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April 24, 2019

4/2/2019 9:42:00 AM
Referendums go to voters in Point, River Valley

Two school districts are asking approval from their voters to make changes they feel will benefit students in the long run.
In Mineral Point, voters are asked to consider a new elementary school which would be added to the campus currently occupied by the high school and middle school. There is some irony with the proposal as district voters approved remodeling the existing elementary school last year.
Some of the members of the school board said they were approached by voters asking why a new facility was not included on the ballot when the vote to remodel was taken. Mineral Point now becomes the only district in the state to date to have an approved referendum on the table then going back for another one.
The referendum approved by the school board in January which will be presented to the voters April 2 is as follows.
"BE IT RESOLVED by the School Board of the Unified District of Mineral Point, Iowa and Lafayette Counties, Wisconsin that there shall be issued pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in the amount not to exceed $19,500,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of constructing and equipping a new elementary school on the middle/high school campus."
HSR Associates, the providing architectural, engineering and interior design services for the district has provided the following cost breakdowns:'
Site development, $2,300,000.
New school construction costs, $14,400,000.
Allowances, $920,000.
Contingency and agency review, $900,000.
Estimated architectural, engineering, construction administration fees, $980,000.
Total cost, $19,500,000.
In contrast the already approved remodel project for the elementary school carries a price tag of $11,920,000. Under the approved referendum site development is listed at $750,000, renovation $3,775,106, building addition $4,826,254, allowances $920,000, contingency and agency review $850,000 and architectural, engineering, construction administration fees $798,640. The total project cost is $11,920,000.
The estimated tax impact on the two projects is given here:
Remodel existing elementary school
$178.00 annually on a house estimated at $100,000, The mill rate is projected at $2.52.
New construction on campus
Estimated tax impact on a $100,000 house would be $406.50 annually with a mill rate of $3.45.
Both projects carry a 50 plus year life expectancy.
If the proposal to build new does not pass the board said it will continue with the remodel which has already been approved. Remodel start date would be June 2019. New construction start date would be January 2020.
In River Valley, a district that has trouble passing any type of referendum, voters are being asked to exceed the revenue limit so the quality of education can be maintained. The. requested raise in funding does not include new positions or new buildings or facilities.
The referendum asks for $6.55. million in new funds over a three year period. If passed the approximate annual tax increase over the three year period would be $98.00 in 2019-20, $27.00 in 2020-21 and $61.00 in 2021-22. Figures are based on $100,000 of personal property.
The projected mill rate over the three year period would be $10.70 in 2019-20, $10.97 in 2020-21 and $11.58 in 2021-22.
By comparison the mill rate in 2014-15 was $11.19.
The question that will appear on the ballot on April 2 states:
"Shall the River Valley School District, Sauk, Iowa, Richland and Dane Counties, Wisconsin, be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.92, Wisconsin Statutes, by up to $883,000 for the 2019-20 school year, up to $2,454,000 for the 2020-21 school year, up to $3,213,000 for the 2021-2022 school year for a total of $6,550,000 for nonrecurring purposes consisting of maintaining the educational programs and current level of district operations?
The River Valley school board has gone on record as planning to have to cut $1.4 million if the referendum fails. Included would be staff members along with extra and co-curricular programs.
The board points out that more funding is needed if the district is to maintain its ranking of 65th out of 367 schools in Wisconsin and continue to exceed expectations on the Department of Public Instruction report card.
Also on the ballot are three school board positions that are without opposition. They include Jeffrey J. Maier in Area 3, Sara Young in Area 6 and John D. Bettinger in Area 9.

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