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LETTER: Vote 'no' and ask for better plan

To the Editor:

I still say "no" to the Wrenshall school referendum.

The school gave a very nice presentation at the open meeting March 28. The meeting was well-organized and everyone had an opportunity to present concerns. Much of the justification for the upgrades is still not convincing, though. Many facility issues could be handled with regular maintenance which has, apparently, been neglected. And roof, window and boiler issues can be paid for with Long Term Facility Maintenance funds as noted on the Master Plan diagram from Krech Ojard on the school website.

It would seem to be logical to cap enrollment, given the inadequacy of the facilities, regardless of which explanation you subscribe to — overcrowding versus poorly organized spaces versus outdated buildings — seeing that the whichever problem may be creating safety issues for the children and staff. Indeed, several parents were concerned for their children after Mr. Zywicki spoke about the serious risks of holding phy-ed classes in the pole building/gymnasium. It's shocking to think of all the children who have survived PE in that place!

Or, maybe capping enrollment won't be necessary as, according to a table on page 4 of the Review and Comment document submitted by Krech Ojard, enrollment will actually be declining in the near future, from a high of 362 in 2018-19 to 342 in 2021-22.

It is probably realistic to expect declining numbers at Wrenshall School, despite optimism from those supporting this referendum, as birth rates have been steadily declining and there will be stiff competition for the student population from other schools in the area.

This project, which includes exotic things (for a small school) like a culinary arts kitchen, a CAD lab and a fitness/wellness center, seems a bit like trying to keep up with (or maybe get ahead of) the Joneses. I think we can do well by the children with a more responsible and realistic plan that also respects the taxpayers. Please vote "no" on April 18.

Cindy Bourn