CUSD 200 Transparency or SPIN?

From the first mailer D200 sent explaining that there is a Referendum, AGAIN, this year:

transparancy p1

And more info on the same flyer

transparancy p2But, what really happened in the two August board meetings?

You decide.
Pay particular attention to the Aug 15, 2018 video at the 1:27:20 time mark and
The Aug 20, 2018 board meeting at time marks: 14:45 • 32:00 • 59:30 • 1:04:25

CUSD 200 thought they had found a “clever way” to borrow and build a new Jefferson without voter approval.  However, they were sued.  The three main points of the suit:

  1. CUSD 200 lost two previous referendums that they were planning to ignore.
  2. The law requires a referendum for building a new school. It does not say that they can eliminate the need for referendum by calling the financing agreement a lease.
  3. The “lease certificate” walked, talked, and quacked like a bond – it was not a valid lease.

On 8/15/2018, the board tabled the two action items regarding Jefferson:  One to issue millions in new debt called “lease certificates” and one to approve construction contracts. Monday, 8/20/2018, a special meeting was held at which they voted to terminate the lease agreement and to place the building of a new Jefferson Early Childhood Center on the November ballot.  The board, in its statement did not admit to doing anything wrong. However, they have by their actions done what the complaint requested the court mandate.

Watch the videos to see the details of these two meetings:


Wed, Aug 15, 2018 Board meeting

Public comments:

  • 4:20 Taryn Sonntag – Jefferson parent
  • 7:30 Mindy Koechling – early intervention coordinator. Parent of child who attended Jefferson, was on the pro-referendum group, friends-of-school last year – “one individual does not speak for community”
  • 10:00 Megan Legler – “Thank you for prioritizing Jefferson”
  • 13:05 Dianne Thornburg– lives by Jefferson & school employee. – pro Jefferson
  • 15:30 Michele Dalmaso – La Cross club – fully funded by parents program. Wants district to fully fund it in the 2019-2020 school year.
  • 17:50 Kelley Gillenwater – La Cross
  • 19:55 Joseph Mahady – concerned about D&O insurance – “a number of years ago, we received from the state over fourteen million dollars” that should have gone to Jefferson. “I am concerned, that if you do not table both items this evening that you will create jeopardy… It is my limited understanding, that this has not come out of committee and been approved. But, in fact there has been a million dollar escrow created and that over half of that money has been paid by superintendant to contractors. Now, I don’t understand under what authority that has been done…”
  • 23:00 Melissa Haas – her children benefited from Jefferson
  • 24:14 Cheri Gossage – 4 children with special needs – mentions least restricted environment
  • 26:45 Bruno Behrend – out of district – lawyer – “a guy like me comes out of the woodwork when a government agency is doing something it probably shouldn’t be doing… the problem is you lost twice in two referenda. And now, who knows how a judge would rule… having a state law that says you have to [win] a referendum to build a building… if you want the building, then win an election…”

Board meeting: reports, discussions, votes

  • 39:12 Superintendent report
  • 39:06 Brad Paulsen – “those projects we did this summer, those were part of the 2017 referendum?” correct.
  • 30:10 consent agenda – pass 7-0
  • 44:10 La Cross program fully recognized HS sport – pass 7-0
  • 53:40 policy 7.40 home school & part time students participate in extra-curricular activities, pass 7-0

After closed session

  • 1:25:30 go to closed session… reconvene
  • 1:27:20 Board president, Jim Vroman reads board statement
  • 1:32:20 motion to table both items for Jefferson both passed 7-0


Mon, Aug 20, 2018 special Board Meeting

Public comments:

  • 3:00 Samia Bono – son at Jefferson
  • 5:20 Megan Legler – pro-Jefferson – (And trustee Paulsen hands something to the man on the end – later he speaks – J Gregory Higgins)
  • 8:00 Don Senders (he had taught in CUSD 200 WN – his wife Mary Lou Senders was the Sup. secretary, now retired. Daughter currently teaches special needs in district. Has an adopted grandchild with needs) – He shames the community
  • 12:30 Sharon Truckman (was once PTA president for Wiesbrook) She had a son who went to Jefferson years ago. She disagrees with survey numbers – taxes have more than doubled – house value hasn’t
  • 14:45 MaryAnn Vitoneexcellent – good question, good history – She is very well informed
  • 18:30 Joe Buckholz – (2 older children had special needs. profession of maintaining schools and churches)
  • 22:05 Chris Ewert – even if the existing building was better maintained, it does not meet the needs for these children. “The argument of what has happened in the past… isn’t relevant”
  • 24:50 j Gregory Higgins – is an attorney – talks about “one person” & shadow group… who benefits… wasted time & money.

29:15 action item – terminate lease

  • 32:00 Jim Matheisen – “…I personally feel, um, that I would almost prefer to litigate… I am offended… we have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars… I would like whoever filed this… to have to incur the same kind of cost that we did… 10%-15% of our students… attend Jefferson… I feel… our raises were less than I’m seeing in surrounding districts…”
  • 36:30 Gina Ericksen – “Can you share… that others have used lease certificates?
  • 36:50 Jeff Schuler – mentions Sunset Ridge – there is general concern around taxation… methods to fund other than bonds. We will continue with idea of “lease agreement”
  • 38:00 Jim Vroman
  • 41:00 Jim Vroman – “school code provides specifically for lease certificates… someone behind Jan Shaw…”
  • 42:40 Jim Gambiaini – He was OK with doing this so long as it was without adding a burden to the taxpayers. He did not look at the legal matters – left that to the lawyers. He has been against the funding method.  Has been an advocate for taxpayers… this will let us build…

Cancelling the lease agreement – Motion/vote/pass 7-0


47:00 action item – referendum

  • 48:50 Brad Paulsen – as an architect – the building matters!
  • 51:30 Chris Crabtree – will it cost more now that we will build in the winter.
  • 51:40 Jeff Schuler answers – The Plan is to finance new building with a lease agreement not to exceed $15.5 million (it is STILL DEBT & if it reads like the current one, not really a lease)
  • 55:50 Jim Gambiaini – communicating building cost…
  • 56:35 Jim Mathieson – last referendum, average increase in a tax… – this one zero dollar increase in tax. We will be using money that we have been setting aside.  $10,000 to cancel the lease.   We are going to incur more cost do to cancelling the lease agreement. Maybe finance with lease, maybe some other financial method. NO NEW TAX – cost $10,000 to cancel the lease agreement that they signed.
  • 59:30 Rob Hanlon – “people behind this lawsuit bigger than we know, Bruno (they looked him up)… there is money and big money behind this lawsuit. It could be multiple years if we fight this lawsuit.” When Rob says the name of the Educational group and pauses – sounds like two people say “Bruno Behrend” – staged?
  • 1:01:00 Jim Vroman – … $14 million state check & 25% fund balance state fund finally paid us (hard to hear)
  • 1:04:25 off camera someone says “my question is: the suit must have had some kind of basis, I’m sure you know what that basis was… she could win


1:05 vote 7-0 place referendum question on the NO ballot.




2 thoughts on “CUSD 200 Transparency or SPIN?

  1. Shhhh…Someone, the shadow group, is behind the Suit….It’s almost funny, but the stakes are too high to make it so. It is Defamation of Character though. Where oh where did Wheations’ old-fashioned civility go?


  2. Like a petulant child, our board refuses to take NO for an answer. Guessing the community will need to parent-up once again and let them know in no uncertain terms that No means No. Find another solution.


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