Wendtland: Was it the plan all along?
When the last DeForest Area School District (DASD) referendum was put together, they cut out funding for astro turf. Now, the DASD is going to pull money out of the budget to install turf at a cost of $1.2 million.
Some things to think about … In the referendum were additional funds to attract and retain good teachers, but the school board gave the union a 0% raise. That will make teachers feel good and keep them here, right?
We received reports from the state that our math scores dropped by 10 points in one year. A school board member said we need to start showing improvement in the next three to four years. What about the kids that need help now?
A large part of the cost of the referendum is for athletics and administration. What should be the focus of the school district? Our students and their education, not their team sports. Not just fixes for the future, but how to help students who need help now. You do that with good teachers and teacher aides, and time-tested approaches to education. Not with astro turf. If the athletic fields are in such bad shape, then some administrators failed in doing their job. Remember, you have to replace the turf every 10-plus years, which will take more money away from education again.
What about community support? An April 24, 2019 article in the DeForest Times-Tribune talks about the community that was going to raise $415,000. That did not happen and now the DASD is going to pay $1.2 million. What about the score boards? What about the link between turf and cancer and soccer players? It’s recommended turf be evaluated for firmness every year, few comply with the rule, and athletes play on turf that may be out of compliance. I doubt that the DASD can find the funds to do that and if it does it will be at the cost of education of our students.
It is time that the school board stop focusing on always agreeing. Focus on the education of our most valued assets (our current and future students). The School Board needs to also keep in mind what the taxpayer can afford.