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Referendum informational meeting set for March 27

Frustration grows as election nears

POSTED February 22, 2018 1:40 p.m.

SHULLSBURG – After much discussion, it was agreed upon at the Shullsburg School District Board of Education meeting to have an informational meeting on March 27 to discuss the upcoming recurring referendum that the citizens of the Shullsburg School District will be voting on in April.
School board president Dan Morrissey was in favor of having the proposed meeting for the public while others had their hesitations.
“There is no concern about getting information in my opinion. If there were, people would be here. There are no members of the public here,” board member Amy Charles argued.
Many on the board understood Charles’ frustration with the lack of the public at school board meetings. Someone even stated that there were more people at the meeting when discussing eight-man football.
“My concern is less about information and more about preconceived notions about what the information is saying,” Charles added.
She stated that she has heard all negative things about the referendum. Her idea was to give the public information that will have the most impact on them.
“When the fund balance goes away, the school is insolvent. What happens when things are insolvent? They go away. Do you want the school to go away? If you don’t want to school to go away, then vote in support of supporting the school. Honestly, it doesn’t get that difficult.”
Kruser also mentioned that that the January count for students was done and it was not good news. The district dropped eight students since September 2017, which equates out to six FTE (Full-Time Equivalent). The compensation per FTE that is received from the state through state aid is $9,200, which is a potential impact of $55,200 on the budget. From September 2016 to September 2017, the district lost a total of 19 FTE.
“It is important to talk about these things especially with the referendum, so people understand that student counts effect total revenue,” Charles said.
Charles then brought up the issues discussed about having football on Friday nights at Badger Park. Well don’t worry about football on Friday nights because the school won’t even be here, Charles stated.
“We are not in a position where we can get additional revenue in any other way. We are in trouble,” Charles ended.
“We all agree with you,” board member Pat Timmerman said, “but how do we get it out?”
 District Administrator Loras Kruser commented on getting the positive message out and indicated that a group of teachers have created a committee that will help promote the referendum.
“There are a lot of parents out there that have heard nothing about [the referendum],” teacher and “VOTE YES” committee member Tammy Woodworth mentioned. The committee asked a few board members to be present at parent teacher conferences to answer any questions about the referendum.
Kruser also mentioned the idea of flyers with bullet points and other information about the referendum.
“If you hear things from the community that are questions, those are important things for the committee to know for feedback so we can answer those questions. If one person is thinking it, there are probably a few others that are thinking. We want to help,” Woodworth said.
“We should have a meeting the Tuesday before the election and it should be an open forum; whether people come or not you have to do it. Our auditors need to be answering questions and explain it to people. They are our financial people and they have to help us sell it,” Morrissey stated.
Gymnasium Divider
It was discussed that in the Building and Grounds Committee, they looked into the possibility of purchasing a gymnasium divider with a $10,000 donation. The money was to be designated for that purchase. The committee found that the dividers were priced about $9,000 to $11,000. They had a representative from Badger Sporting Goods from Madison to see if it was possible. It turns out the roof has a unique shape with a slight point. A divider can be done but the total material delivered and installation would cost $16,973, and that doesn’t include electrical.
Kruser asked the board how they would like to proceed. He commented that there are other groups in the community that use the item in the gymnasium and maybe would use it more than the district would itself. He asked if it would be helpful to ask those other organizations if they would donate to the district in order to obtain the divider.
Someone asked if the decision has to be made this school year. The district is required to use the donation in the same fiscal year it was received. The district has until June to use to donation or the state aid would be reduced by that same amount.
Charles had mentioned they had once discussed the possibility of fans in the gymnasium and asked if the money could be used for that purpose. Kruser said he would look into it.
“Currently we have one class that has two classes going on at the same time. It would be great for youth groups,” principal Mark Lierman said.
“We could potentially use the space for inside recess,” principal Dana Bendorf added.
Jacinda Gunnell made a motion with Timmerman seconding to table the item for next months meeting in order for organizations to be contacted to see about additional donations.
Other Business
The Shullsburg School District Board of Education also approved/accepted:
-the 2018-2019 School Calendar with revisions to create a common calendar with Benton.
-a donation of $3,050 from Jeff Griffin/John Deere for Orff Instruments.
-a donation from the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation for an AED Machine in the amount of $1,295, to be shared with the City of Shullsburg when the pool is open during the summer.
-the Shullsburg Athletic Boosters donation of $550 for lettering for the state plaques.
-a donation of $185 from the Friends of the Mackenzie Center for field trip expenses.
-a overnight trip for the High School Girls’ State Tournament (if adequate funds are available in fund 60 to cover costs) and Kansas Relays Track meet.
-hiring an additional assistant baseball coach due to increased participation numbers.
-Andy Paulsen as the high school track coach.
-Joseph Lyne as the Jr. High Football Coach for 2018.
-Joseph Lyne and Jeff Nodorft as Jr. High Boys’ Basketball coaches for “18-’19.
-an unpaid medical leave request for a support staff employee.

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