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Potential ramifications to Town of Scott should Wequiock Elementary School close

Town of Scott Chairman Mike Van Lanen said keeping Wequiock open would help the town become a village, and stop annexation from Green Bay
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Posted at 4:54 PM, Aug 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-11 00:53:35-04

TOWN OF SCOTT (NBC 26) — It's a Green Bay Area Public School District facility that Town of Scott officials say has been around for more than 60 years.

But now, Wequiock Elementary is on the chopping block.

"My daughter is scheduled to go to 4K there, and currently, they're not sure if there's enough to even hold a class," Wequiock parent Leah Weakley said.

Wequiock's uncertain future has parents concerned for their children.

"Whether that's a Green Bay area school, whether that's another school, either way, it's a big change for the kids," Weakley said. "It's a big change for the parents."

"Just the anxiety of [my daughter] going to a new school not knowing how many friends she's going to see there," Wequiock parent Kate Janiak said. "The teachers, she knows all the teachers at Wequiock right now."

The Town of Scott is located right off Highway 54 in northeast Brown County trying to hold its ground from annexation.

"The City of Green Bay keeps eating up the Town of Scott," Mike Van Lanen said, the Town of Scott chairman.

Van Lanen said the town is close to becoming a village.

"That stops any annexations," Van Lanen said. "That gives us the power to hold our own property, and we stay with our own identity."

Wequiock Elementary focuses on environmental science.

Van Lanen said it is the only public school in his town.

"Wequiock would be a tremendous help for us to attain village status," Van Lanen said.

But a facilities task force has already recommended for Wequiock to close.

Van Lanen was a part of the task force.

"Every schematic they had that was possibilities of any closings or anything that was going to be happening with the schools, Wequiock was slated to be closed," Van Lanen said. "One of the biggest reasons they said for the closure was that Wequiock was on its own well, and it's on a septic system. And my argument there was, you know, it's been on a well since it was there in 1958. The well has been fine. The water doesn't cost anything like if you do if you'd have to pay water from the City of Green Bay. And on it's own septic system is a lot cheaper than paying a sewer fee."

GBAPS District data shows Wequiock's enrollment has been dropping for several years.

It slightly went up this past school year to 116 students, but the building is 79 students short of capacity.

"Undercapacity in the school? Yes, that is. But the town is going to have some growth being going on," Van Lanen said.

At a meeting in June, the Board of Education voted for administration to develop a plan to close Wequiock and shift its students to Red Smith School in Green Bay.

"Red Smith's area was actually in the Town of Scott to begin with," Van Lanen said.

The school board still has to vote on whether or not to close Wequiock.

If Wequiock were to close, Van Lanen said he's thinking about having his town switch to be a part of Luxemburg-Casco School District.

"With closing Wequiock, it's letting down our community, the Town of Scott," Van Lanen said.

As for the parents, they're unsure of what's next.

"They haven't voted on the official closure, but they talk about it like it's a done deal," Weakley said. "So, just understanding what is going on will help parents to decide what's best for their kids."

GBAPS declined for an interview. A spokesperson directed NBC 26 to the district's website, where the board's resolutions are listed.