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Educate or Maintain

  • Written by Bob Gabrielson
  • Published in News

(4/8/13) School officials say they've been forced to choose between teaching kids and doing maintenance on the buildings where those kids learn.

Gannett's Wisconsin Newspapers said public schools throughout the Badger State proposed 183 referendums between 2006-and-last year, just to get funding for maintenance. That's twice as many referendums sought between 1994-and-2000. Mark VanDerZee of the Menasha School District said schools used to be able to do preventive maintenance, but not anymore. Neillsville Administrator John Gaier (guy-er) said buildings put up in the 1990's need major repairs for the first time but quote, "the money is not there." State-mandated school revenue limits have forced districts to go to referendums to get the maintenance funds they need. Pulaski Superintendent Mel Lightner said his district had zero money for maintenance and a whole bunch of needs back in 2009. And even after laying off six custodians, he realized the district would never catch up without a referendum. Oshkosh had a boiler break down in one of its schools, and an elementary building in Sheboygan had to close because it was beyond repair. State Senate Education Committee chair Luther Olsen of Ripon says he'd like to approve more funding for schools – but he doesn't believe lawmakers will agree to preventive maintenance.

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