Duxbury seeks another term on school board
No candidates for town of Fremont seat
By Angie Landsverk
Kurt Duxbury is seeking another term on the Weyauwega-Fremont School Board this spring, and Dan Kohl is not.
Kohl holds the town of Fremont seat on the board and filed non-candidacy papers.
No one filed nomination papers for that seat on the board.
The deadline to do so was 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3.
That means there will not be a name on the ballot for that particular seat.
Voters in the school district will have to write in a name.
Those who want to be a registered write-in candidate for that seat may fill out a campaign registration statement in the district office.
Their name still will not appear on the ballot, however.
There are several reasons why Kohl decided to not seek re-election on April 4.
“I see the district heading in a different direction than I’d like to see,” Kohl said.
His comment was in reference to last November’s referendum in which voters approved spending up to $21 million on a building and improvement program by a vote of 1,999 to 1,716.
“I wasn’t for it, with our declining enrollment and the way the taxes are going to be raised,” Kohl said. “If you put $21 million of debt on a district this size, it will never recover from it.”
The approved referendum includes a $339,432 project at Fremont Elementary School and $20.6 million in improvements and additions at W-F High School.
“I agree with some parts,” Kohl said.
He believes there is a need at the high school for fitness rooms, updated space for science and technology education and for the remodeling of the family and consumer science area.
However, Kohl sees a tough financial road ahead for the school district due to declining enrollment, a decrease in state aid and an increase in vouchers.
Kohl, who farms in the town of Fremont, has served on the school board since December of 2006.
He was initially appointed to fill a vacant seat on the board.
Ten years ago, the school district’s enrollment was about 1,150 students, he said.
Its current enrollment is about 840 students.
In addition to serving on the school board, Kohl is also on the Fremont Town Board.
He has been a town supervisor for 16 years.
Serving on the school board is a bit of a commitment, and he wants to begin slowing down, he said.
He expressed his frustration with the district’s current direction.
“The focus should be on education,” Kohl said. “I’ve been on the board where the focus was more on education. The last couple of years, that wasn’t the focus. The focus now has been on the building direction.”
When asked what he was most proud of being a part of during his tenure on the board, he cited several efforts.
“We put $1 million away to pay for the retirement, the unfunded liability for retirees. We paid off the debt early. We put two new roofs on (schools). We put a new track in.
“We did that all without borrowing any money, and now it’s kind of going the other way. We did a lot of stuff and never had to go to the taxpayers for anything. We did something every year,” Kohl said.
Terms on the school board are for three years.
Duxbury is seeking a second term and is running unopposed for the town of Weyauwega seat on the board.
“I feel blessed that my kids attend great schools in a rural community. For nine months of the year, the majority of their waking hours are spent with school staff and classmates,” he said. “If I can contribute in any way, by spending a few hours a month at meetings, I am happy to do so. I believe in kids, and it is our responsibility as members of this community to help raise all of them.”
Duxbury said he was excited during his first term on the board to take part in studying the district’s facilities and making a plan “for how to set our school district up for success for years to come.”
That work resulted in last November’s referendum.
“I decided to seek another term so that I can assist, any way I can, to see the project through,” he said.
The Mosinee native graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a degree in elementary and middle school education and a minor in math.
He has a master’s degree in educational leadership from Marian University.
Duxbury joined the W-F School District in 1998 as a middle school math teacher.
During his tenure with the district, he also served as an athletic director and principal.
In 2005, Duxbury joined Quantum Dairy full time as a partner and general manager.
He and his wife, Anna, have two sons and one daughter.
Duxbury said he respects the other members of the board, the administration and the staff.
“During my first term, I have witnessed this group come together, under the leadership of (District Administrator) Mr. (Scott) Bleck, to really move the School District of Weyauwega-Fremont in the right direction,” he said. “I believe everyone has bought in to the idea that we are going to provide an education for our students that competes with anywhere. Updating our facilities is going to be a big part of that, but it is these dedicated people who are going to use these facilities to educate our kids.”
Duxbury said, “I am seeking another term to thank the community for supporting the referendum, for supporting my kids and their classmates, for supporting the board and staff in doing what is best for kids.”