The leaders of the Waupun School District have some decisions to make in light of another referendum defeat.
For the second time in two years, voters have rejected a referendum in the Waupun Area School District.
The $10 million operations and maintenance referendum failed, with 2,570 “no” votes to 1,980 “yes” votes.
In 2006, voters turned down a $6.9 million referendum by a margin of 1,039 votes.
In the face of tough decisions, will the “fear” card be played?
“We’re going to be looking at some very serious cuts in this district. It’s scary to think how this vote is going to impact our children,” said Jennifer Smith, mother of two Alto Elementary School students.
The direction of the district’s next step will fall to the School Board. Zegers said the board will have to take a hard look at the options before it to cover the nearly $1 million budget shortfall for next year. Options could include significant cuts in programming and staff, assistance from the fund balance or going to referendum again in November or next February.
“We will have to make some tough decisions now. What we have to do right now is minimize the damage to programs and staff,” Zegers said. “Just because we have stuff on our list of possible budget cuts, that’s not the only place we may take it from. That’s just a starting point.”
Zegers was referring to a list of $1.4 million possible cuts to help the board bridge the budget gap. The cuts include more than 16 staff positions and elimination of the alternative high school, the high school French and Media programs and the Middle School industrial arts program.
The District Administrator and a member of the referendum committee back some interesting points -
“The majority of voters voting ‘no’ must have better ideas on how to fix the budgetary shortfall than the administrators who battle with it on a daily basis,” Smith said. “I look forward to those same people coming forward and presenting those ideas to the School Board.”
“While I think we got our message out to more people, I was extremely disappointed with the vote tallies in the township and city of Fox Lake,” said District Administrator John Zegers. “The voters have spoken, and now we have to deal with the results.”
If I lived in the Waupun school district I’d ask some questions before considering another referendum. Have possible reductions in the area of administration been looked at? Have all alternatives for income and expenses been explored? Do we understand that in tight times perhaps the voters expect us to tighten our belts like they are? Define “good education”.