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Many faces of Manawa

School district looks at logo shakeup

By Ben Rodgers

The Manawa School District is the home of the Wolves.

However, depending on who one asks, there are anywhere from 12 to 14 different variations of it.

The school board learned at the Monday, Aug. 21 meeting that the district has no universal logo, which poses problems moving forward.

“There are a lot of variations on the theme,” said Dr. Melanie Oppor, district administrator. “I’ll put it that way.”

For example, sometimes a paw print is used.

Sometimes a paw print is used with scratch marks, and sometimes it’s a black wolf.

Other times, it’s a red wolf.

On center court in the gym, it’s a peaceful looking wolf, while other times the wolf is growling.

The font varies on each wolf as well.

The only consistent feature of the logo is the fact it’s not consistent.

“When people say I want to use the wolf, I do too, but which one are you referring to?” Oppor said.

The reason a change is needed is because district membership in Central Wisconsin Conference has been realigned. The teams listed on the banner in the gym aren’t the teams the district plays anymore.

The district also plans to roll out a new website. An official logo will make the process easier when building the site, instead of having to go back and change it. Letterhead and business cards were also an issue brought up.

Bryant Cobarrubias, district technology director, chairs a new committee to oversee the logo change process.

“We started this process about a month or so ago, and the idea is we saw the problem that Dr. Oppor clearly established,” Cobarrubias said. “We came to the conclusion that as we go forward, we’re going to either add to the problem… or we can try to rally behind one solid logo going forward.”

The district is using a website called Logo Tournament to have competing graphic designers design a logo based on guidelines.

“We made that first cut and we’re going back to the designers saying ‘can you tweak this a little bit?’ Once we get the changes from them, we want to take these logos and make them available to the public,” Cobarrubias said.

Joanne Johnson, board president, said the choice on how to decide and implement the change is the board’s.

The board could decide on the logo, have the administration decide, could have students and staff vote, or cut them out entirely.

“It’s at the prevalence of the board, but there are caveats and drawbacks to it,” Johnson said.

She also said she received two emails from Little Wolf High School alumni who no longer live in the area, and therefore own no property, pay no taxes and have no students in the schools.

“Regardless, if you’re an alumni or not, the people in the community are really the people we need to be listening to, including our student body population,” Johnson said.

Dan Wolfgram, junior/high school principal, echoed Johnson’s concerns.

“I think the students’ voices need to be heard as much as anyone because this is their school,” he said.

As no motion was made, the timeframe discussed on the district’s website will remain the procedure moving forward.

The first group of finalist designs will be shared via social media and at community stakeholder meetings with second round selection and student voting from Sept. 11-15.

“What we’re trying to address is the fear in the community that were not respecting, that we’re not consulting the people,” said Héléne Pohl, board member.

In other news, the district also learned it will owe money to TreeHouse Foods, owner of Sturm Foods, as the result of a mediation session that ended with a decreased property value.

The city of Manawa and TreeHouse Foods, the company that purchased Sturm Foods, have been in talks since 2011 about a reassessed property value.

The final results were signed last week and because the value went down, the district, along with the city, the county and Fox Valley Technical College, will owe back dollars received through a tax levy for the years 2011-13 and 2016 and beyond.

“It’s important to understand, this is TreeHouse Foods, they kept the Sturm Foods name,” said Manawa Mayor John Smith. “I don’t want anybody to confuse it with the Sturm family.”

The mayor did not have a concrete figure on what the district would owe, but Oppor is anticipating the cost to be between $90,000 and $100,000.

Right now, the district is waiting to receive an official notice from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue for how much is owed and when it is owed by.

“As you can see, it’s with a very heavy heart that I report that,” Smith said. “It’s kept me awake for most of a month.”

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