Letter to the editor

As Sun Prairie community members, we have shared experiences, but also individual experiences based on where we live. These individual experiences do not divide us. Instead they are an important acknowledgement in order for our community to come together and stay unified at a time of growth.

A group of citizens asked the question about how to ensure that people who experience our community in different ways are invited to run and have a seat at the table for the Sun Prairie School Board.

From this question came the Petition for Apportionment. Almost 600 people signed the petition, making it an agenda item for discussion and vote at the Annual Sun Prairie Area School District Electors meeting on Monday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Sun Prairie High School, 888 Grove St.

Here are some points to consider:

• The East and West High School Boundaries were used as a well studied dividing line with a similar number of people in each area. The areas will only change in the future if there is a new petition. School Board members will still represent the entire community and will not be assigned to represent only the high school in the boundary they live in.

• There would be no immediate change to School Board members. The change would roll out over a three-year time period. Current School Board members would decide at the end of their term whether or not they will run again.

• Other larger sized common districts in Dane County also have apportioned their school boards (i.e. Middleton, Verona, Waunakee, Deforest). A school district with all at-large seats (SPASD current system) is the default that remains in place in many other common districts in the area and the state.

• School Board members are stewards of our tax dollars and should live throughout our community. Currently all 7 board members could conceivably live on the same block so this change seeks to avoid major decisions being made by one demographic area.

• This changes HOW we vote. Currently when you cast a second or third vote you can impact the success of your first vote.

With the change, each seat would be its own race. Currently School Board elections are the only time voters pick 2-3 people from a pool of candidates. This is not how we vote for city council or for county, state or national representatives. All of those are apportionment voting. Apportionment voting is more democratic.

What will not change is:

• Anyone eligible in our community can still run for a school board seat any year. Because there are three seats in each district that are three-year terms, each boundary will have an open seat each year.

• All eligible people within the Sun Prairie Area School District are able to sign any candidate’s nomination papers.

• All voters will still vote on all seven school board seats (east and west) and the at-large seat.

• School district and school board responsibilities are outlined in Wisconsin state law and any policies/practices that are currently in place will remain.

Sun Prairie is growing and setting into the future. This change is a way of ensuring there are people that live in the various areas of our community representing us.

The focus of this change is on unity, not division. We believe this is a more equitable way of voting and ensures more equitable representation.

We look forward to the discussion at the Annual Elector meeting on Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at Sun Prairie High School and encourage you to vote YES for our growing community.

Respectfully,

Joy Matthews

Lisa Goldsberry

Staci Uebersetzig

Tracy Frank

Sun Prairie

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