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 editor,

The restructuring plan proposed for the Wausau School District brings with it some serious problems.  I am completely against closing neighborhood schools and even more opposed to the idea of making one high school.  

In making one school you will be forcing students and their families to travel much farther. This creates unnecessary strain on families trying to provide transportation for their children. Many families will have students in multiple schools and with the changes there will be much more travel time needed. 

Many students of driving age do not have access to a vehicle and if they do you are putting more teenage drivers on the road for longer commutes than if you keep the middle schools and high schools as is.  There will be more traffic and congestion as well. I traveled across town this weekend for Rock Infused Orchestra, an amazing collaborative program that exists within the current structure, and was amazed at how backed up traffic was leaving Wausau East. It added considerable time to our drive across town and all I could think was how ridiculous it would be to make my children deal with that every day.  

Also, in making one school for each age group you are taking away opportunities!  Instead of having activities, arts and sports at two middle schools and high schools you will only have one. This means fewer kids will have opportunities to participate and some kids will simply fall through the cracks without the positives provided by being involved with their school and activities.  

Another serious issue I have is with reallocating funds from the referendum that was passed.  The community voted to put money into neighborhood schools.  Now, instead of following through with that you are simply going to move that money wherever you want in favor of closing schools.  This is ridiculous and not what the community agreed to.  It is a huge red flag.  

“Multi-Purpose” Building?  Why aren’t you calling it what it is?  It is a sports complex.  I’m not saying sports do not have a place in school, they absolutely do but they should not be our only concern!  Funneling so much money into this instead of the actual schools and academics is wrong. 

The board continues to bring up decreasing enrollment as a reason for this proposal.  All I know is that if you move forward with this plan your enrollment will take a much bigger hit.  I know many families will leave the district.  It will be far more convenient to go to DCE or Marathon than all the way across Wausau.  

These are just some of my biggest concerns.  I truly have not been able to see any positives about this proposal.  Our children have already dealt with so much uncertainty over the last few years due to COVID and they desperately need structure and stability moving forward not more upheaval.  Community schools and a sense of belonging are vitally important.  Please listen to what the community is telling you and do not move forward with this restructuring.   

Mary Shafarik, Wausau