In a very close vote, residents of the Barron Area School District passed one referendum question and rejected a second on the Tuesday, April 6, Spring Election ballot.
Question 1 asked voters for approval to borrow $24,500,000 to pay for safety and security upgrades, district-wide capital maintenance projects and additions and renovations to support educational programing. That passed by a 737-725 margin.
Question 2 asked voters for approval to borrow $1,900,000 to construct an addition at Woodland Elementary School for a community childcare center. That failed by a 685-775 margin.
Those totals included mostly Barron County votes, but also some in Dunn County.
Results are unofficial until verified by a board of canvassers.
At one point Tuesday night, Barron County’s website misreported no vote totals, according to Barron County Clerk DeeAnn Cook. But the error was corrected later that evening, tightening the final margin.
"The entry error was in the Village of Almena. Initially it was entered as 60 yes and 68 no. We caught it in proofing and it was immediately corrected to 60 yes 28 no," she said.
"We are so grateful for our Barron and Dunn County constituencies for passing the BASD Referendum Question 1 in our April 6 election," said Barron school superintendent Diane Tremblay on Wednesday. "This resolution addresses educational adequacy, safety and security and infrastructure upgrades for our Barron Area School District. In addition, this solution aligns effectively with our strategic planning and ensures that we achieve our District mission. Thank you for truly Backing our Bears!"
The next for the district is to proceed with the design schedule slayed out by construction and architectural partners, Miron and ISG.
"We will begin gathering necessary information of the existing school systems and will meet with our staff, administration & coaches to gather feedback on proposed designs," said Tremblay. "Our current drawings will be updated based on user feedback and further developed to show more detail as the design process continues."
She continued, "Throughout the process, Miron and ISG will work together to align design to the budget. ISG will finalize construction drawings and specifications for Miron to utilize during the competitive bidding process and construction. There will be multiple milestones throughout our design process where we will give updates to the Board of Education and our greater community, in order to gather feedback and keep everyone well informed."
Four school board seats were also up for election, and candidates—all incumbents—were reelected unopposed. They are Kate Vruwink and Brittany Stephens for two-year terms in the City of Barron; Orin Thompson in the Dallas area for a three-year term and Dan McNeil for an at large three-year term.
In Cameron, there are three candidates on the ballot for two seats, but one—Ginger Newland—has withdrawn. Still running are incumbents Don Rappel and Brandon Olson, who won with 336 and 356 votes, respectively, while Newland still got 179.
Prairie Farm school board seats were also unopposed. Winning three-year terms are incumbents Ken Seguine and Jerry Bates.
In the Cumberland School District, residents voted no on a $32.5 million referendum. The referendum question was:
"Shall the Cumberland School District, Barron, Polk and Burnett Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $32,500,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school addition and improvement project at the High School/Middle School campus to include: partial removal of the current High School building, renovations and construction of multipurpose academic spaces and support areas, an auditorium and a gymnasium; safety, security, technology, capital maintenance and building infrastructure improvements; ADA accessibility updates; site improvements; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment?"
In the lone statewide race, Jill Underly defeated Deborah Kerr square for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. As of press time late Tuesday night, Underly was leading with 57 percent of the vote. Barron County favored Kerr by a 51-49 percent margin.
Contested Village races
Incumbents prevailed in a contested race for the Cameron Village Board. Vote totals were 96 for Randy Hill, 93 for Russell Hulback and 98 for David Ebner. New candidate Dylan Bahr got 50 votes, falling short as fourth in the race for three seats. Incumbent Village President Mark Trowbridge and Municipal Judge Terry Skaar were re-elected unopposed.
Almena also has a contested race for its board, with four people running for three seats. Vote totals were 68 for Joyce Jensen, 67 for Raymond Roff and 55 for Brian Hellmann—all winning seats—and 47 for Tony Tomczik. Village President Greg Rayment is won reelection unopposed.
Contested township races
In the Town of Prairie Lake, the race for the board was contested. Elected for two supervisor seats were Wayne Brenholt (195 votes) and Lori Richter (161 votes), defeating Lisa Wenzel, who had 74 votes. Chairperson Joe Atwood won unopposed.
In a close race for the Town of Sioux Creek chairperson, Peter DeJardin edged Craig Simonson in a 76-75 vote.
In the Town of Sumner, incumbent Kevin Crotteau defeated Romaine Robert Quinn 118-64 for a supervisor seat. Steven Palmquist and Steven Becker were reelected unopposed.
In the City of Barron, races for city council were unopposed. Winning were incumbents Kevin Haller (District 2) and Rod Nordby (District 1) and new candidate Joseph M. Johnston (At-large).
In the Town of Barron, elected unopposed for the town board are chairperson Darren Bjugstad, supervisors Lee Swan and Mark Dobberfuhl, and clerk/treasurer Jill Sadtler.
In the Town of Arland, winning unopposed for the board were Maynard Hoff, Chuck Richards and Brad Wolf, as are Pam Fall for clerk and Jodene Nelson for treasurer.
In the Town of Clinton, winning unopposed for seats on the board were Jim Gores, Zachary Schauf and Larry Nevin.
In the Village of Dallas, winning unopposed for the board were Sue Dodge, LJ Stehberger and Greg Wirth.
In the Town of Dallas elected unopposed for the board are Richard Lentz, Chad Knutson and Barry Wirth.
In the Town of Maple Grove winning unopposed for the board were Paul Hutchison, Gary Reichert and Terry Sullivan. Also unopposed were clerk Mary Carr and treasurer Darlene Stewart.
In the Village of Prairie Farm, winning unopposed for the board were Bradley Miller and Jay Miller.
In the Town of Prairie Farm winning unopposed for the board are Ronald Wirth, Dean Frisle and Andrew Nelson, as are Vicki Buck for clerk and Debra Hemauer for treasurer.
In the Town of Stanfold, elected unopposed for the board were Charles Nelson, Brent Knutson and John Nelsen.
In the Town of Stanley, elected unopposed for the board were Dennis Stillwell, Monty Shearer and Larry Moen.