Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
On April 2, 2007, the day before Franklin voters went to the polls to decide on two school referenda totaling $78-million, my blog had the following headline:Franklin school officials sink to sleazy new low to get votes
The Friday before Election Day, during school time, hundreds of Franklin High School seniors of voting age were taken to an Assembly and then drilled by school personnel about why they should vote for the referenda.
Doors to the Assembly reportedly were locked so no one could leave and no one could enter to see and hear what was going on.
I wrote the following:
The impropriety of this action by Franklin school officials is clear. The surprise Assembly on the Friday before the election should never have taken place. I’m not sure if the Assembly was illegal, but it certainly was extremely unethical.
It smacks of a desperate, underhanded, sleazy maneuver by folks who must be very worried about the outcome of the election. On principle alone, these referenda need to be resoundingly rejected.
Shame on the Franklin School District for this disgusting and despicable tactic!
Later on April 2, I blogged an e-mail I received from a Franklin parent:
Now that the school district has given the senior class a civics lesson and is encouraging them to exercise their right and privilege to vote(many for the first time):
1. Will they be excused from school to vote?
2. Will the students get a lesson in how to register to vote; how to determine what district they live in; and where their polling place is located?
3. Will they provide transportation to the polls?
4. Will they earn a grade for voting---how are the students going to be assessed following this civics lesson? Will they have to wear the I Voted sticker as proof of voting?
5. Will they tack on an additional 2 hours to the make up school days since the students missed first/second hour to attend this civic lesson?
I have more questions to add but the most important one is:
When will the investigation into the legality of this action begin? Who will be held accountable?
The referenda failed miserably.
Recently, we have learned from blogger Janet Evans’ open records requests that in the days following the election, e-mails went back and forth between school officials about the “Assembly.”
Not long after the election, the District Attorney’s office began to investigate and wanted answers from outgoing Superintendent Bill Szakacs.
No charges were filed, but the DA’s office is still reviewing other options.
Again, the “Assembly” was extremely unethical. Supposedly learned officials should have known better. They thought they could get away with it, and that’s why they did it.
School officials who objected at the time weren’t loud, persistent, aggressive, or effective enough.
The Franklin school district is the victim of inept management.
Students, their parents, and taxpayers deserve much better.
UPDATE 12 NOON, 12/28/07: RECALLS LAUNCHED AGAINST FRANKLIN SCHOOL MEMBERS
THE TOP 10 FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2007
4) "ASSEMBLY" AT FRANKLIN HIGH BEFORE ELECTION
5) FRANKLIN ADOPTS A MODEL SEX OFFENDER ORDINANCE
6) THE GRAND OPENING OF SENDIK’S
7) THE EMERGENCE OF THE FRANKLIN BLOGGERS
8) FRANKLIN CITY TAX LEVY GOES UP 5.7%
9) SUPERINTENDENT SZAKACS FORCED OUT
10) THE LACK OF PROGRESS AT FOUNTAINS OF FRANKLIN