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.
I have learned that the Franklin School Board at its June 25, 2008 meeting approved a salary increase for Superintendent Steve Patz as well as salary increases for other District Administrators and certain District non-represented employees. Patz and his office confirmed the salary increases. This is the first time this information is being reported.
The School Board approved a 3.9% increase for Patz who is in the second year of his contract. I reported in my blog, “Do NOT cry for any school superintendent” that prior to the Board's action, Patz’s annual salary was $150,000. The increase approved by the Franklin School Board would hike his salary to $155,850. Governor Doyle’s annual salary is $137,092.
The vote in favor of the increases was 5-0. School Board member David Works voted to abstain. School Board members discussed the salaries in closed session, then voted in open session. It is certainly open to debate whether Patz, who already had been signed to a lofty contract, deserved an increase after one year on the job. The actual percentage of the increase is not out of line.
Here’s what I find alarming and totally outrageous. As I’ve documented many times on my blog, last year, the Franklin School Board, at the direction of Business Manager Jim Milzer, approved a property school tax levy increase they thought was 5.6%. Milzer told the Franklin School Board the night they voted for the school budget that the increase was 5.6%. It turned out weeks later after I reported it on my blog that the increase was actually just under 12%.
To date, there have been no ramifications for Milzer who has not been held accountable for his fleecing of the taxpayers. Instead, he’s been rewarded with a huge raise.
Milzer’s previous salary was $119, 893. On June 25, the School Board voted 5-0, with Works abstaining, to increase Milzer’s salary by $14,090. That’s an 11.75% increase, Franklin taxpayers. Milzer’s new salary is $133, 983, putting him in the same ballpark as Governor Doyle.
All total, besides Patz, 61 district employees got raises. Keep this information in mind as the Franklin School Board goes through another round of budget deliberations. Remember all the “woe is us” stories about school districts being cut to the bone with fewer and fewer resources at their disposal.
During a brief, but pleasant chat with I had with the Superintendent, Patz told me there’s a greater emphasis on accountability to the public within the School District. I hope so. It starts with being upfront and open about how you’re spending the taxpayer’s money.