Southern Door puts referendum on the agenda

Southern Door school district appears headed to join the club of Door county schools going the referendum route to maintain programming.

Declining enrollment has accelerated at the school in recent years, said Superintendent Joe Innis, and cuts can no longer keep pace with the budget shortage.

“We’ve been very frugal in regards to operations over the years, with k-12 on site, in one location, facility upgrades back in 2003 that have helped us avoid big maintenance costs, and energy efficiency.”

He continued, “We have cut labor over the years and accelerated that in the last 3 – 5 years, but we’re at a point where if we accelerate cuts more it will have an impact on programming.”

Innis said the staff is working on numbers, looking first at making cuts for the 2011-2012 school year, then coming up with a dollar figure to request for an over-ride. The school board will likely make a final decision on whether to go to referendum at December’s meeting. The decision on a dollar figure would follow in January. The question, if approved by the board, will be on the April 2011 ballot.

• The Door County Planning Department will host a kick-off meeting for the new County Farmland Preservation Plan Nov. 30 at 7 pm. The meeting at the Door County Government Center kicks off the county’s development of a new farmland preservation plan to comply with the 2009 Working Lands Initiative law. The plan must be adopted by the county board by the end of 2012.

Attendance is encouraged for local officials, farmers, owners of land zoned Exclusive Agricultural, and property owners under farmland preservation contracts with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to offer their opinions regarding the new state program and future farmland preservation activities in the county. Find more information at planning/DC or call 920.746.2323.

• The New Door County Plat Books are now available from the UW – Extension Office. The books are $28.

• Washington Island will hold a public hearing to consider the 2011 Budget Nov. 29 at 6 pm. The meeting will be held at the Community Center at 910 Main Road. The budget includes proposed expenditures of $1,816,733, revenue of $793,743, and a tax levy of $1,022,990.