Wausau College Board creates particular assembly to additional focus on referendum | Training
After almost two hours of discussion on the subject of a referendum during a board meeting on Monday, the Wausau school council decided to call a special meeting for Monday, January 17th.
WAUSAU, Wisconsin (WAOW) – After nearly two hours of plebiscite discussions during a board meeting on Monday, the Wausau School Board decided to call a special meeting for Monday, January 17th.
The decision to convene a special session was made after the members of the board failed to agree on all the items in the referendum that would allow it to be passed.
The purpose of the special session is to give the board additional time to make drastic changes to the referendum that would ultimately reduce the overall referendum costs. The lower cost would also have less of an impact on taxpayers in the county.
Referendums have not developed well in the district in recent years, and several have failed.
In a communication from the school district of Wausau on the referendum in the run-up to the meeting, it said:
“Tonight, talks continue on a possible April 2022 referendum. At the Education / Operations Committee meeting on December 20, 2021, the Wausau School District Administration tabled two formal resolutions for initial approval: the Wausau School District, Marathon County, Wisconsin, that Pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Bylaws, general bonds of no more than $ 181,900,000 are to be issued for the public purpose to pay for the cost of a school building and facility improvement project consisting of: district safety, school updates, building infrastructure, capital maintenance and site improvements; remodeling all elementary, middle and high schools; building expansions at Horace Mann and John Muir Middle Schools, West and East High Schools and Grant, Lincoln, Hawthorn Hills, Maine, Rib Mountain, Riverview, and South Mountain Stettin primary schools; construction of a new school forest surrounding area learning center; and purchase of furnishings, furnishings and equipment. 2.) Resolution calling for a referendum on the issue of approving an initial resolution approving the issuance of general bonds in an amount not exceeding US $ 181,900,000. After much discussion, the committee approved the resolutions and instructed the administration to work with the bond advisor to prepare all the necessary documents for presentation to the board of directors tonight. In addition, committee members asked the county council to suggest some cheaper alternatives to the $ 181.9 million. These alternatives will also be presented to the Board this evening for further discussion. After tonight’s discussion, the board could do a number of things. For example: You could approve the referendum proposal of $ 181.9 million unchanged. Approval tonight would put the question of the April referendum to the vote. If they do not go that route, members can also vote to proceed with any or all of the cheaper alternatives. The board members could also simply discuss all of the options on the table and decide to make a decision at a later date. Background to the US $ 181,900,000 Proposal As a reminder, the US $ 181,900,000 referendum proposal followed a month-long process of community engagement. We started from scratch to find a solution to our urgent needs at the facility that would support the community after a (very close) failed referendum in April 2021. To ensure that no stone is left unturned and that voices can be heard from as many voices as possible, the Wausau school district started from scratch; Providing online surveys for parents / guardians, staff, and community members. We also held 3-person community engagement sessions, including creating a facility needs webpage with an instant feedback form. During this process we just listened. When people asked for more information; We responded and even went so far as to create scenarios for reflection and feedback. By the end of this process, we heard the following loud and clear: Address your urgent need for facilities now; do not close or merge schools in the process. We heard them and we listen. The referendum proposal addresses our district-wide obsolete facility systems / deferred maintenance, safety and security requirements, obsolete classroom environment requirements, obsolete visual arts facilities and obsolete curriculum facilities. No schools will be closed or merged. What does this proposal cost? The district would borrow $ 181.9 million. For the taxpayer, that means an annual increase of $ 12 per $ 100,000 of property value, or $ 1 per month. (It’s also worth noting that while the district has a maintenance budget to cover some of these costs, most districts, under the Wisconsin school financial system, are unable to provide enough cash to cover large expenses like the above.) You may wonder why the district would try to vote in a referendum after the parish said “no”. Here is the reality: our urgent need for facilities will not go away. In fact, not only do they not go away; the cost increases the longer we wait. So doing nothing costs not only taxpayers, but also our students and employees. Not only is this proposal consistent with our mission to promote student learning, achievement, and success; It is responsible to taxpayers and ensures equality across the district. Not to mention, it’s a proposal that the community helped shape. “
The full session can be viewed here.