PESHTIGO — The Peshtigo School Board took action Wednesday to continue the process of moving forward to address the issue of the aging buildings by selecting Performance Services, Waukesha, Wisconsin. In a process that began on Feb. 3, the school board listened to six different architectural firms, pitching why they should be given the opportunity to work with the community to meet the needs of the school system. 

In looking back what occurred in the last two failed referendums to build a new school, the board opened the initial presentations to the public. Over the course of the two evenings, only two community members showed up and one teacher.

School board president Rebecca DeMarce addressed the group at Wednesday’s meeting, “There are a large number of you here tonight. I encourage you to come to the meetings, talk to people in the community. Let them know about meetings. We want the community to be involved in this process” DeMarce said. 

In making the selection of Performance Services, School Superintendent Patrick Rau said, “They are all good companies. They all provided a great presentation and I can work with any of the six. But it is important to select who the community can best work with.” 

The expected timeline is to begin working with small groups to determine the needs of the school and community before going to a referendum in April of 2021. 

Director of Student Services Julie Williams shared the results of a survey that was taken last spring by some of the high school students. The survey was developed by Community that Cares, a coalition-based prevention operating system that uses a public health approach to prevent youth problem behaviors such as violence, delinquency, school drop out and substance abuse.

Williams noted that on some of the scores, the Peshtigo students who participated in the survey were well above the national average in some categories such as using drugs, alcohol, e-cigarettes and energy drinks but about average in most other sections. The school has started strategizing on how to address the issues.