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Your Views: Parkview School District referendum supports living in past

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March 24, 2014

The psychology of political campaigns is to get people reacting emotionally. This Parkview School District referendum has some natives reaching for pitchforks to fend off imagined, heretical outsiders. Sheets and pointy hats next? “It’s the economy, folks!”

The current school buildings are safe and structurally sound. If the referendum failed, the school system would go on just fine, stated Superintendent Lutzke at the Plymouth Town Board meeting March 11.

School administrators can’t promise that new buildings will reduce personnel expenses of more than $8 million, which is the heart of the district’s financial dilemma. Footville’s school could be saved by eliminating one $100,000-plus administrator. They can’t promise new buildings will increase student grade-point averages or ACT/SAT scores. They can’t guarantee bringing back 100 students or losing more. They can’t guarantee increased taxes won’t drive population or business growth away.

The only thing they can promise is to buy $17 million in bonds, and, isn’t it $17 million plus interest?

Concerning is that taxpayers and renters will owe millions and be on the hook for 20 years for buildings whose long-term usefulness is questionable. What If the state decides to consolidate local districts, or if it makes vouchers universal statewide, or choice programs expand, or two-year colleges open to high school students, or so many other options coming on stream in Wisconsin occur? DPI, legislative committees and political staffs are developing new policies now.

Change in Wisconsin rural education is already here. Parkview’s referendum is outdated.

BILL REDMER

Town of Plymouth



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