Wausau School Board votes against drafting referendum amid public restructuring concerns

Wausau School District
Wausau School District(WSAW)
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 7:44 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 13, 2023 at 9:23 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wausau School Board voted 5-4 Monday night against drafting an advisory referendum that would contain questions to gauge community support for the district’s restructuring plans. Those plans have already been approved by the school board.

“I don’t think it would be a mistake at all to go to the people who fund our schools, and ask for their input on what they feel would be acceptable or not relative to different components of this plan,” said Board Member Pat McKee.

The general consensus among the board members was that a continual dialogue with parents, staff, students, and the community as a whole needs to be maintained as the restructuring process moves forward. Board Member Cory Sillars added that people in the community need to be open to change when it comes to restructuring.

In February and earlier in March, a petition was signed by more than 1,100 people to halt restructuring and put the plans to an advisory referendum to be voted on by the public.

Polls conducted with both the administrative team and district staff show that more members would be opposed to the implementation of a staggered restructuring. One person shared that a potential risk of staggered implementation would involve staff not being able to move buildings if they were to choose to and position openings would be filled by other people.

One of the benefits expressed was that it would give the district the ability to continually learn from rights and wrongs during a staggered process. It would allow the district to implement the restructuring on a step-by-step basis and stay more organized throughout the entire process.

“No one is glad that we’re in this situation that we’re in. We all wish that state funding had kept up with the needs and inflation in order to provide the money we need,” said Board Clerk Karen Vandenberg.

Additionally, the board discussed possible avenues for childcare within the school district. A proposed plan would consider Woodson YMCA hiring and managing childcare employees. Any agreement to partner together though would require approval by the Wausau School Board and the YMCA Board of Directors.

School Board President James Bouche added that restructuring is not an issue impacting just Wausau, but the entire state.

Members of the community are encouraged to continue to share their comments, questions, concerns, etc. about the restructuring of the Wausau School District using this link at any time.

For more information about the restructuring and the future of the Wausau School District, click here.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for April 10.