School board members met on Wednesday, Feb 8, and spoke to the public about the Honeywell project that would cost $1.3 million and the petition that has been launched against it. First, when president Teresa Earleywine asked for people who wished to speak publicly, Michelle Benesh asked a few questions to clarify her understanding of the energy savings that Honeywell would be guaranteeing. She then concluded that the project is good for the district.
Next, clerk Jim Wahl addressed the issue by pointing out that while no one is opposing the actual project, many feel that it should have been put up for a vote.
“It’s a community decision,” said member Paul Donovan. “I wish it could have been put into a referendum.” He continued on to explain that prior to September, he was unaware of the potential burden on taxpayers.
Buildings and Grounds director John King said that the middle school gym roof needs to be addressed proactively, because costs could rise dramatically if put into an emergency situation, adding that the district has been in discussions with Honeywell since 2010. Later, Tom Simpson asked the board to consider holding a special meeting concerning the petition circulating around town. Simpson also asked about how many signatures would be required to kill the Honeywell contract, explaining that he called both the Rock County and Green County clerks for a number without much of an answer.
Wahl, who will eventually be verifying all of the petition signees, did not know the exact number either and said he is waiting to hear from the state for the required number.
First, two related deadlines must be met. The 30-day window to petition the project ends on Feb. 17, a Friday. On Monday, Feb. 20, the district will either break the contract and pay $35,000 for the Honeywell study, or continue on with the partnership. “If the petition goes through, the Honeywell project is dead,” stated Wahl about how the petition verification will go. “Have we ever done this before? No. It’s a learning curve.”
Both Donovan and member Al Schneider volunteered to help Wahl verify the petitions during the three-day window between the 17th and 20th. Donovan agreed with Simpson’s request for the board to hold a special meeting, but member Michael Oellerich said that he didn’t feel it was necessary, because if Wahl receives a significant amount of petitions, it would be obvious that the contract needs to be cancelled by public mandate. “[I have] 560 petitions right here,” said Simpson, then handing Wahl a folder that looked to be about an inch and a half thick. Simpson explained that more petitions will be presented to Wahl before the Feb. 17 deadline. Earlier, show choir director Erik Meinertz introduced three male seniors after talking about the upcoming Feb. 25, “In The Spotlight” event. This is Brodhead High School’s 14th year of involvement with the competition.
Over 900 students in 18 groups will be in Brodhead competing, and there’s an expected total of about 3,000 attendees. “This competition really puts Brodhead on the map,” said Meinertz. He added that even other states know of Brodhead’s successful show choir by name.
One senior said that being a part of show choir is like being a part of a family, and it is hard work, but gratifying. In other news, high school principal Lenny Lueck said that he’s proud to say that 56 percent of the high school population is on the honor roll. In the senior class, 68 percent are on honor roll at the end of the first semester.
Additionally, superintendent Chuck Deery updated the board on the extended open enrollment period after Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law.
Deery warned the board to begin thinking about how many seats will be available per grade, because of the law change, which means parents have until April 30th to make their decisions. Previously, parents had three weeks to apply for open enrollment.