School districts educated voters

School districts promoted their plans so voters were well-informed going to the polls.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 10:30 PM CST
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MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) - Voters passed school referendums in districts big and small across Northeast Wisconsin on Tuesday. Menasha’s referendum passed with 66% of the vote, and Pulaski’s two questions passed with 53% and 59% of the vote.

School districts made sure to educate voters before they went to the polls.

Menasha got the word out before the school year began that Maplewood Middle School could require a major upgrade, and voters took that personally. That upgrade will cost almost $100 million, but it would replace the current school building with another that separates 5th and 6th grades from 7th and 8th.

The district says construction will begin in 2024, but excitement started Tuesday night after the vote.

“I think we’ve put together a good plan, and my team did a nice job of getting the word out there and answering the questions, and just helping folks be informed voters. They came through for us, so we’re very happy to now take our turn and come through for them as we get this project moving,” Superintendent Chris VanderHeyden said.

Pulaski’s two referendums on the ballot were to free up money, between $1.5 million and $1.9 million per year, much of it for retention and hiring more teachers. The other sought $69.8 million to upgrade three schools.

Hillcrest Elementary needs the most work. Superintendent Allison Space tells Action 2 News that teachers were literally using closets as teaching and office space last year. But Sunnyside Elementary in Sobieski and Pulaski High School will also get much-needed attention, thanks to voters.

“We really did look at our populated areas, and we’re building the school out at Hillcrest to what the needs will be for the future. We’re taking care of the needs at Sunnyside Elementary for what the needs are currently and what they will be in the future. I think that, to the public and to our community members, really was helpful for them to see that we were doing it correctly,” Space said.