Avatar
All Posts by admin

Survey results on Shawano ‘adult playground’ released

Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 6, 2019

By M.D. Kittle 

How do the residents in the Shawano, Wis. area feel about paying for a proposed recreation center that could top $28 million? 

Do they know the “independent survey firm” commissioned to gauge citizen sentiment has been accused of skewing the survey process in other Wisconsin communities? 

Shawano local government leaders will learn the results of a community-wide survey of citizen sentiment on what one community member has labeled an “adult playground” at tonight’s joint meeting of the city council and school board. 

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Shawano Community High School library.

Local government officials have said all community members were afforded the opportunity to provide input on the proposed 100,000-square-foot Shawano Community Recreation Center. The proposal calls for a warm water pool, gym space for basketball, volleyball and tennis, a large fitness area, and an indoor track, among other amenities. It would be a shared facility, open to city and district residents. 

“An independent survey firm, School Perceptions, will conduct the survey, collect the data anonymously, and provide a report for the school board and the public,” a rec center proposal page notes. 

School Perceptions’ has been criticized by some for a business model that has helped school districts “grease the skids” for large spending measures, according to an investigation last year by MacIver News Service.  The Slinger-based firm has assisted hundreds of school districts seeking voter approval for massive building projects, including a controversial referendum in the Cedarburg School District. 

Conservative talk radio host Mark Belling pointedly criticized the firm in an op-ed, MacIver reported. With School Perceptions’ help, “…school boards and superintendents are using public money to mislead their residents and pretending to conduct honest surveys,” Belling wrote in the Waukesha Freeman piece.

One community member wrote to Cedarburg’s school administrator, “School Perceptions has built their business around helping school districts pass referendums. They are advocates, not impartial referees. Their ability to sell future projects to the next school district will depend, in part, on whether the Cedarburg referendum passes.”

The ballot question did pass last fall, 53 percent to 47 percent. 

Shawano’s proposed rec center, according to the city’s estimates, could cost more than $28 million to build and $400,000 a year to maintain. 

As Empower Wisconsin has reported, some Shawano residents are concerned about the price tag and whether this Northwoods community of 9,300 residents really needs a gilded fitness center.

“Some people say this all looks nice and all that other stuff, but in a community of a lot of retirees living on fixed incomes another tax increase might be enough to force them out of their house. That’s ridiculous,” said a Shawano business professional who asked not to be identified.

Randi Anderson, Shawano School District administrator, acknowledges that “in general, there would be a tax increase to the community.” Just how much, she could not say. It depends, the administrator told Empower Wisconsin, on the retirement of outstanding district debt.

Anderson said the district and the city are working together to “see if there is interest” in the project.

But it seems the process is on a fast track. The question could go to voters in a referendum as soon as spring, according to the local newspaper, the Shawano Leader.

Get involved

Contact Shawano School Board members here

Contact Shawano Common Council members here 

Explore More
Dental therapist offer remedy for oral care shortage

Dental therapist offer remedy for oral care shortage

More than 1.2 million Wisconsinites live in dental care shortage areas. Children, seniors, veterans and the disabled are among the populations most likely to lack access.

Read More »

November 15, 2019
Segregation now Woke at Syracuse

Segregation now Woke at Syracuse

So much for Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream. Syracuse University students are now so woke they’re championing segregation.

Read More »

November 15, 2019
Will Evers sign bill ending Miller Park tax?

Will Evers sign bill ending Miller Park tax?

It’s been a long time coming, but the bill to end the long-standing, five-county Miller Park sales tax is heading to the governor’s desk.

Read More »

November 15, 2019
Evers governing by regulation

Evers governing by regulation

Lawmakers on a powerful oversight committee are preparing for a potential “flood” of new rules and regs pushed by the regulation-friendly Evers Administration. 

Read More »

November 15, 2019
Dems, unions hold trade agreement hostage

Dems, unions hold trade agreement hostage

Here’s a bad deal. Congressional Democrats, foot-dragging on anything that would give President Donald Trump a political victory, could make their vote for Trump’s United State-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) contingent on a taxpayer-funded bailout of private union pension plans. 

Read More »

November 14, 2019
WILL sues election regulators in voter integrity case

WILL sues election regulators in voter integrity case

With less than a year to go before the 2020 presidential election, a Milwaukee-based public interest law firm is suing state election regulators for failing to clean up old voter registration files.  

Read More »

November 14, 2019
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *