Three School Districts Go to Referendum in November

Voters in three school districts will have two school referenda questions each on their ballots in the November election.

On Aug. 21, the Sevastopol School Board accepted the recommendation from the recently dissolved Citizens Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) to place a referendum on the ballot in the November election seeking approval for a $25.1 million general obligation bond to demolish the 1924 and 1946 potions of the school and creating new classrooms in their place.

The 35-member CFAC had been meeting since last October in an effort to come up with a school construction plan Sevastopol School District residents can support. Their efforts included a survey that provided two more expensive options, including a completely new school at a cost of $57 million. The lukewarm support for the $57 million and another $45 million option forced the committee to regroup and come up with the plan approved by the school board.

The board also approved a second referendum question that asks voters to exceed the revenue limit by $2 million for two years for non-recurring purposes (operational costs).

Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke said he was pleased with the compromise construction solution because it addresses needs at all grade levels, and he is hopeful that voters will concur.

The night before Sevastopol advanced its referenda for the November election, the Southern Door School Board also approved two referenda questions for November. The board approved a question asking for the issuance of bands not to exceed $6,270,000 for campus-wide improvements, including safety and security upgrades, classroom remodeling particularly in the elementary and middle school open space concept areas, remodeling the technical education spaces, providing some ADA accessibility updates and adding five school buses to the fleet.

Southern Door School District Superintendent Patti Vickman said there would be no tax impact on district residents because the district has debt falling off inthe 2019-20 school year.

“I’m very hopeful about it,”she said. “One thing our community has done, they have maintained the investment and take a lot of pride in the facilities we have here. We have a great maintenance staff who do a great job of maintaining our buildings. This is another step in the community putting an investment in the building.”

The second question the board approved for the November ballot asks for $345,000 for non-recurring operational costs for the 2019-20 school year.

Vickman explained that Southern Door is one of seven districts in the state that is in what she called “the frozen subdivision of Wisconsin,” or, in other words, districts that because of a failed operational referendum in the last three years cannot take advantage of a law enacted earlier this year allowing low-spending school districts to raise taxes incrementally without voter approval. An April 2017 Southern Door referendum failed by 24 votes.

Vickman said the $345,000 request for the 2019-20 school year is simply to maintain current educational programs and services.

The Gibraltar School District is asking voters to approve a $1.4 million request for operational expenses, and $4.4 million to remodel the media center and adjacent classrooms. An update on that campaign will be given at the Aug. 27 Gibraltar School Board meeting.

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