School board president silent on student mental health

In the Dec. 14 Waunakee Community School District Ad-Hoc Medical Committee meeting, mental health professionals provided perspective on students’ current mental health. Thank you to board member Brian Hoefer for advocating for this. The feedback from these professionals was sobering. They reported increasing levels of anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, disrupted sleep schedules across all ages of children in our community and increases in reports of suicidal ideation in middle school and freshman females.

At the conclusion of the mental health experts’ report, school board President David Boetcher said nothing. No comments, questions, concerns or suggestions on action the board, staff or community should take to support our students. In the subsequent Board meeting, when it came time to discuss the Ad-Hoc Medical Committee, Mr. Boetcher simply said “Most of you were in attendance so unless there are any questions or comments, we’ll move on.” No one spoke.

Our children are struggling. Especially our 7th-12th grade students. They are struggling with anxiety, depression and lack of motivation, to name a few. Our board has heard this from mental health experts, Student Services staff and from countless parents and even students themselves who have written to the board or spoke at board meetings. And yet, when mental health was finally part of the presentation at the ad-hoc medical committee meeting, our school board president was silent. Silent during that presentation and silent in engaging the full school board and/or administration on what we are or should be doing to help our kids.

All of our board members should be speaking up and advocating for our students, but in times of difficulty, we need someone who can lead. Where is Mr. Boetcher’s leadership and advocacy for our students? How is he representing our community if he is not speaking up on mental health despite repeated parent feedback?

If you agree that the community deserves better, please sign the petition for a recall election. This petition enables a subsequent election where voters will be able to have their voices heard this April rather than waiting until Mr. Boetcher’s scheduled re-election in Spring of 2022.

Kris Beutel

Kaufmann announces run for village trustee

I have lived in Waunakee since 2004. Three of my four grandparents were born and raised here, as well as my mom. Family members owned businesses like Koltes Lumber and F.C. Raemisch & Son. Great-aunt Eleanor Carberry reopened our library after its closure during World War II.

I’ve attended school here K-12 and will graduate from the high school in June. I feel fortunate to have grown up in a community that has supported me in my many endeavors, ranging from my Clear the Creek initiative to open Six Mile Creek for paddling, to photographing over 10,000 gravestones across the region as a volunteer photographer and researcher for findagrave.com.

Now, I would like to have the opportunity to thank the community that has always been there for me by representing you as a trustee on the village board. I have served on the village Housing Task Force, and currently I am the student member on the Dane County Parks Commission and one of three students on the school district’s Diversity and Inclusion Ad Hoc Committee. I’ve attended nearly all Village Board and Plan Commission meetings for the past three years, and I can count those I’ve missed on one hand. I have learned a lot along the way and the knowledge I’ve gained through frequent meeting attendance would allow for an easy transition into the role of trustee.

I imagine many are surprised that running for office is a step I’m taking, certainly at the present point in my life. However, trustee Erin Moran paved the way for me, and for that I am thankful. The Waunakee electorate has demonstrated it is willing to both elect and reelect a young person to the village board, and that it is ready (and willing) for the next generation to serve as leaders in our community. I’m prepared to get to work and represent all residents to the best of my ability. I plan on serving the entire two-year term, and I hope to have your vote this spring. Please remember to vote by or on April 6, whether absentee or in-person.

Sam Kaufmann

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