Ennis School Board wrestles with traffic questions, Walsh says goodbye

The Ennis School Board is still wrestling with ideas on how to best manage traffic flow in and around the new school and discussed options at their regular meeting Wednesday.

The problem has been trying to manage traffic at the entryway to the parking lot on the north side of the school, which is on school property, and the parking lots on the other side of the street, which are not owned by the school.

“We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to handle traffic,” superintendent Doug Walsh told the board.

The main issues is that traffic in and out of both parking lots gets jammed up, while kids are trying to cross the street to school. Adding to the mix are the school buses, which go through the north parking lot to drop kids off behind the school.

The school district has been working with Madison Byways, the local trails group, on helping figure out a way to solve the problem. The group has even brought in an engineer to provide some suggestions.

One thing Madison Byways is working on is a jackleg fence along the edge of the Pit Stop Pizza and Grill’s parking lot. This would keep traffic from cutting across the parking lot, which presents safety concerns for kids walking to the school, said Josh Vujovich, president of Madison Byways.

Though there was much discussion Monday night, no set recommendation was put forth. However, the district will continue to work on a solution with a committee and bring a suggestion back to the school board.

Adding to the deliberations over traffic solutions, was a discussion about the private parking across from the school, behind Pit Stop Pizza. The lot is owned by Don Schaufler and is for sale.

Before the board deliberates on whether or not to purchase the property, board member Jim McNally suggested they see a survey of the property.

Walsh agreed and said there are still some questions about the property that need to be answered.

However, the general consensus of the board was that they were interested in the property and it could be a piece of solving some of the traffic problems.

In other news, the board voted to raise lunch prices to $2.25 for students and $2.50 for adults. Last year the school served about 56,200 meals for an average of about 310 meals a day, Walsh said. The price increase was needed to help cover costs.

“We haven’t had an increase in years,” he said.

The board also voted to increase the price of activity passes to $25 for students, $150 for family, $50 for adult and $75 for a couple. This increase was needed to help offset the cost of hiring referees for games, Walsh said.

The board also voted to offer district clerk Ginger Martello a 3.5 percent cost of living raise over her salary last year, bringing her salary up to about $53,500.

The meeting was also the last for superintendent Doug Walsh.

He expressed his appreciation to the board and the community.

“I couldn’t live in a better place for me,” Walsh said.

He also thanked the board for their service and expressed his hope that the community can heal from the controversy that’s surrounded it for the past three years.

“I just hope if there’s any mending to do, and there is, that we can get it all behind us,” he said.

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