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Letter’s to the Editor 2-9-22

A variety of November 2020 election irregularities were exposed during the last Wisconsin Assembly Informational Hearing.

During the 2020 election, there were 211,000 ballots cast from indefinitely confined voters which meant that none of these individuals showed identification to vote.

We assume that only government officials have access to the voter rolls but it was discovered that a number of third party groups had access to the WI voter rolls and could add individuals or changed the data (ex. inactive to active). So far WEC has not disclosed who these third party organizations (individuals) were/are.

Of the people, on Election Day, that registered to vote (same day registration), 6,500 people were not eligible to vote. The margin of victory for Biden was 20,682 votes – 6,500 is 30% of the margin.

Also there was a ballot dump of over 200,000 ballots in the middle of the election night. Of these, 80.2% were for Biden. This seems highly unusual considering that Biden won by just a little over 50% of the votes.

The month before, it was revealed that even though Wisconsin’s population is 5.8 million, there are more than 7 million people on the voter rolls, 157,000 voters in Wisconsin have the same registration number, 93.7% of the state’s eligible voters voted, 121,251 active voters were over 100 years old, more than 500,000 registered voters have a January 1, 1918 registration date and 10% of the voters registered to vote between May 3, 2020 and Nov. 3, 2020, 31,872.  In total, 42,000 voters who voted in the November election are now listed as inactive. Of these, 31,872 registered between May and November, 2020. According to the WI Legislative Audit Bureau, of the 957,977 new registered voters, 45,665 of these new voters are such that the address did not match up with the DMV records.

JoAnn Utphall

Boyceville

On January 25th we had a barn fire at our farm. It was 3 AM and twenty degrees below zero. A sheriff’s department first responder was on scene minutes after the 911 call, he checked that people and animals had escaped the fire and was joined by EMTs from the Colfax Rescue Squad. The Colfax Community Fire Department trucks were the first fire engines to arrive. They pulled up to a roaring fire that was fully engaging half of a 2500 square foot building. Minutes later the Boyceville engines arrived followed by Sand Creek, Menomonie, and a tender from New Auburn. Colfax was pumping water on the fire and a line of tanker trucks from the five departments kept bringing more water. Firefighters went into the burning building with respirators to fight the fire from the inside while others monitored the fire with thermal imaging, and others opened the shell of the building and sprayed water on the core of the fire. The building engaged in the fire was already a total loss, but two much larger buildings connected to the burning building by an attic space and were in danger of burning as well. Fire fighters got control of the flames spreading through the attic and saved the other buildings after a 4-hour battle with a persistent fire.

On a good day most of us do not think much about our community’s law enforcement officers, first responders, EMTs, and firefighters but on those very bad days that any of us can have, these people are there for us. In our case, they saved our farm and business. I have had the good fortune to work with the rescue squad and fire department for a number of years and know how much time, training, and work goes into these volunteer jobs. I appreciate the quality and character of the volunteers and the leadership of these organizations. A volunteer that gets out of bed at three in morning when the temperature is 20 below and goes into a burning building to fight a fire is doing it for much higher cause than the few dollars an hour we pay them. What is right and good about our communities greatly outweighs what is not.

We appreciate all of our emergency service people who were here when we needed them.

Mark and Lena Warner

Wheeler, Wisconsin

Preface: All information in this Letter to the Editor was obtained by the Freedom of Information Act through Open Records Requests. Records were supplied by the following School Districts. Glenwood City, Elk Mound, Mondovi, Spring Valley, Clear Lake, and New Richmond.

We would like to make the community of the Glenwood City School District aware of some Fiscal Expenditures that caught our attention in our search for clarifying questions we had from topics raised by the public at Glenwood City School Board meetings. Some items the Board would not comment on, thus the request for the records. As with most inquiries, information received leads to more questions.

1. Former High School/Middle School Principal Severance Package that was offered on August 16th, 2021. (Salary to be paid out annually $107,308)

Section 3. Consideration Provided by the Employer

a. From the date of resignation until June 30, 2022, the Employer (GCSD) will pay the remainder of his annual salary for the 2021-2022 contract year for the Employee, less deductions required by federal and state law or authorized deductions permitted by Board policy. These amounts will be paid by the Board periodically through the term of the contract pursuant to the normal payroll policy. These payments are allocated for the period of August 17, 2021, to June 30, 2022.

