Brodhead voters reject second school referendum
Brodhead School District
BRODHEAD Brodhead voters sent a second strong message after voting down a second school referendum Tuesday and electing two write-in candidates over two incumbents with a combined 25 years on the board.
The message from the community is to cut the budget and keep taxes down, Superintendent Chuck Deery said.
He predicts the board won’t come back to voters “anytime soon.”
“At some point, they’re going to have to come back (to voters for a referendum). The deficit will continue to grow,” he said.
About 350 more voters turned out for Tuesday’s three-year, $1.76 million referendum compared to the failed Feb. 16 referendum. That vote asked for $3.59 million over four years.
“We’ve tried it twice, I think the public has spoken,” board member Mike Krupke said. “We felt that we were obligated to try it one more time with some new numbers.”
The board will go back to its idea list, look for fresh ideas and “try to make it work,” he said. “I just don’t see a referendum in the near future.”
The board’s plan for a failed referendum is to cut one third-grade teacher, one middle school/high school math teacher, one guidance counselor, one part-time middle school English teacher, eliminate agriculture and family and consumer education at the middle school and cut those classes in half at the high school, cut the high school adventures class and drop one bus route.
The board must wait until June to see how many of the 146 students who applied to open enroll out of the district follow through, Deery said. Each student who leaves will mean a loss of $6,800 for the district, and the district may have to use money from its fund balance to make up the difference, he said.
Deery said he’s heard from some parents who say their kids will stay at Brodhead because extracurriculars were removed from the cut list for next year, but others say they’ll leave because the potential is there in future years.
The board will be back to the drawing board to make cuts for the second and third year of the referendum, Krupke said. Winning write-in candidates Allen Schneider and Paul Donovan will join the board at its April 26 meeting. They will replace Peggy Olsen and Carol Kloepping.
Negotiations on the next teachers contract “are going to take a whole different turn,” Krupke said. “Obviously we’re really appreciative of the teachers freezing their wages (next year) … What we’ve heard, what we’ve seen in the last month to month-and-a-half, we’re really going to have to take a harder look at what the teachers are getting. The money just isn’t there.”
The board next meets Wednesday, April 14, when members will have a post-referendum discussion.