The Milton School District announced Monday it will no longer be part of a marketing contract that a trio of Milton entities entered with the Janesville Area Visitors and Convention Bureau.
The decision was made Thursday following a meeting between leaders from the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, the city of Milton, the school district and the bureau, according to a news release.
Each Milton group agreed to contribute $5,000 toward a contract with the bureau for a year, The Gazette reported last month. Milton’s chamber of commerce and the city will still partner with the bureau.
The involved groups thought the school district’s withdrawal was in everyone’s best interest after questions about the arrangement arose, according to the release.
At a Feb. 11 school board meeting, board member Brian Kvapil questioned why the school board had not been informed of the agreement before it was made. Kvapil claimed the board should discuss the collaboration because there was the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Jerry Schuetz, the school district’s director of administrative operations, is also the board president for the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce. School board members Diamond McKenna and Mike Pierce are also on the Milton chamber board.
Kvapil questioned whether people who worked in both organizations would benefit—financially or otherwise—from the school district being in the partnership. He also expressed doubt that marketing would benefit education.
Schuetz said the district was interested in the partnership because it could boost attendance at co-curricular activities; help local businesses, many of which give scholarships to Milton students; and allow the district to be involved in a community satisfaction survey at a lower cost than if it conducted its own survey.
The Milton chamber and its board members would not benefit financially from the partnership, McKenna said.
Superintendent Tim Schigur said joining the agreement was an operations decision and that administration oversees operations.
Kvapil said bringing the proposal to the board for discussion would have kept district residents from getting “up in arms.”
The other participating organizations were comfortable putting the partnership with the school district “on pause” while district administration and school board members get on the same page and define their goals, said Christine Rebout, executive director for the Janesville visitor’s bureau.
The school district is welcome to rejoin the agreement at any time, Rebout said.
The district’s withdrawal means the bureau’s budget for the Milton groups will be $10,000 for the year instead of $15,000, Rebout said.
Rebout guessed small cuts would be made across the marketing plan to make up for the loss.