your point, however, Maywood is at almost 90% capacity right now, hardly half-empty.

  4. Why we continue to bus Monona students to the already overcrowded schools in Cottage Grove needs to be seriously looked at before we close schools in Monona. If we closed Maywood it would be inevitable that there would be a referendum to build yet another new school in Cottage Grove to relief the overcrowding in their elementary schools. It is MUCH less expensive and burdensome on the tax payers of both communities to utilize our existing structures to educate the students of our communities. So, BEFORE we move students from Maywood to Winnequah and spend money we don’t have on renovations that will need to be reversed in a few years if we were to avoid new construction, we need to diligently investigate moving students back to Monona.

  5. The "however..." in your response leads me to believe that you do not get the point Jessica. Many in the district see the 4-3 decision to keep Maywood open as a sign that you do not understand the seriousness of our budget crisis and that you are being irresponsible with public funds. Yes Maywood is near capacity, but it is less than half the size of Winnequah which is half empty. It is foolish to think that people are going to embrace a referendum if they think you are spending money in a way that is not in the interest of the whole district. MGSD has been fortunate to dodge the deficit bullets all these years but those days are over.

  6. Indeed, 5:18, you are correct. This is one of the many reasons that people are looking at a charter school--so that parents from Cottage Grove would have an incentive to have their kids go to school in Monona, rather than just giving them the same programming in Monona that they could receive in Cottage Grove. Of course, the added bonus would be that Monona residents would have another excellent option as well.

  7. Bill, my "however" was a correction of the previous posters comment. Maywood is not half-empty. It is almost to capacity. That fact does not change, regardless of how you feel about the budget. I would be irresponsible if I let posters to my blog make inaccurate statements. It is interesting to me that you equate that correction with a lack of understanding and an over-all sense of irresponsibility. Perhaps you jumped on the word "however" as a springboard to a different conversation?

  8. Bill's point remains we are running Winneq at nearly half capacity for what rational reason?

  9. Based on the district enrollment projections for 2010-11, here is the actual capacity number:

    Winnequah = 31% Significantly LESS than half

    Had the consolidation taken place, Winnequah would have been at 73% capacity.

  10. Winnequah continues to run at half capacity because for some reason we continue to bus Monona students to an already overcrowded Cottage Grove. Closing Maywood would cost between $100,000 - $300,000 (according to the School Board), so we would be spending money next year to close a school with no savings for the 2010-2011 school year. The fact that we spent $30,000,000 on a middle school and are right back where we started – with a middle school that is over capacity (Glacial Drumlin has a projected enrollment in 2010 of 796 with a capacity of 750) – is not acceptable. People are foolishly looking for instant gratification without looking at the long-term ramifications. To restate what is in an above comment, we need to look at bringing kids back to Monona to relieve the overcrowded Cottage Grove schools before we hastily start closing schools that are much needed right now. We need to UTILIZE the space at Winnequah to educate our kids; not pile kids into overcrowded schools then complain that we have a half-empty school.

  11. The district paid $10,000 to have a study done last fall on whether or not it made sense for 4K-8 to be in each home community. There is a 121 page document on the district website. Seems like a pretty diligent investigation to me. I'm surprised that Jessica hasn't mentioned it. She should know all about it.

    The results were an initial expense of over $1 million to implement and on-going incremental costs of $149,000 per year. Not likely to happen given the budget crisis.

    Of course, this was to provide equitable programming & facilities in Monona to what they have in GDS.

    If Monona would accept substandard facilities and decreased programming, it might work. I'm sure you could have them back in Monona under these conditions.

  12. Patti McGinnis did indeed put together an amazing analysis of 4K-8 programming in each district, as was directed by the Ad-Hoc committee on building use and grade configuration in the district. And it is indeed accessible on our district web-site. I believe the Board voted in December 2009 to, in essence, abandon any plans to move to this type of district figuration in the immediate future as it was incredibly cost-prohibitive. That vote was unanimous. The study cost the district $6,000.

  13. Glacial Drumlin is a beautiful school, but it is not the school the District needed. It was reckless and irresponsible to build. Sun Prairie just built an enormously expensive high school and managed to do it under budget in combination with the utilization of their existing schools. Maybe we need to invite their School Board to our District to help clean up this mess. I would rather spend $1M in renovations in the next couple years then spend $15-20M on a new elementary school.

  14. Sun Prairie came under budget because the economy isn't doing well. Interest rates are really low, construction crews underbid each other because they want the work, and this lack of work has increased the supply of materials (which lowers the cost). Waunakee tried to take advantage of this fact this week too, but their referendum failed. If Monona was building a new school this year, it would probably be cheeper for the same reasons.

    To another poster:

    Glacial Drumlin is not crowded the way Winnequah was. It might be above the 750 capacity, but the principal said there are 3 classrooms that are not being used this year as classrooms. The lunch room is a little small, but this is just a scheduling issue to have 2 (or 3) lunch periods.

    With the cut to the music and art budgets, it makes sense to spend the money that remains on teaching time instead of driving time. Plus, Glacial Drumlin in general is much better equipped to teach kids in the 21st century then Winnequah was (more computer labs, modern equipment, etc), in a grade level where the modernness becomes more important. Plus 6th grade is a good time for kids to move to a new school, learn in a larger environment, and meet new friends, as they turn into young adults. It is good for both Monona and Cottage Grove kids to get their middle school education at Glacial Drumlin.

    I had heard that the building was built to hold 900 kids but only had 750 lockers installed, and that is where the 750 number comes from. Jessica might have better information about this rumor.

    The big crowding in Cottage Grove is at Cottage Grove Elementary which has about 20 extra kids, and no spare rooms. They have had to move classes like art or music into the gym or multipurpose room. If there were kids that needed to be bussed to Monona, it would be these 2nd-4th graders. While I'm ok with busing middle school kids, busing elementary school kids (from Monona or Cottage Grove) is too much, and I think many other Monona parents (like me) would think so too.

    Moving 6th-8th graders back to Monona is not needed, and moving 2nd-4th graders to Monona is not good for the children. The trick is to get more families with little kids to choose Monona. This also means you have to get homes open that the families can and would want to move into, and perhaps other city features that young families might want (sidewalks?). There is also talk of starting a "Green Education Charter Middle School," which might attract some families too. Please put your energy into working on one of these things to attrack young families. Dwelling on the past isn't going to change the future, and may even make Monona less attractive to new families.

  15. You should pay attention to what is going on in Monona. People have sold their homes and moved out of the District because they do not want to bus their kids to CG. This continues to happen. I went through an open house yesterday where a family with young children is moving to Madison to avoid busing their kids to CG. This doesn't include the several families that enrolled in IHM to avoid busing to CG. In your opinion it is good for Monona and CG to get their middle school education in CG - in my opinion it is better to keep the kids in their neighborhood school.

  16. This is false scaremongering, after the GD school opened student enrollment in Monona increased, reversing a decade old trend. People aren't moving out of Monona, they are moving in now that we have first class Middle School facilities.

  17. This is a very attractive blog. Congratulations, Jessica. I think that limiting these comments to signed posts would be a good idea. If you don't want people to know who said it, don't say it. I am signing off now to go to the District site to read the study on the K-8 X2 proposal. Accuracy should replace emotion and I am going to try this myself.