By Dave Fidlin


In the hopes of being proactive, administrators within the Whitewater Unified School District are recommending elected officials begin planning for all of the possible outcomes that could arise if neighboring Palmyra-Eagle School District ceases to exist at the end of the current school year.

Business Manager Matthew Sylvester-Knudtson and District Administrator Mark Elworthy have been providing the School Board with updates of the current collaboration, which is expected to continue into the fall.

Elworthy and Sylvester-Knudtson met with their counterparts in Palmyra-Eagle in August, and both plan to meet with representatives from the seven surrounding school districts at least twice this month to explore possibilities.

But within Whitewater, Sylvester-Knudtson and Elworthy are recommending at least a contingent of the School Board begin hashing over some of the possible issues that could arise in the aftermath of PEASD’s dissolution.

“At this point, what we’re recommending is the board establish a committee to begin investigating possible scenarios and begin planning for each of them,” Sylvester-Knudtson said when the School Board held its regular meeting Aug. 26.

In preliminary discussions, several board members expressed a desire to have the full seven-member elected body involved in the scenario planning exercise. The possibility of extending it even further, to the broader community, also was explored.

Although the current school year is just getting underway, Sylvester-Knudtson and Elworthy said there are a number of considerations that could play into WUSD’s future if boundary lines are amended in the wake of PEASD’s cessation. Curriculum, technology and facilities are among them.

“We’d probably like to have some options,” Elworthy said, pointing to the validity of having a scenario-planning group convened.

PEASD’s School Board in July approved a resolution seeking dissolution, an important maneuver that kicks the matter over to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

This fall plans call for DPI forming a School District Boundary Appeal Board, with broad representation of educators across the state. A decision on the status of PEASD is expected by Jan. 15.


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