news & notes

Feb. 11, 2009

District reviewing input on second high school

The Oak Creek-Franklin School District is reviewing focus group data collected last fall to gauge public opinion about building a second high school.

The Lynne Broydrick Group public affairs firm recently presented a report of the results to the School Board, highlighting both the support and concerns mentioned by the focus groups' 52 participants.

Focus groups were held in November. Participants were selected randomly, based on criteria established by both the district and J. Reckner Associates, which recruited participants. For example, about 70 percent were younger than 65 and about 85 percent had children.

About 50 percent of those surveyed were aware the district was considering a second high school. Top concerns were how a new school could impact taxes, how services could be shared and whether the schools would be comparable.

About 2,000 students attend Oak Creek High School, which puts the building at about 80 percent capacity, said Superintendent Sara Larsen.

The district will begin analyzing the focus groups' results more closely in April or May.

Lawsuit filed against Toman

In addition to a pending trial for aggravated battery case, Oak Creek alderman Michael Toman now faces a lawsuit.

A civil lawsuit was filed Feb. 6 on behalf of Martin Pietruszynski, 64, who suffered serious head injuries when Toman allegedly pushed him at the Oelschlaeger-Dallman American Legion hall in December.

Pietruszynski and his wife, Pauline, are seeking damages against Toman, as well as Oelschlaeger-Dallman and three men who were also involved in attempting to escort Pietruszynski from the hall the night he was injured.

Pietruszynski has remained in a coma at Froedtert Hospital since he was injured. He was transferred Feb. 5 from Froedtert to another facility, said Kimberly Wick, media relations specialist.

Toman has been charged with aggravated battery.

He pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing in January on the basis that he did not intentionally harm Pietruszynski.

His jury trial is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 19.

School district poised to purchase land

The Oak Creek-Franklin School District is poised to borrow $1.6 million to purchase approximately 50 acres, possibly for a future second high school.

The School Board on Feb. 9 approved a resolution authorizing the district to borrow the money, through the issuance and sale of general obligation promissory notes.

Located along Oakwood Road, the land is owned by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. The district will essentially purchase the parcel from the city, which is negotiating the purchase of 255 acres, southwest of Oakwood Road and Howell Avenue, with MMSD.

The city and district are working out contractual details on the land deal, City Attorney Larry Haskin said. If the district were to sell the land in the future, the city would have the first right of refusal.

City plans hearing for property charges

Oak Creek is seeking to collect more than $156,000 from property owner Andrew Zielinski, whose property at 3840 E. Puetz Road was cleaned up by the city in 2006.

After the city was awarded a court order by Milwaukee County to remove a large amount of junk and hazardous waste from the property, Zielinski filed a lawsuit against Oak Creek.

Courts recently confirmed Oak Creek did have the right to abate the property, City Attorney Larry Haskin said. The next step is to collect the money the city invested in the property, he said.

The Oak Creek Common Council on Feb. 3 approved a motion to set a hearing date to impose the special charges against Zielinski. The hearing will be held Monday, March 9, Wednesday, March 11, or Thursday, March 12.

School make-up days scheduled

The Oak Creek-Franklin School District has scheduled make-up days for all three of the snow days this winter. The Dec. 19 snow day will be made up Friday, March 13, and the Jan. 15 and 16 snow days will be made up Monday, March 30, and Friday, June 12, moving the last day of school back one day.

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