Letters to the Editor

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School Board asks for vote

To the Editor:

In less than one week, residents of the Gillett School District will be voting on a referendum where the district is asking for authorization to exceed the state-imposed revenue limits by $600,000 for each of the next three years.

As discussed at various meetings held to provide information to the residents as well as question-and-answer mailings, the state-imposed revenue limits do just that – limit the revenue Gillett can receive between state funding and local property taxes. These limits have been in effect since 1993, and Gillett has been a low revenue-limit school since that time, one of the lowest in the state. The state has recognized the funding issues and is beginning to slowly increase the revenue limits, but that will take time. In the meantime, schools must ask their taxpayers for additional funding.

This November, there will be 38 Wisconsin schools with operating referendums on the ballot, and another 44 schools with referendums to issue debt for capital improvements. In the last five years, over 250 referendums to increase the school’s revenue limit have been on ballots. Unfortunately, it is the way schools must operate.

A valid question posed by the residents is “What will the money be used for?” The answer to that question is to 1) stop the spending of our fund balance (reserves) and 2) be able to continue to offer everything that makes Gillett a great school. It is not to be used for anything tangible like additional classrooms, expanding the buildings or capital improvements. There is no new spending with this referendum, just to maintain the fund balance where it should be instead of dropping year after year.

Our fund balance is projected to decrease to 20 percent of operating costs, compared to 38 percent in 2016. Auditors recommend that the fund balance be kept at 30 percent of expenses. We feel it is critical to prevent this fund balance from decreasing below current levels.

Last April, the school board sent a survey to all district residents. The responses included comments such as: “The staff is committed to providing a high quality education for the students”; “Whether you are talking to an administrator, teacher or support staff, they are always positive, energetic, informative and helpful”; “Keeping the community informed with newsletters and mail publications”; and “There are no cuts that can be made without compromising the education of the students.”

The school board took the time to study the survey results to determine what the residents think and want in their school, and to see if a referendum was feasible. The board is committed to keeping this a school students and all residents can be proud of, and we feel we are following the direction from the survey.

If you have to register to vote, you can contact your municipal clerk. You can also register on Election Day where you will vote.

We ask that the residents of the Gillett School District continue to support your school and vote for the referendum Nov. 6. You can contact us with any questions or comments. You can also submit any questions at TigerPride@gillett.k12.wi.us.

The Gillett School Board: Ron Lenz, Preston Peterson, Tracy Winkler, Cliff Gerbers, Jamie Heroux, James Karls, Jamie Young

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Planning to vote no

To the Editor:

Here a while back on the internet or Facebook, our administrator said that we need this referendum. If we don’t get this referendum that the school will have to start cutting back on programs. You see, they always have to put threats out there to get what they want. Stooping so low as to use the kids of this district to try to obtain a referendum. What the school board and administrator would like you to believe is that they are broke. What they won’t tell you is how much money they have in reserve. Also, what they seem to leave out is how much money they are getting from the state. In the last two referendums, they received hundreds of thousands of dollars and because they had received that much money, there would have been no need for those referendums at all. Understand we have less kids in school now, and the need to keep all of those teachers is not money smart. They seem to want their cake and eat it, too. To you school board members, you are not there to watch out for the teachers; you are there to protect our money, the taxpayers’ money and to do everything in your power, which may include laying off teachers you don’t need. If two teachers were laid off, the district could save a couple of hundred thousand dollars. Nothing against the teachers, its a matter of money. More than likely this referendum is not needed. To you who voted no the last time, do it again. Let’s show this school board that we mean business and make them do what needs to be done.

I am asking you to vote no.

Del Miller,

Gillett

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Impressed by Gillett schools, staff

To the Editor:

My family and I recently had an opportunity to relocate back to northeast Wisconsin. When making the decision of what school district our children would attend, we ultimately decided on Gillett.

Our decision was based not only on family connections but also the school district’s solid reputation. The school’s consistent high test scores, optimum class sizes and variety of learning opportunities stood out from the rest. We couldn’t be happier with our decision, as our children have been welcomed and acclimated to their classes right from the beginning.

I’m really impressed with how far the staff at Gillett School has gone to make my family feel welcome. When I learned that Gillett needed a referendum, I attended meetings to get information. I now understand why a referendum is needed and what it means to not only my family but the community.

I learned that almost all surrounding schools in the area have already passed referendums. I would like to see Gillett do the same to keep the current programs and opportunities for all students. I just attended the Elementary School Harvest Hoedown and was extremely proud to see the parents and staff work together to provide a safe activity for our kids.

I encourage all the community members to show their support and vote “yes” on Nov. 6.

A proud Gillett School District parent,

Emily A. Limberg,

Gillett