Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

Dear Dr. Hilts and the Board,

I write to you today, along with members of the media, to ask some pointed questions.  I’m sure like many of our phone calls, letters, emails and records requests that we probably won’t receive a response. 

Families and their students, as well as your teaching staff (a majority of which want to return to in person learning) are suffering needlessly. My children, as well as others, are begging me to utilize school of choice to send them to another district. 

I’m not alone in this dilemma. I’ve been hoping and praying for a miracle and for some common sense to be utilized within the Administration and Board.  Instead, it appears that a biased and political agenda is being perpetuated onto the WSD Students and Parents.  This bias and political agenda is clearly evident on several of the board members’ very own Facebook pages where they don’t even try to hide their political affiliations.  This continues to be ignored and it is unfair to the tax paying constituents of this district. 

Why is the WSD Board not conducting in person meetings?  DCE’s Board is doing in person meetings as well as many other school boards and county boards in the area.  Furthermore, why is the public not being allowed to attend these meetings in person and to speak?  We are being muted on the virtual calls and only allowed to send in emails. 

Why did the board ignore the initial survey with 2500 respondents, 80% of which responded with wanting their children back in school?  Why did the board ignore a circulated petition with over 800 signatures submitted to the board on August 10th?  Denouncing it because some signatures were from out of the district?  Careful research would demonstrate there are many families who use school of choice outside of the district. 

Why is the board ignoring the increasing attrition taking place within the WSD at this very moment?  Parents and students are leaving the district by the dozens.  Choosing better options for their families.  These are students that will probably never come back to the district because of the failed leadership exhibited during this situation by the WSD Administration and Board. 

Since students and families are leaving the district in droves your student population is surely decreasing which must mean the referendum the District and Board are currently discussing is no longer necessary?  Perhaps the media should do some digging to determine the attrition rate within the WSD and why a $155M referendum would be necessary. 

We’re hearing that the WSD and staff aren’t even fully prepared to conduct virtual learning.  It’s our understanding that half of the cameras the teachers are to be using in their class to conduct virtual learning aren’t even delivered yet and obviously not installed.  If this is in fact the case it sounds like many students won’t receive the supposed “improved and superior virtual learning experience” that the WSD has promised them.

I know the Board won’t call a special session because in order to tackle a situation like this it requires leadership.  You’ll wait until September 14th (the next board meeting) and, if we’re lucky, you’ll allow students to return in October or November.  But the damage will already have been done.  You have an opportunity next week to gather as leaders of the School Board and demonstrate to your constituents and the greater Wausau community that we’re all wrong about your leadership. 

I hope you will take the hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls you are receiving seriously.  I hope you will listen to your student body.  I hope you will look to surrounding school districts in Marathon County, the state and the country.  I hope you will look at the facts around you.  I hope you’ll make the right choice before it’s too late for our children.  

Jon Creisher, Wausau