Endorsements & Testimonials

Dear President Burns and Members of the Board,

In late October, I was made aware that Homestead faced a book challenge to Sherman Alexie’s award-winning novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Per board policy 9130 on Challenged Materials, a select committee reviewed the challenge and the novel, and on Nov 8th convened for a vote on the matter. A 13-1 majority vote determined that the novel would remain in the English 9 curriculum and the Homestead library collection.

Policy 9130 also states, In the event the complainant is still dissatisfied, s/he may ask the Superintendent to present an appeal to the Board for a final decision. The Board will hear an appeal within ten business days or nearest opportunity to that time frame when a quorum can be achieved.

As a stakeholder, I wanted to make the following comment to the Superintendent and Board:

While school officials have considerable discretion over curricular materials, schools may only remove materials for educationally sound reasons, not because some object to their content. No educational rationale has been advanced for removing this book. The novel has received universal acclaim by literary critics and educators alike. It received the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2007 and was named one of the best books of the year by School Library Journal Booklist. A publication of the American Library Association, wrote that “younger teens looking for the strength to lift themselves out of rough situations would do well to start here.” A review in the New York Times called it “a gem of a book…heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written.”

I urge the board to retain the book and respect not only the 13-1 majority vote but the judgment of the district’s professional educators who have selected the book for its literary and pedagogical value, as well as its interest and relevance to students.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Meggan J. Thompson

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Mequon and Thiensville Voters:

We urge you to vote for the school board incumbents in the upcoming recall election. We are all of the Mequon mayors who currently live in Mequon and a past president of Thiensville. One of us was a longtime Superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville School District and another a longtime school board member, both of whom served long before these disputes.

To the extent you disagree with actions of the school board, run for office and vote them out at the next election in April. Just do not use an extraordinary recall election.

We take no position as a group on the decisions of the school board, the individuals who are the subject of the recall election or the school policies involved. Among the six of us, there are conservatives and liberals, and we do not necessarily agree regarding all the issues the recall organizers have presented. We agree, however, that this is an inappropriate use of the recall process.

Recall elections are an important tool in a democracy. There must be a way for voters to remove elected officials who have used their office for personal gain, who have committed crimes, fraud or some other malfeasance or misconduct, or who unambiguously lied to achieve office.

There have been none of those allegations. Instead, the recall organizers have raised policy concerns. Policy differences, even those that are serious, should be resolved at regularly scheduled elections.

This recall sets a bad precedent. If recalls based on policy differences become customary, we run the risk of never-ending elections. Division and incivility will become even more normalized, and Mequon’s and Thiensville’s reputations will suffer. It will become impossible to attract candidates, and with respect to the school district, it will become difficult to hire employees.

The recall organizers could have made all the arguments they are now making before the school board elections this past April, yet they failed to do that. All of these arguments will still be available this coming spring at the time of the next regular school board election.

Each of us who was or is a Mequon mayor stayed out of school board politics while in office. We believe municipalities and schools should be separately and independently run. The current mayor is not speaking for the City and specifically is not taking a public position regarding any of the issues presented. Rather, we all object to the use of recall elections for these purposes.

Dan Abendroth, Mequon Mayor, 2013-2019
Curt Gielow, Mequon Mayor, 2010-2013
Christine Nuernberg, Mequon Mayor, 1998-2010, Member, M-T School Board, 1973-1991
Connie Pukaite, Mequon Mayor, 1986-1992
Karl Hertz, Thiensville President, 2006-2012, Superintendent, M-T School District, 1984-1996
John Wirth, Mequon Mayor, 2019-present

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Please support the current members of the Mequon-Thiensville school board in the upcoming recall election.

The recall effort is not factually justified, and harms the outstanding reputation of our school district and the community at large.

The four school board members targeted for recall are knowledgeable and conscientious civic volunteers who have done nothing ethically or legally wrong.

If recall organizers object to MTSD policies, they should run for office during regular school board elections held each April, instead of subjecting the community to the divisive and damaging effects of an irresponsible recall election.

