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 Ted Klumb is a Commercial and Residential Real Estate agent with First Weber and CEO/Founder of TKOR, LLC property management (www.tedklumb.com). He lives and works in Menomonee Falls, is a graduate of UWM, and is married with two children. Ted is also a former member of the Menomonee Falls School Board, a faith development music teacher, and musician who’s enthusiasm far exceeds his talent.

School Board Members Paid TOO Much?

Local Issues

A while ago I posted a blog saying that school board members and other elected officials should get paid more, much more money to do the job. I got chastised from many of you in the community, especially self professed conservatives. Why do I bring this up?

In the online edition of JSOnline titled: Investment firm to pay 5 school districts $30 million

“The development is the first financial recovery that's occurred since the five districts - Whitefish Bay, Waukesha, West Allis-West Milwaukee, Kenosha and Kimberly - lost nearly all the $200 million they invested in complicated financial instruments in 2006.”

You will notice Menomonee Falls was not mentioned here.

While serving on the school board finance committee, I remember the presentation made to our school district to invest in this “complicated financial instrument.” I also remember asking the presenter to explain this to me three times. After it was explained a third time and it still made no sense to me, I was determined to reject this proposition entirely. There wasn’t any resistance from the attending fellow board members. Perhaps only Tony Cherney understood the complexities of the presentation, but that didn’t woo him at all. It was dead on arrival and we kindly sent the presenter on his way.

$30 million divided by 5 school districts for a loss of over $200 million is sort of like getting your parking validated at a $1000 a night hotel.

Do you think those communities may have benefitted from having someone admit they didn’t get it and gave a thumbs down on the proposal? I know exactly the kind of board member who would vote for this. The one who isn’t there for the money but wants to be popular (oh, and serve their community too).

Seven members of your community control a budget of about $50 million. Why would you want to pay them as little as possible? Fortunately three board members saved Menomonee Falls more than $25 million at a cost of $7,000 per member ($2,100).

Any board member who is in it for the money, and there are some, is exactly the wrong person you want representing you. There were, and are, board members who have lost more money serving their community, than what they were paid. Some could have billed more hours, sold more buildings, or wrote more mortgages..

Sometimes being a conservative means investing money in things that will cut waste and give you more bang for the buck. Ask the 5 school districts if they think they paid their board members too much and the answer is probably yes. With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight would they have paid 3 times their current salary to someone who would have avoided a $25 million loss? What is your answer?

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