The Weyauwega-Fremont School Board voted 4-3 Monday, Jan. 27 to accept the donation of fitness equipment from the W-F Booster Club.
But, the motion also included having no price value attached to the donation, providing the booster club also approves to do so.
Tony Beyer, Dan Kohl, Sandy Smith and Jim Stuebs voted in favor of the motion, which was made by Smith and seconded by Beyer.
Debi Bartel, Doug Ehrenberg and Neal Loehrke voted against it.
Tim Cullen, president of the booster club, will take the school board’s motion to the next meeting of the booster club, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8.
Last year, the booster club voted to donate the fitness center equipment presently being stored in the school district’s Main Street building to the district’s Physical Education Department to use as it sees fit.
The club’s vote also included saying, “In the event that the fitness center project moves forward, the equipment will be valued at $59,000 toward the booster club’s portion of Matching Funds Policy 665.”
Experience Fitness donated the equipment to the booster club last year.
The booster club describes the equipment as “lightly used” and together with Experience Fitness arrived at a value of $59,000 for the equipment.
When school board members wanted a second estimate, the booster club sought one from 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment. That company estimated the value of the equipment to be $76,199. The booster club has used the $59,000 figure for the equipment’s value.
Loehrke and community members continue to question the booster club’s figures, saying when they contacted 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment, they were told the $76,199 figure quoted was for new equipment and used equipment is worth about 10 percent of retail value.
Beyer said they have been arguing about the value for six months, and as far as he is concerned, the equipment has no value.
Smith said she does not feel qualified to say how much the equipment is worth.
Ehrenberg said the district does not own the equipment. If it did, the board could then find someone else to assess it.
Some board members noted the fitness equipment could immediately be used by students.
Loehrke said they would be updating the equipment with aging equipment.
He was referring to statements his wife, Rachel, made earlier in the meeting regarding the equipment.
On Friday, Jan. 24, she had an appointment for Summit Commercial Fitness to do an appraisal of the equipment.
Rachel Loehrke said she hired the company and was paying for his time, which she said then resulted in allegations she was paying the company to provide a low value for the equipment.
Cullen was also there for the appointment as a representative of the booster club, she said.
As the representative from Summit Commercial Fitness looked at the first piece of equipment, he said it was clearly more than 20 years old, Rachel Loehrke told the board.
Cullen explained that the equipment had been recovered and had value, and the Summit Commercial Fitness representative continued appraising the other pieces, Rachel Loehrke said.
He said some were 10 to 12 years old, some 20 years old and others five years, she told the board.
Rachel Loehrke said she then received an email last weekend from the representative saying he felt intimidated and wanted to withdraw from providing a value. She reached out one more time and asked for a value, and he did so, quoting a low value of $9,600 for the equipment.
Calling it “worn out, old equipment,” she said those who have questioned the equipment’s value have been made out to be bad people.
“I hope you do not accept it,” she said.
Her husband said he did not think accepting the equipment without a value was on the table.
“You have changed the nature of the donation,” Neal Loehrke said regarding Smith’s motion. “Thumb it up or thumb it down.”