Published On: Thu, May 8th, 2014

Consolidation is prevalent topic this election season

WAUSA -— Incumbents and new candidates for Wausa Public School Board were contacted recently regarding their opinions on the five-school feasibility study and potential consolidation. This is the second part of a two-part article. This week incumbent Chad Vanness and candidates Dawn Baue and Kristal Thorell are featured.

Chad Vanness: “With the 5 school study it is about looking at the curriculum that we are currently offering and about what curriculum we could expand on to offer our kids the most out of their education.  Whether we are educating the kids for a 2 year or a 4 year college or to just enter the workforce I feel that we need to look at any opportunities we can to help these kids prepare themselves as much as possible for the future.  As an elected official you have to look at all the possibilities while some might not be popular you still need to look at them and see if they would benefit the kids educationally.”

Dawn Baue: “In regards to the 5 school study and consolidation, I feel that each town involved has valid points and concerns. But in my opinion, going through with a consolidation is not for Wausa at this time. We are a strong community and with that our school continues to grow.  I feel we need to look at all options and how it will affect not only our school but our community. With the idea of consolidation, education is always a factor and should be first, but there are other factors with merging into a much larger school. The larger class size, ratio of teachers to students, and the time on the road your child will be commuting to and from school.  There are benefits that smaller schools have to offer in academics and activities for students.  I don’t see change as a fear, but something we may have to consider after exploring all other options.  As you vote on Tuesday, keep in mind that we are electing individuals that we want to represent our students, our school and our community.  Individuals that will listen to our thoughts and concerns and what is best for everyone in Wausa.”

Kristal Thorell: “With what seems to be what many are talking about lately, school consolidation is a hot topic. I do believe that when considering consolidation, we need to look at it from many aspects. I do not believe that consolidation is the answer at this time as our enrollment continues to be steady and is looking as if that will be the same for quite a few years to come, and financially we are not in a crunch. Consolidation may definitely be something that has to be faced in the future if we see tremendous declining enrollment and financial difficulty. I feel that the community needs to be actively involved when it comes to making such decisions as consolidation. The school board is voted in by the people and is to be there as an advocate for both the people and what’s in the best interest for the students. When looking at consolidation, it’s a very in depth subject that can open doors for things and close doors to others. A conclusion will have to be made over a period of time of much studying of the matter and those decisions cannot be made hastily. With that said, those as school board members and community members have to come together and make decisions with one thing in mind: the students – our future.”