To save money and increase opportunities for students, the Friess Lake School District is considering merging with the neighboring Richfield Joint 1 School District in Washington County.
Although McKenna understands the potential benefits of a consolidated district, she doesn’t want to lose what she knows at Friess Lake.
“It’s the fear of the unknown,” McKenna said. “We know what we’re getting at Friess Lake. I don’t know the staff in Richfield.”
District consolidations are relatively rare in Wisconsin, and in the past 10 years they’ve only occurred among small districts in northern or central parts of the state. The fact that the conversation is now happening in the greater Milwaukee metro area signals the continued pressures on small districts grappling with the one-two punch of declining enrollment and decreased revenue.