Wausau Pilot & Review

Wausau residents can weigh in Monday on a range of school policies and proposals, from school board member salaries to school lunches and the tax levy for debt retirement, among others.

Monday’s annual meeting of the Wausau School District presents a unique opportunity for Wausau voters to allow their voices to be heard. The district is considering eight resolutions during this year’s meeting.

The annual school district meeting plays a special role in governing 372 of the state’s 421 districts, in which electors have special powers reserved to them as a body, according to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

Often described as “grassroots democracy in action,” the annual meeting provides district residents with an opportunity to critique the operation of the school district, according to the WASB. It is also considered a good time for the school board and administrative staff to help the community focus on the achievements, needs and future of the district.

State law requires that every common and union high school district hold an annual meeting, held at a district school or the nearest available place designated by the school board.

Wausau’s meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday at the John Muir Middle School Auditorium, 1400 West Stewart Ave., Wausau. A meeting of the Board’s Education/Operations Committee meeting will be held just prior, at 5 p.m. at the same venue.

Proposals are listed on the agenda of the annual meeting and include setting the tax levy for the General Fund at $30,665,024, with $662,200 earmarked for the Community Service Fund for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The tax levy for the Debt Service Fund, including long-term debt, will be set at $14,164,273 if the resolution passes.

Also on the agenda: furnishing school lunches, reimbursing expenses by school board members and reviewing the salaries of school board members. Since 2005, school board members have received a $3,100 annual salary, something that could change at Monday’s meeting. For a complete review of the resolutions that any Wausau resident can vote on, click here.

Budget proposal items, including tax levies, were also put up for discussion for the Education/Operations Committee meeting of the Board on Aug. 23.

Wausau residents are eligible to vote on all of the resolutions that have been listed for the annual meeting.

Education/Operations meeting to discuss public comments

The Education/Operations Committee meeting has listed two items for discussion and one of them – policy change regarding public comments – is a potential action item, meaning the Board could take a decision on it.

The other topic is on community engagement project. According to the agenda, a survey on school facilities will be sent out beginning Monday, Sept. 27. The survey deadline is Oct. 17.

The two WSD meetings come against a backdrop of changes regarding COVID-19 safety protocols and a controversial incident at Wausau West High School where a teacher donned Native American costume on Wednesday, forcing the principal to apologize for the “huge mistake” two days later.