Voters in the Lodi School District will see a referendum question on their April ballot. At their Monday night meeting, School Board members unanimously passed the following resolution:
Whereas, the District currently has a 5 year referendum in the amount of $1,700,000 which expires after the 2021-2022 school year;Whereas, the District has ongoing maintenance and technological needs;Whereas, the District has ongoing operational needs to support instructional and extracurricular programs;
Whereas, the District desires to maintain career and technical educational offerings;
Whereas, the proposed referendum would be comprised of $3,850,000 is for operational needs and $2,130,000 is for facility upgrades;
Whereas, the District’s mill rate for the 2021-2022 school year is $11.11;
Whereas, the District projects that passage of the above referendum will decrease the District’s mill rate to equal to or less than $11.00 for the 2022-2023 school year.
Therefore, Be it Resolved as Follows:The School District of Lodi, Columbia and Dane Counties, Wisconsin hereby authorizes the placement of the following question on the ballot in the spring election on April 5, 2022 Shall the School District of Lodi, Columbia and Dane Counties, Wisconsin, be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $5,980,000 per year for five years, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year and ending with the 2026-2027 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of maintenance and technology upgrades, maintaining and supporting instructional and extracurricular programs, and maintaining career and technical education offerings.
District Administrator Vince Breunig outlined District plans going forward. “We will put together informational sessions regarding the referendum for staff and… in each of communities that make up the School District of Lodi just to make sure that we’re providing information.”
On a different election related matter, it was reported that five candidates had filed papers for two positions on the Board. This necessitates that a primary be held in February to trim the slate to four names to appear on the April ballot. The five are incumbents Julie McKiernan and William Wipperfurth and challengers Scott Bilse, Heather Baron and Nathan Dennis
Breunig said, “Our Optimist Club is pretty good about putting together Optimist Club forums. We’ll also talk about the possibility of trying to film it and be able to post it then, on YouTube or something like that, so that people who can’t come will be able to watch it.”
The District Administrator explained that the School District would likely be footing the entire bill for the February election. “As of right now, in our municipalities, this will be the only election in February, which will mean that the School District will have to pay for the entire election in all these municipalities.”
On other matters, Administrator Breunig addressed the ongoing COVID pandemic and mitigation efforts. He reported, “Last week we had 56 cases within the District of COVID-19. We had a bunch again today.” As reported on the District’s website, a third of those cases were at the Middle School and two-thirds were at the High School. To put the total number of cases into context, during the current school year, the District has recorded double-digit weekly numbers of COVID cases only four times previously. Also, the 56 cases far exceeded the previous one-week high of 17.
The District’s medical advisory committee met on December 21st. According to Breunig, “We put together recommendations, but then the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) over winter break came out with new guidelines which were incorporated.” He cited the definition of who should be considered fully vaccinated as an example of how the CDC’s guidance is evolving.
The recommendations, which continue to include universal masking, don’t include any major changes. However, Breunig noted, “They did change the quarantine limitations, again based on the CDC, so instead of ten days, it’s now down to five.”
Directors also unanimously approved revisions to District policies regarding public participation at Board meetings and Committee meetings.
William Wipperfurth, the Chair of the Policy Committee, addressed a perception held by some in the community that the School Board was trying to restrict people from expressing their views during the public input portion of meetings. “That’s not correct. If we wanted to do that, we don’t have to have citizen input. And there are some school districts that don’t.”
Wipperfurth continued, “But what we wanted to do is set up a set of rules that people could understand. For example, we want to hear from our citizens. And, in here, we define our citizens as people that live in the school district, have children in the school district or work here. It’s not the place or the time to hear from someone other than that. And we’ve had that in the past over the years.
“The other thing is we wanted to get it back toward three minutes. We feel that in three minutes, we should be able to get you to tell us what’s important. But we’re not here to have somebody read ten pages or more of a script.
“So, we were just trying to go back. This is real similar to the citizen input policy we had before it got revised about three or four years ago. So, we’re just trying to be efficient with everybody’s time, get good information and move on.”