SDMA February Update

SDMA February Update
Posted on 02/15/2024

Dear SDMA Families and Staff,

The School District of the Menomonie Area will be hosting a referendum election next week- Tuesday, February 20. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, so please mark your calendars and make plans to vote. This election is a terrific opportunity for parents, staff, and families to have a major impact on the future of our schools. Please be sure to do your part in providing direction for our school district by voting in next week's referendum election.

This referendum election will be critical for determining the services that our schools in Menomonie will be able to provide in the future. With 82% of Wisconsin school districts having already passed an operational referendum (Chart 1) and funding for the SDMA already well below most conference schools and the state average (Chart 2), our school district is in danger of falling behind. Hudson, River Falls, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and New Richmond are the other conference schools that already held referendum elections in 2023 or announced a referendum for 2024. 

There is a wealth of information posted on the school district website, but this referendum really boils down to the SDMA asking permission from voters to increase local funding beyond the levels that were set by the state. Because state revenue limits have not provided enough funding to account for high inflation and expiring pandemic funding, the SDMA is projecting big budget deficits. Fees can be increased and significant budget reductions will be made in our school district if more funding is not allowed, but it was clear from the results of the November survey that cuts to school programming and services is not what families want for our schools in the SDMA.  

Besides all of the attention surrounding the February 20 referendum, this month's Highlight on Youth Report includes some great examples for how it's been a successful month for students in the SDMA. In addition to terrific work in our classrooms, another round of parent-teacher conferences, and a successful transition to the second semester, students have done a great job with special projects and extra curricular activities. Over the past month, Wakanda Elementary 5th graders hosted "Ranger Night" to share their terrific National Park research projects, band students from MMS and MHS performed in front of a packed house for this year's Band-a-Rama concert, the Menomonie Dance Team competed at the state dance competition, the MHS girls basketball team clinched the Big Rivers Conference championship, and the MHS wrestling team earned a trip to the state tournament with an exciting win vs. Hudson last night. Congratulations to all of the students, teachers, coaches, and families who were involved with this wonderful success.

It is looking like there is some snow in the forecast for this evening, but it should stop in time for most roads to be cleared and for school to start on time tomorrow. We'll keep an eye on it throughout the night, but students and staff may want to plan on taking it easy on the commute to school tomorrow morning.

Have a great week and Happy Valentine's Day.

Joe Zydowsky