Wausau school board weighs possibility of referendum

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 9:50 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wausau School Board is beginning to plan for another referendum.

On Monday, Sept. 13, several board members toured three different schools to see what upgrades are needed. They toured Lincoln Elementary School, John Muir Middle School and Wausau West High School.

The board is looking at various needs inside the buildings including maintenance, safety, and classroom upgrades. They say these upgrades are vital improvements for student safety and education.

After one of the items failed in the November 2020 referendum, the Wausau School Board is re-evaluating what they need upgraded in another referendum.

“We’re hoping to really advance the district into modern educational age. We want to create maker spaces, we want to create some community spaces,” Superintendent Dr. Keith Hilts.

Hilts said some schools have outdated equipment and tight spaces. This makes it difficult for students to learn.

For example, at Lincoln Elementary, they use the gymnasium as the cafeteria.

“We’ve got nice facilities. A little outdated, well taken care of, well maintained, but we always want to offer the best for our students,” Hilts said.

There’s also a need for ADA compliant rooms and playground equipment. Hilts said a reason the referendum didn’t pass before is because the pandemic caused a lack of communication.

“We’re excited to re-engage and I think we will be able to develop a solution that the community can really get behind,” Hilts said.

Hilts said Monday’s walk through of the schools was the first step in a potential move forward with a referendum.

“We want to engage with the board, let them see the facilities for themselves talk to our custodians, and our principals and let them assess is the need there,” Hilts said.

In December, the Wausau School Board will review survey results and request to the Board of Education a decision about a referendum.

It would then be on the ballot in the April 2022 election, if approved.

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