School: Greenwood, Wis. (2 March 2005)

Transcriber: Crystal Wendt

----Sources: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis.) Wed, Mar 2, 2005

Greenwood schools to push for consolidation despite referendum

By Jeni Lewis --Marshfield News-Herald

GREENWOOD - Greenwood School District voters will be asked to approve a $500,000, five-year budget addition on the April 5 ballot.

But the override referendum will not keep the School Board from looking into consolidation options with neighboring school districts.

"The school board approved a measure with Loyal to hire a company to do a financial consolidation feasibility study," said John Eitenmiller, Greenwood's interim superintendent. Loyal School Board has tabled making a decision on a study until after April 5, said board member Ken Loos.A consolidation study would investigate if two districts interested in consolidating would save money after joining together.

Greenwood also has a five-year financial plan approved with options in case the referendum does not pass April 5. The district is anticipating a $218,000 deficit under the state's current funding formulas and is facing roofing problems with an estimated cost of $280,000 to $300,000 to fix.

Since 1999, cuts of $641,436 in teachers, staffing, administration and busing have been made as the enrollment declined. Eitenmiller expects enrollment numbers to continue to drop - reducing the state aid the district receives.

Al Dallman is chairing the Yes Greenwood Schools committee to promote the referendum question to voters in the district. The committee is working to get information out, and plans to call people on April 5 to make sure they vote in the election.

"If we're going to continue as Greenwood School District, we need to pass this referendum," Dallman said. "Even if consolidation is an issue, we need to pass this and look at it to see if there are any districts willing to consolidate." If the referendum doesn't pass, Eitenmiller said he will go to the board in May with a recommended $218,000 in cuts, and he's down to cutting programs. Already, Greenwood has held two failed override referendums, one in 2001 for $325,000 reoccurring and one in 2002 for $325,000 for four years. "We have our work cut out for us, but it's more positive this time," Dallman said. He referred to all the cuts the district has made to balance the budgets over the past few years.

"Preserving the school in the community is my biggest concern," Dallman said. "It still may come to consolidation, but we need to pass this referendum so a study can be done."



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