The Wauwatosa School Board plans to review whether local schools should serve as future voting locations after the district dealt with a number of issues during the spring election, held earlier this month.

Currently, of 14 voting locations in Wauwatosa, seven of them are in district schools.

'Every election, there's something that comes up,' Superintendent Phil Ertl said during a school board meeting April 25. 'During this last election, I had contact with two principals that (said) there were issues in their buildings. One security related and another one student related.'

Ertl did not elaborate on those issues during the meeting, but said his biggest concern is the safety of students.

'We've invested a lot of money into security of school buildings, yet we open them wide,' Ertl said of election days. 'I struggle with it because I think it's great to have our students see people come and engage in the democratic process and vote.'

School board member Kristy Casey reminded her colleagues of an incident that happened about 10 years ago when a parent entered a classroom on voting day and took photos. The district later pressed charges against the parent, she said.

'This is just one more step to ensure the safety of our students,' Casey said of moving voting locations out of schools.

Ertl said if district buildings continue to serve as voting locations come the presidential election in November, it's likely that no classes would be held that day.

'I don't think there's any reasonable way to have school,' said Ertl, who that added staff could hold a professional development that day instead.

City Clerk Carla Ledesma, who spoke during a public comment period April 25, said the issue of finding viable voting locations in Wauwatosa is a 'thorny' one, but she hopes the city and school district can work together to find a solution.

'This is a dilemma for everyone involved,' she said. 'I realize elections impose a lot on schools.'

Ledesma said 69 percent of eligible voters turned out for the April 5 spring election, which could be a sign of what's to come later this year.

'I can't even begin to imagine what November will be like,' she said, adding that turnout could be over 90 percent.

Ledesma said she's looked into other possible voting locations throughout the city, including churches, which raises a concern with many voters who believe in a separation of church and state.

She's also looked into some assisted living communities and the Muellner Building at Hart Park, which she will continue to explore, she said.

'I'd like to keep working toward a solution,' she said.

The Wauwatosa School Board is likely to discuss the issue again at a future meeting.

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