This Just In ...

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 young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.


To get THE TOP TEN FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2011: #6 rolling, please watch the following brief video:

2011 was a year filled with nonsense from the folks we entrust to run our schools.

Here in Franklin, the local public school administration and school board are dominated by huge tax and spenders. There are rare exceptions, one being embattled school board member Janet Evans. She’d prefer not to go hog wild when it comes to taxing and expenditures and wants direct answers to direct questions rather than rubber stamp votes to automatically help Franklin live up to its reputation as a tax hell. For her diligence, Evans is scorned by her fellow board members.

On the night of April 6, 2011, fellow board member Melissa Klien, a huge tax and spender, condescendingly targets Evans. Looking across the table directly at Evans, Klein lectures her, like a parent to a small child:

“I feel like you’re always looking for the negative in people. You’re always looking to catch somebody doing something wrong.”

To her credit, Evans bounces back with this sharp reply:

“As in watching out for the taxpayer?”

Watch the opening moments of the following video courtesy of the Franklin Independent Journal. Listen and also pay close attention to Klein’s body language.


This back and forth came as the school board was discussing the oh-so important issue of the members performing self-evaluation. Hey, forget about student performance, test scores, dropout rates, etc. Let’s chat about how we get along.


How did they expect Evans, who is often the lone dissenting vote on motions, to react? Was she supposed to admit tremendous personal flaws, that she was just a meanie, bow down, kiss their collective rings and become a Class A Tax and Spender just like them?

Franklin blogger Fred Keller posted several videos of the school board that were extremely revealing.

Not surprising was School Board Vice-President Jeff Traylor literally scoffing and chuckling at the very notion of being “fiscally responsible” with a completely "could care less" facial expression and body language.

The best line I saw was from member Janet Evans. As her colleagues wrestled with how to form better “relationships” as a board, Evans chimed in:

“I’m not here to have a relationship (with any of you). I’m here to do my job.”


She said what?

“I’m not here to have a relationship (with any of you). I’m here to do my job.”

The comment made so much common sense and because it did, Evans’ statement was stunning to the rest of the clueless robots on the Board.

You could almost sense the collective reaction from the others as they longed for a roll of TUMS:


The Franklin School Board bent over backwards during 2011 to try to appear as everyone’s hero and Mr. Nice Guy. All they did was look totally out of touch with their priorities soundly out of whack.

The latest silliness came this month when Board VP Jeff Traylor who has publically admitted he is clueless on the concept of “fiscal responsibility” proposed a goal of improving the image of the Franklin School Board. Obviously, he senses a public relations problem, so egos comes first. Janet Evans wrote about this crazy idea on her blog.

Are they for real? Sadly, yes. A la Sally Field, they are more worried if people like them.

Which brings me to a segment on Mark Belling’s talk show this past May on Newstalk 1130 WISN. I couldn’t help but think of Janet as I listened to that broadcast.

Keep in mind Janet’s comments during a school board meeting in April:

“I’m not here to have a relationship (with any of you). I’m here to do my job.”

The problem is that there should be more school board members with that sentiment, but there aren’t.

I will paraphrase, and quite accurately, from Mark’s program that illustrates what Evans is up against.

Belling addressed a school board issue in Menomonee Falls (MF). By coincidence, MF has about the same population as Franklin and like Franklin is immensely conservative. In MF, the voting patterns are overwhelmingly Republican. As Mark put it, the last place you’d expect victories by the teacher’s union with public officials thumbing their noses at the will of the people would be MF. I would add you could toss in Franklin, except that the Franklin School Board is beyond out of touch.

Mark mentioned that in some communities, especially smaller ones like MF (and I might add, Franklin) with 30-35,000 population, the teachers are often pals with the school board. They bump into one another and see each other in the community, at church, at youth school sports. They become buddies.

When a school board member’s “friend,” aka teacher asks for help, the school board member, rather than upset a “friend” and stand up for the electorate, instead caves.

Another factor needs to be considered.

Folks run for office with the best intentions. They are going to strive for fiscal responsibility. They will not be beholden to special interests. They will represent the taxpayers.

Then they get elected and rub elbows with the entrenched administration. They go native, welcomed into their new family, going from “one of us” to “one of them.” Prior to the election, they were outsiders. Now they’re insiders.

Mark also made this comment that again reminded me of Janet’s poor imitation of Rodney King. He said that if we was ever to serve on a governmental body, he’d be fine if the others on the body didn’t like him. Why? Because he wasn’t there to win their approval. He was there to work for the people that put him there.

It is 100% total, authentic, bona fide, genuine common sense. All the reason most of the Franklin School Board will never get it.

Mark got a phone call from a former school board member from a community in his listening area who expressed frustration at her being on the short end of many 6-1 votes (a la Evans).

In a closing nutshell, the Franklin School Board is desperately searching for ways to become more popular evan as they plot to rob taxpayers blind during a rotten economy.

You couldn't pay me enough to sit on that board and take what Janet Evans is going through. I'm sorry, but these people are...


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