School is the talk of this town, and every other town right now, with fall right around the corner.
In previous years, some families were already getting schedules set and preparing for the school year to start. This is no regular year, however, and the school administration, boards, and staff have almost no set plan. If they do have a plan it is the kind of plan that could completely change in an instant. Last week was a busy week for the Lake Geneva schools, with meetings almost every day. No final plan has been made but the goal is to return the kids back to school on September 1st, 2020. That will be for five days a week at all levels.
Parents and students will have the option of attending full time at school, working at home, or a combination of both, with the ability to change throughout the year. The schools have machines to clean, special sprays, huge shipments of hand sanitizer, and seven thousand five hundred cloth masks. However, no decisions on masks have yet been made. The school board is anticipating approximately twenty percent of students will do all learning virtually, reducing class size and allowing social distancing for those that do attend in person. Transportation is an issue that needs to be addressed, as well. Normal school busses will be used, with loading from the back and assigned seats. Art and band are still on the curriculum but no discussion has taken place with respect to after school activities or sports. The finalized plan, with backup plans, should be available by the end of July.
Just what is going on with the whole Riviera affair?
The meetings over the details of what is to be done, should be done, might be done, and also what the downstairs is supposed to become is just the hardest thing to sit through, time after time. MSI seems to know what it is doing but cannot do anything without a decision on something. Mayor Charlene Klein, doing an admirable job in just about every area of city operations during this most difficult time, is having a hard time with the new committee. Fred Gahl (head of the fundraising committee), keeps hammering away, every chance he gets, which is not often, that the problems of the Riviera can be solved if it is run like a business instead of the subsidized mess it currently is. The shop owner’s downstairs do not pay enough (according to Fred) to even cover the city’s expense of having them there. The weddings were making some money, but most are now canceled or put on hold into the next year. Without the potential of the fabulous structure to make money on the renting out of what it is, there is no hope of the city ever repaying the three million its put in so far (on loan) and certainly not the seven million it is proposing (again, on loan). The debt service on that borrowed money will be significant, atop the expenses the place costs to maintain anyway.
No decisions are coming out of the committee except for the “small” stuff. The committee has requested that the city council request bids for the repair of the elevator, replacing the fire safety system, replace the ceiling, room darkening covers for the windows, fans, and lighting, and finally an improved Wi-Fi system. This is all upstairs stuff, which has nothing to do with the controversial downstairs. There seems to be a lot of dissension about the historical designation of the building, and how that means they can’t do much at all to anything that will affect inner or outer appearances. The historical society charges ten grand, or so, for the designation. Maybe the historical society might consider paying the ten grand and bit more to keep the place a money-losing proposition that it has been.
“New” Brick and Mortar