Ashwaubenon referendum focuses of improving mental health of students

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ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY)- Voters in the Ashwaubenon School District will see two referendum questions on the ballot next month.

Early voting for the 2020 Presidential Preference Primary kicked off Monday in Bay County. (MGN)

One of them is asking for more than $10 million to cover the cost of a district wide facility improvement program and the other, focuses on mental health.

An informational meeting was held on Monday night.

In response to a recent survey the district is hoping to expand the number of people on staff to address concerns about mental health.

That is, if voters approve an operational referendum asking for $730,000 a year over a five year period.

"We took a youth risk behavior survey which most districts throughout Wisconsin took and the results of that showed a pretty high need, of a lot of kids that have anxiety in their life, a lot of kids who have even thought about or considered suicide," said Supt. Kurt Weyers.

Money from the referendum would cover the cost of several added positions including counselors, social workers, and two graduation coaches.

School Board Member Jennie Vyskocil added. "I think that we're seeing nationwide kids are just coming from a lot of different backgrounds and trauma and different things going on with them and we really just don't have the funds to provide what we need."

The extra staff would work with students at every grade level.

However voters would have to continuously approve the funding, with another referendum five years from now.

"We don't want to mislead the community though, we think this is going to have a wonderful impact on our students and in five years we're going to come back with the same referendum and support kids needs," Weyers said.

If the referendum passes, the district says the hiring process will begin right away with the new people scheduled to start this fall.