Wilder reflects on District 202’s unusual end to the school year

Outgoing Knoxville District 202 Superintendent Steve Wilder reflected back on the end of the unusual 2020 school year. It was announced in December that Wilder will be taking over as Superintendent of Sycamore District 427 next year. District 202 announced on April 19th that Knoxville native and former Genoa and Tuscola Superintendent Joe Burgess will take over on an interim basis for the 2020-21 school year. Wilder said that one of the few and rare benefits of the school closures due to COVID-19 was the district’s ability to test and implement its e-learning plan that was approved back in February. “We adapted it to become a longterm e-learning plan as opposed to a day or two at a time that we had previously planned for,” Wilder said. “It turned out to be a good test. Certainly, there were some things that we can improve upon and change a little bit to better serve our students and our staff too. They (the staff) really had to make some accommodations and changes to what they do. Overall (I) couldn’t be more pleased (how) people came together.” Wilder said the district was on “pins and needles” when the legislature went into session and came out with a budget last week. He said, “They couldn’t have gotten better news” when the state came out with a budget that was flat-funding. After receiving some late tax money from the last fiscal year, Knoxville is financially in a better position than expected. Wilder says he realizes that when half of the district’s money comes from the state and the other half from property tax-payers who have been “hit hard.” But he adds that there’s still plenty of uncertainty but at the least, a little more clarity than a few weeks ago.