More than 1,100 sign petition to halt Wausau School District restructuring

Petitioners want a portion of the restructing plans to go to a referendum
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 5:54 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Monday night, the Wausau School District met for the first time after they approved a restructuring meeting earlier in February which included the merger of Wausau East and West High Schools and consolidating the number of elementary schools.

Not everyone is on board with the decision though. More than 1,000 people have signed a petition to halt the restructuring plan and instead, take the plan to an advisory referendum that the public would vote on.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Hilts said it’s not that simple. “People don’t have time to sit through every board meeting and every committee meeting. Even if you read everything on the website, that’s only a good cursory overview of what we are talking about. To be involved in the conversation for years, which many of our board members have been, that’s why I think the board should make the decision,” said Dr. Hilts.

Some parents believe the decision should involve them considering its impact on their kids.

“One of the big concerns my husband and I have is graduating classes of 600 to 700 and what that does for sports opportunities, scholarship opportunities, and theatre and music. You know you really have half the spots to fill,” said Norah Brown, parent of five kids in the Wausau School District.

Another concern for many parents is transportation. “The administration hasn’t offered any meaningful data that tells us what the transportation needs are going to be,” added Brown.

Dr. Hilts said there are a lot of unknowns right now, but the restructuring will allow for additional resources for students and staff in the long run. He added that he and the rest of the board members are asking people to trust the people elected or appointed to the board.

Dozens of people have provided a written reason why they signed the petition. “The community wants and deserves a voice,” said Brown.

To learn more about restructuring on the Wausau School District’s website click here.

If you’d like more information on the petition click here.