Markesan school fate up in air

Mar 4, 2010 Full story: WisInfo 32

MARKESAN - Residents in the Markesan School District must approve a $5.6 million referendum on April 6 or face losing their schools.

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Joy Waterbury

Berlin, WI

#1 Mar 26, 2010
What the media is missing is the fact that dissolution can be a community decision. The State allows citizens time to petition for an advisory referendum on dissolution. The Markesan School Board is wrong to think that just because tax-payers don't pass the operational referendum they want to dissolve the school. It's two issues. A no vote on the operational referendum AND a no vote on dissolution will send a message that drastic changes are needed to pare down operations. It also sends a message to legislators to make school funding changes.
J Frederick Markesan WI

Fremont, WI

#2 Apr 5, 2010
What Mrs. Waterbury is missing is the fact that for the last 10 years Markesan has made cuts to the district to the tune of 1.5 million dollars. There are not 1.4 million dollars worth of cuts to be made and still have a District that can provide an education to the children of our community. I do not want to use our children and their education to send a message to a bunch of legislators who really don't care. They have told us time and again, this is not their problem, but ours. We have an excellant district with a staff that is second to none and for the most part a very supportive community. Vote yes to keep out schools open!
Joy Waterbury

Ripon, WI

#3 Apr 5, 2010
I'm certainly not missing that point Joan. I respect that the school has made some cuts. I agree that Markesan's teachers are some of the best, but others are great also. I have a huge problem with teacher salary demands that until recently were State sanctioned. The rest of the nation has taken serious cuts to their salaries, why should teachers remain protected. Many currently unemployed teachers would jump at the chance to employ their skills at a lesser cost to the district. I also have a huge problem with my tax money going to fund unnecessary programs such as sports. If a student wants to participate they should have to pay. Pay to play is just one way to address a portion of the deficit. If the high school has room for 400 additional students why are we keeping an outdated, energy inefficient elementary school open. Move those kids to the high school and operate one building. These are difficult choices are you up for the challenge?:)
Joy Waterbury

Ripon, WI

#4 Apr 5, 2010
I'm a little more than concerned that contract negotiations with teachers have been suspended until after the referendum. The only reason for that would be that a raise is in the offing. If the teachers would agree to a pay freeze, or better yet a cut in salaries and benefits, they would be lauded as heroes for saving the school. Instead negotiations have gone dark. Citizens will not be pleased to hear of a pay increase, in any amount for teachers after the referendum. This is the kind of cluelessness in the education system we are talking about. How on earth did WEAC get so powerful that it can call the shots at all levels of government. The school board can say No to pay increases, why it doesn't, who knows?
J Frederick Markesan WI

Fremont, WI

#5 Apr 5, 2010
Our high school does not have 23 empty classrooms, that is what we would need to move the elementary school to the other building. When we talk about the high school not being to capacity, mostly it is the ability to add students to existing classes and not having a bunch of idle classrooms. Pay to play, would only bring a small amount of money to the district, not enough to cover the deficet. And with open enrollment every student that chooses a district over ours for a particular program causes a loss in dollars for us. Adding to our money woes. I wouldn't want to have an operation done by a surgeon who was just happy to have a job. And I don't want my children or grandchildren being taught by teachers who are just happy to have a job either.
J Frederick Markesan WI

Fremont, WI

#6 Apr 5, 2010
As far as the elementary school being "outdated and energy inefficient", we have replaced boilers and updated lighting in the last year, all within budget, making that school building as efficient as can be. We have saved thousands of dollars in electric bills during that time alone.
Joy Waterbury

Ripon, WI

#7 Apr 5, 2010
Kids will still be able to have a quality education if we make cuts instead of excuses. If pay to play won't work, let's cut sports altogether. There's a huge pool of new teachers to choose from, I think some of them might be a bit insulted by your insinuation that only the current crop of Markesan teachers are capable of instructing our children. Some students may open enroll out of the district but I think most won't and it will all even out in the long run.
J Frederick Markesan WI

Fremont, WI

#8 Apr 5, 2010
I am not insulting anyone. Your group is saying we must live under our revenue limit. To do so we would need to cut staff salaries $20,000 per year across the board, we would have salaries $20,000 a year lower than any public school in the state. The only teachers we would attract would be those who literally would not be hired by any district in the state. Schools are only as good as the teachers in the classroom. I think teachers are insulted when they are paid less than the checkers at Walmart.
Joy Waterbury

Ripon, WI

#9 Apr 6, 2010
NOW YOUR TALKIN' Let's cut salaries across the board by $20,000. That fits with the reality of the current economic situation we're in. The political party in charge right now wants teachers and doctors to earn the same as the WalMart checker to even the playing field with third world countries. I don't agree with it, but the President is certainly passionate about it and seems to hold the upper hand. Anyway, there's a huge crop of young, bright, enthusiastic teachers just clamoring for a full time job. We'll be able to pick of the best of them and save a ton of money.
J frederick Markesan

Fremont, WI

#10 Apr 7, 2010
I'LL agree with you Joy, but only under these circumstances. Every person whose salaries are paid with tax dollars takes the same $20,000 pay cut. Legislators, DNR personnel, Prison employees, All Government employess, DMV workers just to name a few. Why single out just teachers?
Michael Quade

