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Suggestions for driver’s education in Darlington

DARLINGTON – Darlington High School Principal Aaron Lancaster made the Darlington Community School District’s Board of Education aware that Stu Vamstad will be retiring after 40 years as the district’s driver’s education instructor.

Vamstad will complete the driving hours with students who currently have their permit before he is done.

With the retirement of Vamstad, the district will be without the driver’s education course and they would need to either look for a new driver or direct students and parents towards other options.

Lancaster stated that some of the options for the course would be through Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (SWTC) in Fennimore at $130 for the online class and $465 for Behind the Wheel. The Hill Driving School in Monroe would cost $340 for both the online class and Behind the Wheel.

Nick Zuberbuhler asked if the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) would be able to supply them with a temporary driver. Lancaster stated DPI would just instruct them to look into SWTC and their options.

Lancaster has scheduled students for the online class for the second semester. There are about 80 students that will fall into that age range to be eligible to take the driver’s education course during this school year.

Lancaster said it would then be up to the parent to decide whatever agency they would want to go to for the behind the wheel portion of the driving course.

As of now, SWTC only has driver’s in Mineral Point and Platteville.

“If they take over our driver’s education online program, we could ask them to have a driver come here,” Lancaster suggested.

The item was only up for discussion and will be addressed again at a later meeting.

Operating referendum

The school board had intended on putting an operating referendum question on next months election ballot but due to the virus and the uncertainty around the presidential election, they approved moving it to next year.

District Administrator Cale Jackson mentioned that the board still needed to have a discussion on what the question will say and how much the district will be asking.

Previously the board approved only asking for the community to approve an operating referendum instead of both maintenance and operating for the district. This change was also made due to the economic uncertainty of the state regarding revenue.

“Because of the decrease in taxes the state is bringing in, it will have an effect on us,” Jackson said.

Options for asking the operating referendum question would be February, April or August. The only caveat was the district could only ask the question twice in one year. If the question fails the first time, they are allotted 77 days until they are able to ask the question again.

Board members questioned whether having the question asked in February gave them enough time to distribute information to the constituents.

“It is going to be difficult because we are use to going around and visiting meetings and letting people know. This will be difficult messaging compared to normal,” Jackson said.

Bob Hermanson, Matt Crist and RJ Brunkow all felt April was the best option.

“I’m not sure February will be enough time to do a good job getting talking points out. I’m leaning towards April. We would hopefully have an idea of knowing the environment,” Brunkow said.

The question and the amount going to be asked in April will be discussed at a later meeting.