2. Newly hired High School/Middle School Principal Salary $100,000 (paid through June 30, 2022)

We are paying 2 Principal Salaries for the 2021-2022 school year totaling $207,308

Letter to the Editor by Cindi Krafve August 4th, 2021. Cindi questioned the Salary of our Superintendent for the 2020-2021 school year that was posted on the Department of Public Instruction’s website (DPI). The posted amount was $173,118 with $55,817 in Fringe Benefits. His contracted Salary was $147,118, a difference of $26,000 in his regular salary. His 2019-2020 posted salary on DPI’s website was $138,686. This jump in posted salary is what led to Cindi’s letter to the editor and the Community Comments at the August 9th School Board meeting. The School Board invited the District Accountant to explain why there was such a disparity in the actual, vs recorded salary. Per the School Board Minutes from the August 9th Board Meeting “Lisa contacted Ron and asked him to share. She wanted it noted and corrected, so we can move on. Ron Johnson, District Accountant, was present to share a 5 yearly salary for the superintendent. We hope things are cleared up community-wise. We have an annual audit yearly, and they go through all of that which is an outside party. Chuck stated that he met with the auditors and everything looked great and precise and thanked Ron and Tim for their work.” The data comes directly from the Skyward system (like an accounting software) according to Superintendent Tim Johnson, and gets uploaded to DPI. This caused some concern that there was that large of an automatic data upload error. Following is what we found through Open Records Requests.

Administrator Contract beginning July 1, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2022. (Contracts are renegotiated every year, but span 2 years, the following is information for the contract year 2020-2021)

Administrator Contracts are voted on by all School Board Members and signed by Board President, Board Treasurer, and Board Clerk.

G. A $6250 quarterly performance stipend ($25,000 annually) will be paid to the administrator to help offset the cost of graduate courses and other professional development opportunities.

Payroll Check for 01/08/2021 – Payment of performance stipend – $25000.00

Graduate Courses taken AND REIMBURSED for above mentioned contract year

Check# 73030 08/19/2020 Reimbursement for Viterbo – $5550

Check# 73533 12/03/2020 Reimbursement for Viterbo – $5500

Previous years information

Contract Year 2019-2020

Performance Stipend paid March 25th Payroll Check $25,000

Graduate Courses taken AND REIMBURSED 2019-2020

Check# 71584 08/22/2019 Reimbursement for Professional Development (Viterbo) $5925

Check# 72007 11/07/2019 Reimbursement for Professional Development (Viterbo) $3950

There should be no Reimbursement according to the “performance stipend” language in the Administrator Contract of Continuing Education courses. Currently we have records for the dates from 07/25/2018 to 09/10/2021.

Total Performance Stipend payments – $75,000

Total Reimbursement for Professional Development – $28,575 (supposed to be part of the Stipend Payment not “in addition to”) This appears to be a “double dipping” of Continuing Education expenses by the District Administrator.

Other language in the Administrator Contract

“The Administrator agrees to participate in professional meetings and college level courses for the purpose of improving and stimulating the Administrator’s professional growth. Participation shall be in accordance with Board rules, policies, and statutory requirements. Necessary expenses will be paid for these meetings with prior approval of the District Administrator” 

*The District Administrator approves his own expenses regarding the Professional Development/Continuing Education. There is no accountability or proof of coursework taken or completed.

On October 15th, 2021, we requested the Transcripts of coursework taken of the District Administrator to corroborate the reimbursement checks. The District Administrator’s response was “I will continue as required by law to comply with your open records requests. I will not, however, be fulfilling any requests that are outside of the scope of the requirements by law. Therefore, I will not be notarizing any permission for personal records to be released from any universities I have attended for your review.” Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) he has that right.

We did our due diligence to see where our district compares to others in the area. Again, this information was given through Open Records Requests.

Student Count – Glenwood City -682, Elk Mound – 1207, Mondovi – 923, Spring Valley – 740, Clear Lake – 602, New Richmond – 3,522 *These numbers will vary as student counts are done throughout the year and are tied to funding.

Elk Mound – Continuing Education Reimbursement $1600 maximum per year. Performance Stipend- $0

Mondovi – Nothing stated in Contract for Reimbursement. Performance Stipend – $0

Spring Valley – Continuing Education Reimbursement prior to Board approval and proof of course completion with at least a “B” Grade. Performance Stipend – $0

Clear Lake – Nothing stated in Contract for Reimbursement. Performance Stipend – $0

New Richmond – Continuing Education Reimbursement up to $2500 annually. Performance Stipend -$0

The performance stipend of $25,000 is where the additional salary in reporting was.

Contract wages for 2021-2022 school year of surrounding District Administrators mentioned above.

Glenwood City – $150,796.00 (plus the additional $25,000 performance stipend as noted above)

Elk Mound – $146,600.00 no stipend

Mondovi – $132,00.00 no stipend

Spring Valley – $140,000.00 no stipend

Clear Lake – $126,928.00 no stipend

It appears that, although we have the second to smallest student count in these comparable school examples, our District Administrator is at the top of the compensation ladder.

We need to be aware of where our tax dollars are being spent. There seems to be an imbalance in our school district compared to other surrounding districts. We are not writing this to call out the Administrators, they have negotiated GREAT contracts.

We simply want the taxpayers to be informed and make their own opinions based on the facts.

Amy Dopkins and

Nicole Miller

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