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Weekly Meeting Recap

Green Bay School Board
Proposed referendum update

The School Board reviewed an updated list of proposed referendum projects during its work session Monday, July 11, as the need to take action on whether to send the plan to a referendum vote in November would need to happen at the next regular board meeting.

“This is laid out a little bit differently than it has been in the past,” Chief of Operations Officer Josh Patchak said.

Patchak said the updated list provides more specific details of the proposed $92.6 million referendum – $43.4 million of it going toward district-wide delayed facility projects, energy efficiency and student and community safety.

“LED lights are kind of going in anywhere,” he said. “We took advantage of not having students in our building during COVID-19 to replace a lot of our lights with LED lights. So, those are ways that we are also conserving energy.”

Patchak said the remaining $48 million is slated for secondary school upgrades – which include expanded commons, upgrades to athletic facilities, asphalt replacement, auditorium renovations and more.

“I think in the past, you’ve probably just seen athletic and performance spaces or something like that,” Patchak said. “Here it’s really laid out what comprises that $48 million in secondary school upgrades.”

Board members will have to decide whether or not to go to referendum, as well as approve the language for the ballot at the next regular board meeting, scheduled for Monday, July 25.

N.E.W. School of Innovation and NWTC partnership
Northeast Wisconsin (N.E.W.) School of Innovation Principal Jason Johnson gave the board an update on the partnership between N.E.W. and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC), which allows students to explore different career pathways and classes to discover future interests.

He said students also participate in work-based learning – where they work part of the day in paid positions at local manufacturing companies through the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance, as well as take dual-credit courses.

Johnson said students earn credits they need to graduate high school, as well as college credits they can put toward a degree at NWTC or transfer to the college/university of their choosing.

Johnson said NWTC has been supportive of N.E.W. School of Innovation since it opened in 2019, and the support has not only continued, but grown, as the college consistently provides more space and opportunities for students on campus.

“From the very beginning, we partnered with NWTC to provide opportunities for our students,” he said. “They’re not only dedicated to this vision, they really are working to make sure that we have a space there for the long term as well.”

COVID policies
Also up for discussion at Monday’s work session were two motions regarding the district’s COVID-19 policies.

The first motion, if approved at the board’s regular board meeting, would discontinue contact-tracing and subsequent quarantine/isolation currently performed by district staff and make those actions, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the responsibility of affected families/staff.

The second motion, if approved, would remove language from the district’s face coverings policy that currently would trigger a special meeting if Brown County exceeded 400 cases per 100,000 people for a period longer than seven days to determine whether additional mitigation measures should be implemented.

Board Member Andrew Becker questioned the necessity of removing the language.

“I don’t see any benefit in dropping that rule that if we hit 400 per 100,000 for seven days, which would be double where we’re at now,” he said. “All it does is trigger a meeting. It doesn’t trigger automatic masks. I guess I don’t see why we wouldn’t keep that. I see no harm in keeping something that triggers a new meeting to discuss that.”

Trustee James Lyerly said he was concerned about the accuracy of the data being used.

“How confident are we in those numbers and our ability to, with confidence, communicate that there really are 400 cases per 100,000?” he said. “Because it’s my understanding that most people are testing at home. They’re not making contact with public health, so if we’re going to have a gating protocol, it has to be built on confident numbers. If we don’t have confident numbers, I’m really interested in removing the gating protocol.”

Other sources of data that could be used to trigger the meeting were discussed, with a particular interest across the board in hospitalization rates.

Both motions will come before the board for action at the July 25 meeting.

Howard Village Board
Land purchase approved for potential home of stormwater pond

Much of the Monday, July 11 Village Board meeting was spent discussing a proposal from staff to purchase a two-acre parcel with a small home and detached garage at 3705 Glendale Ave.

Village Administrator Paul Evert said the parcel – whose former owner, James Shipley, passed away earlier this year – is the best location for a future stormwater pond to serve a little more than 40 acres of future development, all located on the east and north side of Glendale Avenue.

“It recently came for sale after its owner passed away, and the reason it’s important to the village is it will serve in the future as a reasonable stormwater detention pond,” Evert said.

Evert said the board has had its eyes on this property even before Shipley’s passing, and Village Attorney Bob Gagan has been in discussions with Shipley’s son, Jameson.

It may be possible for the village to build the pond and resell the house, however, that will not be known until a wetland delineation is completed.

Village staff recommended that the board approve the offer to purchase the property for $225,000 to secure the parcel before it is listed for sale.

The motion was approved unanimously.

Farr, department commended for storm clean-up
Trustee Chris Nielson made a point to commend Director of Public Works Geoff Farr and his team for their continued work to clean up storm damage.

“All the work that has happened with all the clean up – I know it’s still ongoing, but I just think it was an amazing, fantastic job,” Nielsen said. “I know you guys are behind on a few things because of that, but around me, on the east side of town, just amazing, so thank you.”

Farr gave much of the credit to his team.

“Thank you very much, and I’ll give the credit to the guys – they’ve been willing to work on Saturdays and Sundays, the Fourth of July – they’ve been out there a lot,” he said. “They do a great job.”

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