Milton, WI

#11 Apr 7, 2010
J Frederick, it's people like you that run for the school board and have NO idea what you are doing, that is what has ruined this school district. You are impressed by cutting $1.5 million in the last 10 years, are you kidding me???? That isn't anything, obviously not enough. But I'm sure glad school board members voted to get themselves fax machines at home, I'm sure they were a necessity. You made all these replacements and updates in the last year to the middle school and stayed within the budget??? Then why was another referendum brought up to spend over the budget????? Or you mean you stayed within the previous referendum over spending budget. You must be using the obama math system. You need to start using common sense and basic math skills. You compare doctors and teachers, that's like comparing apples and oranges. The real teachers are the parents, some of which are more qualified to teach than some of the current teachers, so yes I would rather have a teacher teach that just wanted a job. The school district needs to clean house and start over, starting with the school board.
Michael Quade

Milton, WI

#12 Apr 7, 2010
News flash, most state workers have already taken pay cuts, it's called furlough days.
Joy Waterbury

Ripon, WI

#13 Apr 7, 2010
I totally agree Joan. Everybody. My State-employed husband included should do the same. But first we'd have to calculate the difference between a 1% to 1.5% raise (what most of the people you describe received over the past several years) and a 3.8% guaranteed raise teachers got over the some time period. The group that comes out farther ahead gets a greater cut to even the score.
J frederick Markesan

Fremont, WI

#14 Apr 7, 2010
You will have to figure how much state employee insurance premiums went up during that same period. The 3.8 increases included this amount. If the state went through that same period without those costs sky-rocketing we need to know who their insurance provider is so we can get on board.
Gary Shruck

Oshkosh, WI

#15 Apr 7, 2010
Now this is a very interesting conversation, but I'm going to have to agree to the side of what Joy and Mike are saying. I'll be the fist to say that I voted NO for the referendum, and here is the reason that made up my mind, and that was when I heard the teacher negotiations were halted until after the vote, and that a teacher salary freeze or cut was not an option, WAKE UP board members, that shows me absolutely no effort being made to cut costs, had the teachers agreed to a pay freeze then that would show me an effort being made and I may have voted yes to the referendum. Here's the real world, I've worked in manufacturing for 20 yrs. as an Product Engineer, so I'm not a Wal-Mart worker making minimum wage, I have an education similar to the teachers, during my career I've had a pay freeze 3 times which I am in right now, on top of that, last year I took a 10% pay CUT to avoid layoff at my company, which saved $100,000/month and kept the company in the black, and guess what, know body left to find a better job because they didn't exist, that's the real world. If you think the current teachers are going to leave because the got a pay freeze your nuts because there aren't that many teaching jobs out there.
J frederick Markesan

Fremont, WI

#16 Apr 7, 2010
All I can say is Thank-You, Thank-You, Thank-You, to all the members of our community who voted yesterday to support our school district. We are small District doing a lot of great things.
Chad Walker

United States

#17 Apr 7, 2010
Well, there may be a lot of great things being done at the school but they could have been done without passing this, and without you J. Fredrick. I for one am sick of this scare tactic that we are going to have to close the school. Times get tough but you find ways to make things work thatís what kids need to learn not by taking money from others who are already in hard times. STICK TO YOUR BUDGET! I'm a firm believer that one of the greatest ways to teach is by role modeling and the school continues to do a horrible job by saying "well kids, you don't need to be fiscally responsible, the money will come from somewhere. This kind of teaching is why this country is in such a mess. I love the whole "the poor kids" well if the teachers cared so much about the students as they claim they would have at least offered up a pay freeze or cut rather than halting negations for their next raise till after they had more money from the tax payers. What we need are some good people like Mike, Joy or Gary to run for school board so we can get someone like you out of there J. Fredrick.
voted no

Madison, WI

#18 Apr 8, 2010
Its all about the money! I have a hard time believing no cost cutting measures were left to take. The schools budgets have gotten out of hand in more ways than one. There is alot of fat that could be trimmed yet. For instance,if schools are all about education than why are we funding the sports programs? I am sure to catch flak on this one, but if our budgets are such, then cutting out the sports would help save alot of extra dollars. Oh sure, all the parents of the kids in sports wouldn't be able to stand around and brag about whos better than the other, and depending on what your last name is, how great you are at sports(your last name does seem to dictate who get to play the most!) Let those parents who think sports are such a must at schools pay for their own kids to be in sports, let them fund it entirely. I am not sure, but the last time I checked, I don't think sports are a requirement for a good education. I am tired of taxes getting raised to pay for a chosen few to be in the limelight. Oh yes and lets not forget about the teachers salaries, well maybe its best if I dont even go there!
Michael Quade

Ashland, WI

#19 Apr 8, 2010
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the misinformed people of the markesan school district that voted to raise my property taxes yesterday, who were mislead by the pathetic, corrupt, lying school board. Shame on you for not standing up and saying "enough is enough". It amazes me how we have school board members that are married to teachers that teach at the school, to me that sounds like a conflict of interest. We have school board members that are suppose to represent a certain town or village, yet the whole school district gets to vote for each member, to me that sounds like mis-representation. It amazes me how someone like Mrs. Frederick can get voted in, when it's obvious she doesn't know anything about the current economy. Before you shoot your mouth off you should try doing research on the subject you are talking about. I'm a state employee and I had to take a 3% decrease in salary for 2 years and on top of that I got to pay a 20% increase in my insurance premium. So how about we get the teachers onboard with us??? You like to talk like you are so smart and know so much, you sound like a fool! It's funny how you stick up for the teachers and their pay, did you forget, teachers only work 8 months a year, unlike the other state jobs you mentioned and yet teachers make more than the other state jobs you mentioned.
Joy Waterbury

Ripon, WI

#21 Apr 8, 2010
If anyone would like to receive an email from me updating you on what's going on with the final vote counts of the election, possibility of a petition for recount and potential teacher raises just shoot me a line at h2obury@centurytel.net

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