LETTER: Toxic environment in schools not good

To the editor:

I read in the Shawano Leader that the Shawano School District is experiencing a $2 million deficit this coming year. Also, there seems to be a toxic environment in the district such that teachers want to leave our district and teach in other school districts, or some want to take early retirement. Also, there are more students leaving our district than coming in. When Dr. Richard Hess was superintendent, the opposite was true.

One way the district has gotten into financial trouble is, in some previous years, the administration took money out of the fund balance trying to lower taxes. When making out a school budget, you do not, and I repeat do not, take money out of the fund balance trying to lower taxes. When creating a school budget, you try to put up to 2% of the total budget into the fund balance free from all accounts. In case of an emergency such as a boiler failure, roof leak, etc., you have money to handle the situation.

The school district’s obligation is to provide a good, sound educational opportunity for students so they have the basic knowledge to go into the field of work they choose to do. That costs money. There is talk about cutting teachers and classes in order to balance the budget. This would only make a bad situation worse. Why is there no talk about a referendum exceeding our revenue limits to get us out of debt?

Sometimes, as a board member, you have to make tough decisions for the benefit of the students. It might not always be in agreement with public opinion. If the top administration is responsible for the toxic environment in our schools, maybe it is time for a change.

Don Pahlow, Shawano