Dan Abendroth, former Mayor of Mequon

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I am opposed to the recall process as a vehicle for regress of disenchantment. The ballot box is the place for deciding these matters ... not an expensive recall.

Curt Gielow, former Mayor of Mequon

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Our family has lived in Mequon for 13 years and we chose this community because of the quality of the schools. We are the proud parents of a HHS graduate (2020), a HHS senior and a Steffen Middle schooler. We have been extremely satisfied with both the the academic education and the holistic approach to personal growth that our kids have been blessed to received at MTSD from kindergarten through high school graduation. Our children have attended ONLY MTSD schools, not local private or religious schools. The introduction of partisan politics and the injection of personal agendas into the future of our children is both sad and shameful.

LuVerda Martin

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I am a parent of two children, one is going on to middle school and the other one remains in elementary school, we moved back home to Wisconsin 2 years ago from living in the south for 5 years. I could not say I am more pleased and amazed by the MTSD district and the school board. I did not have to worry or be concerned with my childrens' education. MTSD is one of the best school districts in Wisconsin, STILL it is even if I grew up in Mequon and grew up in the district, now my kids are in this district. My husband and I are both pleased how the districts and school handled the COVID shutdown and the COVID situation with phases of virtual school/ face to face school and full on. They provided options and made sure the concerns of parents are met as well as their faculty. My son is special needs and of course I was concerned about him going back to face to face because he thrives on support and hands on, and when we sent him back, NO REGRETS. His IEP team made sure we had a plan A-B-C in case something happens in school and had to be back in virtual and back up plans etc and they were very hands on. I could not be more pleased with the staff and administration at Oriole Lane. He thrived and focused more in school and his work and cooperated more. My daughter on the other hand remained virtual because absolutely ADORED her 5th grade teacher, I could not take that away. MTSD is the way to go and succeed. I compliment all the staff and the board for making this happen and making this safe as we go along with what's happening. I am forever grateful for MTSD and how hard they work. GO MTSD!!!!!

Kat Werkmeister

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My son has been attending MTSD schools since kindergarten and is about to embark on his middle school journey. I have found the teachers and administration to be communicative, supportive and responsive every step of the way. I realize I am very fortunate to feel this way because not everyone can say that about their school system. We are so lucky to be a part of the district and they have a loyal supporter in me.

MTSD has made my role as a special needs parent easier. My son’s IEPs are very constructive, well thought and challenging for him. They believe in him and it shows.

My son is offered understanding and equity regarding his neurodiversity. He is given scaffolding to be successful and there is a great awareness within the district of how to provide that. They have met every challenge in his learning and behavior with creativity and compassion.

His father and I had the privilege of speaking to his classroom in 3rd and 4th grade about his diverse learning needs. I found the children in his classroom to be understanding and kind. They inquired about certain behaviors and made insightful commentary. They have been a wonderful part of the school experience at MTSD. I credit their parents. I also credit the teachers and curriculum with teaching empathy and helpfulness. He currently feels very supported and safe at school, and I know if this ever changes, MTSD will be there for us.

I am so impressed with the staff and students I have met. I will proudly support the district as they have supported my child thus far.

Amanda Sherman

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I had seen the signs around town for a School Board Recall and some “Support” signs. After checking out the website of each, I was still confused as to what the issues are. The Recall Team has been active in asking for signatures by the Mequon Pool so I stopped by one evening and was able to talk to two of the people behind the effort. The reasons I was given for the recall were primarily concerns with academic performance, the teaching of CRT in school under the guise of Equity, and the action of the Board to give the superintendent authorization to decide when pandemic learning needed to go from in-person to virtual. I’m guessing individuals within the recall team may have different viewpoints on how important each of these issues is to them personally, but I did get the sense both from our conversation and the content of the website that these are the main issues. I appreciate them taking the time to speak with me and I recommend doing so if you are interested in the issue. However, after doing more research and thinking through the issues, I can’t support the recall effort for the following reasons:

