THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
From Our Readers
Letter to the Editor:
Re: School District of Wausaukee Taxpayers
I would like to thank the person who wrote in the July 6th edition regarding recent expenditures by the School Board for the interest in the appropriateness of some of that spending. Public interest in the workings of the District are always welcome and we encourage members of the community to be more actively involved by attending Board meetings, especially the annual meeting which is held in late September or each October each year. I would also like to point out that each member of the Board of Education is also a taxpayer of the District and as such are equally affected by the budgetary expenditures and revenue sources that the Board deals with.
Having been a Board member since 2008, I have been here through the worst of times resulting from a deficit General Fund such as a potential dissolution of the District and the need for a referendum in order to keep the District viable. Because of the fact that the school building debt was paid off three years into that referendum, the tax levy was reduced to below the levy rate which existed prior to the referendum. Also during the past nine years all other outstanding debt has been retired resulting in elimination of debt interest and cash flow borrowing at a savings of several hundred thousand dollars over that time.
While it would seem that an item by item response to the expenditures noted might appear to be defensive, my purpose is primarily to inform not defend those expense items mentioned in the letter. Suffice it to say that all expenditures by the Board are related to one or more of these criteria: safety, health, efficiency (cost savings), long term maintenance of the facility, or perhaps most importantly a positive impact on student achievement. We have in place a ten year facilities plan for maintenance and capital expense for a building that is now nearly 25 years old. Three years ago the roof was replaced at a cost of over $800,000 because there were leaks that developed and for years had been "patch worked" at a continuing expense and proved ineffective. It is extremely difficult to provide first rate educational opportunity to our kids in a facility that is crumbling. Twenty year old vans break down and playground equipment, installed when the school was built, becomes dangerous and impossible to maintain with reasonable expense.
The Board takes very seriously the fiscal burden it bears and I believe that the record shows that we have been prudent in that regard. In everything we do, transparency is foremost. There are no hidden agendas and all aspects of what we do as a Board are an open book. We have excellent people on staff who execute their responsibilities in a professional manner. Any occasional errors in judgement result from human fallibility and not incompetence or subterfuge. A nationally known financial services company, during a visit last year, praised the District for its fiscal responsibility and financial stability. The most efficient use of taxpayer dollars remains a foremost concern and the Board will continue to exercise its best judgement for spending your (our) money!
The above is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of either the Board or any other of its members.