As Local 5 continues to take a closer look at ballot questions in the upcoming election, the Omro school district is asking voters to approve two referendum questions totaling 12 point 8 million dollars. While that’s a lot of money for a community of its size, educators and citizens alike, say they see the need.
The city of Omro is a quick jaunt west on Highway 21 from it’s metropolitan neighbor, Oshkosh.
Dr. Jay jones: “Omro’s just a wonderful community,” said Dr. Jay Jones, Omro School District Superintendent. “We have some great things happening in this district.”
Omro is one of the rare school districts where students are currently attending classes in person. But those buildings, even community members realize, need some work.
“They need to do the schools and make them structurally sound for the children,” said Wendy Wilber, Omro resident.
The Omro School Board unanimously approved two questions for the November ballot. The first requests $850,000 in annual operating funds, each year, for the next four years. The second – $9.4 million for building improvements and repairs.
School officials recognize it’s a significant amount of money for a district their size, but they say a paid-down debt combined with nearly a decade without a school referendum, helps minimize the community impact.
“We’re able to ask the community for a referendum without a tremendous increase on their taxes,” said Jones.
In fact, while Omro students are currently attending school in person, educators say the virtual learning situation so many districts are trying to navigate right now is actually a great example of why these funds are so badly needed.”
“Being a little bit more rural, we do have some portions of our community where internet connectivity isn’t the greatest,” explained Jones. “So that’s where we’re looking to see if maybe the school can step in and help out as well.”
Residents we spoke with say they feel it’s important as community members, regardless of whether they have kids in school, to support the educational efforts to grow with the times.
“I’ll support it because it does good for the children of our future,” said Wilber.