The School District of Milton in many instances is darned if they do and darned if they don't.
Some are saying information about the referendum was not shared soon enough.
Information about the referendum is available on the school district website www.milton.k12.wi.us/district/referendum_2019.cfm.
What has already taken place? The board held a referendum community open house at 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at Harmony Elementary School, 6 p.m. March 20 at the middle school and Breakfast with the Board at 7 a.m. March 21 at the Milton Family Restaurant. An open house was also held March 31 at Milton High School from 10 a.m. to noon.
Two weeks prior to the election, a reader asked us what efforts were being taken to promote the referendum. Valid question.
Another reader remarked she had received a newsletter from the school district early this month. That newsletter had no information about the referendum. A referendum flier was delivered to mailboxes less than a week before the Election Day. (Some had already voted. Others could find value in having a flier near the top of their mail pile or possibly still on the kitchen table when voting day arrived.)
On the Milton school district Facebook page, school board members and school district principals and staff talk about what improvements will be made at each building if the referendum passes. Via the Facebook site, there are links to videos.
On March 21, a pre-referendum communications meeting took place at the district office. When one reader learned this, she said isn’t that too late?
On March 28, the school district has an advertisement in the Milton Courier talking about the referendum. (In case anyone is wondering, that is permissible. In “Advocating for School Referendums,” the Wisconsin Association of School Boards in the September 2016 issue of Wisconsin School News says no district funds or district resources can be expended for referendum advocacy (i.e. activities that expressly encourage a “yes” or “no” vote). Referendum education materials created (and paid for) by the school district need to be neutral.)
Should more efforts have been made to promote what the referendum entails and at what cost to taxpayers?
In this instance, it’s possible the school district is darned if they do and darned if they don't.
The week prior to an election, the Milton Courier does not publish election letters. This has been a long-standing practice and a step taken to provide time to correct grievous errors.
When we write an editorial the week before the election, we have been criticized for speaking about the election when others are not allowed to write letters. The newspaper is the voice of the community and should help the community go in a direction that’s best for all.
We are darned if we do and darned if we don't.
Some, including a school board member, have said the $60 million facility referendum is a referendum on the administration. But is it? Some have asked for the resignation of the district’s top two leaders and of the school board president. If a facility referendum fails in the Milton school district, there is no guarantee that anyone will resign. If the referendum fails, we are guaranteed that buildings will not be improved. If the referendum fails, the district will have struck out three times. It is unlikely costs will go down. At the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce candidate forum, all school board members said they were in favor of the referendum. Since then, one candidate says based on the actions of three individuals, the referendum should not be approved at this time. One way or the other, the referendum will impact the community spirit.
Taxpayers, too, will be darned if they do, darned if they don’t.