“A Sept. 2, article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported about 40% of Wisconsin third- through 11th-grade students were proficient in math and 39.3% were proficient in reading in the 2018-19 school year.

“Unfortunately, math proficiency in Marinette Middle School was reported at only 28.6% and English language arts proficiency (defined as reading, writing and comprehension) was a dismal 24.5%.

“So less than one-third of the students in Marinette Middle School are proficient in math and less than one-fourth are proficient in reading, writing and comprehension.

“Even worse than the 2018-2019 test scores is the fact that Marinette Middle School students’ proficiency declined from the previous year’s test scores by 2.1 % in math and 7.1 % in English language arts.

“As a community, we must ask ourselves why. Is it that we currently have three schools too many? Is it because our students are being taught using ineffective teaching techniques? Is it because some teachers themselves are ineffective? Does the highly paid administration or the school board need replacement? Or is it something else?

“These questions must be answered before spending millions of dollars on building additions or moving students from one building to another. Buildings do not teach our children.

“To have Marinette residents approve a building referendum and increased taxes without having students’ test scores improve significantly would be an unforgivable disservice to our children, their parents, and to every taxpayer in the city.”