  1. The opportunity to run for the school board occurs yearly and I don’t agree with the urgency of a recall effort. To be truly supportive of our school district, I prefer an approach of discussion and collaboration rather than one of confrontation. It has worked well for me in the disagreements I’ve had with the district over the past 14 years of living in Mequon.
  2. I don’t believe a recall is an appropriate reaction to any declines in academic performance when, IF four new board members are elected later this year, they only have about six months longer to create change (terms are 3 years) than they would have if elected at the usual April election in 2022. Academic performance changes slowly over time, with the exception being during a pandemic, which should not be judged until the pandemic is over and “normal” education resumes. MTSD had six people running for three positions this past April and the voters made their choices, already knowing of any academic issues at that time - whether pandemic related or over a longer period of time.
  3. I believe it was appropriate to give the superintendent authority to make day to day decisions about pandemic issues as the information, particularly last summer, was changing rapidly. I believe the superintendent followed the science as it was known at the time and the district gave all families the opportunity to choose the method of instruction that was best for them.
  4. Based on my personal experiences with and knowledge of the district, I believe that when the district says it is implementing the equity programs mandated by state law, that it is not a cover for Critical Race Theory, as has been stated to me personally by two members of the Recall Team and online by another member.

I respect the passion, time, and energy the Recall Team is giving this and appreciate their desire to improve our school district. I simply don’t agree with some of their beliefs and the methods chosen. And that’s okay. That’s why why we have a recall process and elections. I encourage each person interested in this issue to listen to what both the Recall Team and the Support MTSD Team are saying and make up their own minds before signing a petition to recall four of the current Board Members. Lastly, please express your opinion by voting in local elections every April.

Bridget Greuel

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The arguments being made in support of the MTSD recall are, at their core, factually inaccurate. In citing data taken out of context, the arguments are also misleading and disingenuous. The truth, on the other hand, is quite simple and the facts speak for themselves: As of the most recent school report card issued by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, MTSD ranks second overall in the state of Wisconsin. For 2019, Homestead ranked third in state public high schools for ACT scores. For the 2020-2021 academic year, MTSD delivered 40 weeks of full-time in-person instruction, while a significant proportion of US school districts could not. In doing so, MTSD met the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that schools prioritize in-person learning.

We as a community should be proud of the strong academic performance of our school district, especially in the face of incredible challenges during an unprecedented pandemic. A recall election, which would be paid for by taxpayer dollars and divert funds from the school district, does not serve the interests of our students or our community. Armed with the truth, I hope our community can avoid this costly, disruptive, and unnecessary recall.

Neda Esmaili

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After an online, and very difficult end to the previous school year, we were seriously apprehensive to distance learning for the 20-21 school year. We chose distance learning to keep our small business open, to protect a chronically ill family member and because we wanted to avoid the inconsistency that came along with anticipated exposures. We ended up being so impressed by the teachers ability to keep our elementary and middle school age kids engaged academically and socially. Being able to observe their courses was an unexpected benefit to having them learn safely from home. We are grateful MTSD accommodated our needs and gave us the opportunity to choose a mode of learning that kept our kids safe. In part because of this and other safety precautions, we were able to keep our small business open and running normally. MTSD's distance learning program wildly exceeded our expectations.

MTSD parent

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As a MTSD teacher AND parent, I've been disturbed by the actions and claims of the "recallmtsd" movement. I understand their anger/frustration to an extent but I feel it is misplaced/misdirected. I appreciate facts and when numbers are incorrect/skewed and cherry picked it makes my blood boil. I just wanted to write and say that I am appreciative of what you are doing and in keeping the non-partisan mantle. We need more of this in our community that I fear is drifting in two directions. Some in our midst don't seem to realize how impossible the last year and a half has been for students, teachers and families. Their actions add insult to injury. We should be celebrating all that WAS accomplished DESPITE the pandemic and its restrictions on so many of us, instead of using it as a trojan horse to shake up the make up of the board. Oi. I am proud to teach in this district and excited for my son to attend. Thank you again for providing balance to this craziness.

An MTSD teacher and parent

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