May 1, 2018

Dear Staff and Community Members,

Our referendum failed. The Board is already discussing how to approach another in November. The “operational” question must be a separate issue. The operational referendum is imperative for us to continue quality education for each of our children.

Fallout:

  1. We knew we would have to non-renew 22-23 teachers if the referendum did not pass.
  2. Administrators began discussing teachers, from each building, long before the referendum, just in case. We really did not like this activity, at all, but we had to be prepared. We met immediately after the referendum results, to finalize the list. State law requires non-renewals to occur no later than April 30th. Teachers, who wish, are entitled to meet with the school board. Final non-renewals must occur by May 15th. So, we are under strict time parameters, by law.
  3. The second round of non-renewals occurred, as a result of $506,030.88 obligation that auditors stated had to be dealt with from the fund balance, a student open enrollment increase, which equated to $676,778, and a revenue limit decrease of $690,310, due to declining enrollment. So, we had to plan for another reduction of $1,873,088, which equates to another 16-17 teachers. (The hard part is that we never know exactly how many students will leave. We use average numbers from past years. If they all leave, we may have too many teachers hired. If they all stay, we can hire more. State laws hamper doing what we all would like to do.) We lose $5 million to open enrollment that your taxes pay for. If we can keep students here, we retain the $5 million. Hence, no referendum needed. Our students do very well here, as evidenced, by the state report card.
  4. Some teachers and aids, who were not receiving equitable pay, for a number of years, received appropriate increases. This amounted to approximately $600,000. This is where the thought of closing a school developed. Darien was chosen because Turtle Creek has more classrooms and had accommodated 600 students, in the past. This would replace 6-7 more teacher non-renewals. We will provide orientation for students and parents for those going to Turtle Creek and Phoenix. Students moving with IEP’S will also be accommodated, for a smooth transition.

  5. As our student enrollment increases, the number of open-enrollment requests significantly decrease AND we can open Darien, quite easily, as we all prefer.
  6. Other staff cuts: Two administrators, French program due to very poor student interest, one high school counselor, middle school police liaison, insurance changes, two technology integrators (included with teacher numbers), summer school.
  7. We are well on our way to being a quality district and providing for the needs of all of our students. Our achievements continue to increase. Our teachers continue to receive awards and accolades, as our students. WE MUST ALL UNITE and advocate for quality! Our operational referendum must pass so most students stay here.. We absolutely need this to maintain our quality academic, vocational and personne! Our staff will handle increased class sizes because we have quality staff! If students leave, class sizes will decrease. Please be loyal. WE will get through this together! “Sometimes we have to go through the bad to get to the good.” Winston Churchill said “Never, never, never give up.” Napoleon said, “Circumstances, I make the circumstances.” So, let’s make the circumstances, not give-up and continue our quest for continued improvement. By working together, for our district, we can make this happen! We were right there!
  8. We want to have more students, call back some of our teachers and open Darien soon!
  9. We plan to host some meetings to discuss the failed referendum and what the community will support before the Board approves a resolution for November. Please try to attend, I want your input. These will occur beginning in July and continue into August, 2018. Check our website for dates and locations.
  10. We have maintained programs, at all levels; Advanced Placement, Agriculture, Automotive and Technical Education courses, Business, Music and Art, Family and Consumer Education, Dual Language, articulated Gateway classes etc. We did not cut programs, except for French due to very low student interest, but not before attempting to attract more students by offering it at Phoenix for a year first. Appropriate, updated and consistent curriculum, at all grade levels, will continue to be utilized to educate our children.

  11. DDSD has made great strides, in our scores, for the State of Wisconsin report card, as published, by the DPI. We will continue to push for consistency and higher scores, knowing that each year, we have the ability, within our district, to achieve “Significantly Exceeds Expectations,” on the state report card!!!!!!!!!

  12. WE CAN DO THIS, BY WORKING TOGETHER!

Respectfully,

Dr. Robert Crist
Superintendent

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