Monday, October 10, 2011

Superintendent Asks for Poll about Operating Referendum

When we want something badly enough we ask for it. If we are told “No” we might ask again, and try and think of a different way to ask or a different spin to put on the question so we can get the desired answer. Sometimes we experience that with our children; School administrators are no different.

Tonight, in the Stakeholders meeting held at the ESC, Superintendent Ted Neitzke suggested the Stakeholders Committee put a straw poll to the community to see if there is support for an operating referendum. He said he did some research and it would cost $1,800-2,000. The straw poll would consist of robo calls with questions to the community. Ted asked the committee, “Should we do this?”

He then admitted to the 9% unemployment and comments he hears in the community that the district isn’t reducing enough. He then went on to ask if the idea should be put to bed or introduced.

School Board Member Rick Parks said he was the one who suggested it and thought it was a “prudent first step” toward an operating referendum. He then also admitted that the community’s “numbers show that holding the line” is what they want.

Other committee members, Tim Stepakski (chair) and Bart Williams said that a wrong message would be sent to the community if a straw poll like this is conducted. Stepanski stated that the message the new administration has been trying to put forth is not in line with an operating referendum and “even polling says something different than that message”.

Stepanski did not rule out the idea, he simply said the timing is wrong.

Parks continued to advocate for the poll, saying that if there is even going to be talk of a referendum, a poll should be done first.

Williams brought up the double-dip recession facing Wisconsinites and said that even helping his son sell popcorn for boy scouts is a challenge in the current economic situation many face. He said, “People are worried and even raising the question brings concerns”. He went on to say that the district is in a good spot with fund balance and the budget is balanced. “I don’t see a need for it.”

Parks continued his advocacy for the poll by mentioning the possibility of someone paying for the cost of the poll, to the nods of Mr. Neitzke. Neitzke said he has three questions that are possibilities for the poll and read them.

Stepanski and Williams said they are not in agreement with moving ahead with a straw poll and Parks now said he agreed.

Administration has been told “No” for now. Let’s see how badly they want that operating referendum…………..Stay tuned.

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