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Endorses change on school board PDF Print E-mail

Letter to the Editor:

Last month, the voters of the Three Lakes School District stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the park.

We committed ourselves to a referendum asking for almost $12 million over our levy limit to cover the next five years of school operation. This was almost a no brainer for anyone interested in keeping our school and town a viable entity.

Having said that, I would like to challenge the voters once more to step up to the plate and make some tough decisions about the upcoming school board elections.

I believe some changes are needed. Our present board needs to be shaken up. During the referendum process, there were meetings held to explain why we needed to go above our levy limit. Much of the information was exactly what we were given during the last referendum. We were told by the board that if we didn’t pass the referendum, the only option was to close the district down. This sounded like an ultimatum to me.

Is this the best the board could do? No new ideas or a fresher outlook? Couldn’t some of our resources be re-directed to insure teachers and students are the ones getting the most benefit from our recently passed referendum?

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction  published in 2012 the salaries and fringe benefits amounts for all the school districts in Wisconsin. For the year 2011-’12, our school superintendent received a salary of $143,571 and fringe benefits totaling $54,406 for a total of $197,937. This position is contracted for 220 days a year, so we are paying approximately $900 a day for this one position. Over the life of the recently passed referendum, this one position will cost the district approximately $1 million.

Couldn’t our board at least discuss thoughts of balancing pay raises with the needs of our teachers and students? We could help pay for more paraprofessionals, increase teachers’ classroom budgets for materials, and try to keep up with ever-changing technologies.

On another point, the present board has consistently failed to address the safety issue of supporting both football and soccer in the fall. I stress safety because the policy we have now requires that much younger freshmen and sophomores play varsity sports. Physically, many are not yet ready for this level of play. This is not only dangerous, but it discourages many younger players from coming out for the sport.

I realize the board fears that if they eliminate one sport, we may lose some players to other districts and this will cost us money. Well, our students should not be seen as dollar signs; their safety must come first. Perhaps a new board makeup will make the tough but courageous decision on this matter before someone is seriously injured.

Finally, I would like to ask the board why we can’t have Advanced Placement (AP) courses for our most talented students? This board’s answer is that any advanced education our students get must be done at Nicolet College, requiring our students to drive to Rhinelander. There are excellent AP courses available at very reasonable cost right here at home. The AP courses are consistently graded as more transferrable than the Nicolet courses. It just makes more sense to at least try to offer AP courses.

Let’s be reasonable, we need new ideas and a fresh perspective of where our school is going. We can’t rest on our laurels now. Vote for change next month.

Kim Starke

Three Lakes

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 3:37 PM
 

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