School District praises community for their effort in passing referendum

GLENWOOD CITY — Late last Tuesday, April 7 the Board of Education and School District as a whole of Glenwood City learned that the referendum they put forward was passed with 693 yes votes for Question 1 (176 no) and 518 yes votes for Question 2 (251 no); according to the unofficial results posted on the St. Croix County website.

The explanation for Question 1, as it appeared on the ballot, was: “BE IT RESOLVED by the School Board of the School District of Glenwood City, St. Croix and Dunn Counties, Wisconsin, that there shall be issued, pursuant to Chapter 67, Wisconsin Statutes, General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $4,740,000 for the purpose of paying the cost of improvements to the school district’s buildings and grounds including improved air quality and energy efficient heating and ventilation upgrades and roof upgrades at the elementary school; safety and security improvements including relocation of elementary and high school offices to create secure main entrances and conversion of those existing spaces into classrooms; school traffic flow, parking, and accessibility improvements; fire alarm replacement; exterior building and lighting improvements; technology upgrades; and equipment acquisition related to said projects. Shall the foregoing resolution of the School Board of the School District of Glenwood City be approved?”

The explanation for Question 2, as it appeared on the ballot, was: “BE IT RESOLVED by the School Board of the School District of Glenwood City, St. Croix and Dunn Counties, Wisconsin, that there shall be issued, pursuant to Chapter 67, Wisconsin Statutes, General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $4,500,000 for the purpose of paying the cost of improved air quality and energy efficiency upgrades to the heating and ventilating system at the middle/high school building. Shall the foregoing resolution of the School Board of the School District of Glenwood City be approved?”

“Due to the lower interest rates, which will be locked in by May 11, with both questions passing the mill rate will go up by the anticipated .83 cents next year, but will be reduced over the loan period saving tax dollars beyond what was predicted,” explained Superintendent, Tim Johnson.

That means the District now has over $9 million dollars in their hands, per say, to spend on major improvements that will drastically change the school’s appearance as a whole, which includes safety of the students and staff by relocating the offices, upgrading the heating/cooling system, upgrading the fire alarm system, upgrading traffic flow and parking, improving accessibility, upgrading technology, and upgrading the lighting and exterior of the builing.

There will be a referendum kickoff meeting next Thursday, April 23 and the various contractors/vendors will discuss along with the administration, staff, board, etc about establishing some rough timelines for the projects.

“We will try to start on some of the projects such as technology at the end of the school year/early summer,” said Johnson.

President, Charles Rasmussen spoke up and applauded the efforts of all the Board members, Task Force members, staff, parents, etc who were a part in getting the information together and put forth into the community so this referendum could be passed.

In regards to improvements needed, the Board approved for a new boiler to be purchased from TRANE for the cost of $26,976. A flush of the boiler system was also approved, which is to not exceed $2,720.

The Board took a step forward in improving the outside of the school after playground equipment was improved.

This has been an ongoing effort from the Elementary Parent/Teacher Committee, which has held several events over the school year to raise money for the upgraded playground.

In regards to the Elementary, the Board heard from Barb Stohr during the Community Comments portion about the Bucca contest.

Last week would have been the annual contest amongst the Elementary as it falls before the Easter break, but this year it was cancelled and Stohr expressed her concerns and upset feelings towards the decision.

Elementary Principal, Betsy Haltinner addressed the situation by explaining that last year a student suffered a severe allergic reaction while in the environment the contest was held in. This raised concerns amongst the administration, staff and parents, which resulted in the cancellation.

It was reiterated that yes the contest was cancelled this year, but it has not been eliminated from the minds of the Administration what so ever.

There appeared to be rumors that the cancellation caused an uproar amongst the community, but Haltinner stated that she received only five responses about the issue with one being from Stohr herself.

The Board also heard from Matt Radintz during the comment portion. He spoke on behalf of the wrestling club in regards to the cancellation of the Middle School season this past winter.

He shared his passion for the program and the sport and asked that the Board reconsider this elimination of the program despite the severe lack in participation numbers this year and the next few years to come.

Athletic Director, Patrick Gretzlock addressed the issue by stating that it was not “eliminated” as there is currently a schedule set in place for next season with the hopes of the numbers being back up again.

Gretzlock stated that with the way enrollment is looking, by the year 2019-2020, there will only be about seven students in the upper grades out for wrestling.

He spoke to the wrestling parents in attendance about moving towards a co-op instead of facing elimination, which would be a “short term solution to a long term problem.”

In terms of numbers, this past winter there were only six students that were in the Middle School program, which is what led to the cancellation.

As far as the youth, the numbers are over 60 in terms of participants, which does lend positive vibes towards to the future of the program, but there will however be some questionable years to come.

Other items included the Board approving the individual teacher contracts for the 2015-16 school year minus the speech and language position.

The calendar for the 2015-16 school year was also approved with the graduation date to be determined still.