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May 26, 2019

3/18/2019 8:49:00 AM
Group Letter - Signed by 50 opposing MP Referendum

Dear Editor:
Here are some of the reasons why we are voting NO to the School District's April 2nd referendum seeking $19,500,000 to build a new elementary school:
• It Is Better To Renovate and Expand the Current School. By voting NO, the district would go forward with the referendum that passed in November to renovate and expand the existing elementary school making it a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient facility that will last for another 50+ years. Every classroom would be renovated, air-conditioned, and have modern furnishings, fixtures, and equipment.
• The New School Is Not Bigger. The proposed new school at the middle school/high school would be no bigger than the renovation and expansion at the current site. Some of the architects' estimates show the new school being smaller than the renovated current school.
• Keeping Younger Students Separated Is Beneficial. Bringing our youngest students up to the middle school/high school would expose them to older students in non-academic, unsupervised settings, which is something that many parents and educators have opposed. Currently, the elementary students and high school students collaborate on various academic projects and are transported by bus.
• The Current School Should Not Be Abandoned. Abandoning the current location is wasteful. Not only does it have a new roof and new windows, but it has currently served the students well enough to earn a "Significantly Exceeds" 5 star-school report card rating - higher than both the middle and high schools.
• Costs for Abandoning School Were Not Considered. The school board spent no time discussing a plan or budget for an abandoned elementary school before deciding to have the second referendum. After public concern that there was no plan, the school board added the discussion to the March 11 meeting. During that meeting, ideas were tossed about, but no definite plan emerged and future costs were given little, if any, consideration.
• Expected Foundation Issues Do Not Warrant Abandonment. The $11.9 million referendum has sufficient cushion to remediate the foundation issue. It should be noted that unknown foundation issues also exist with excavating bedrock to prepare the new site at the high school/middle school.
• The Current Location Has Strong Benefits. The school's current location provides a connection to our local community and natural resources, both of which enrich the educational experience. By moving to the middle school/high school, the elementary school would lose its walkability to main street, the school garden, the Oak Savanna, and the sled hill.
• A United Campus Would Create Congestion. Adding 360 additional students plus staff to the middle school/high school will cause traffic congestion. The proposed additional parking at the high school is inadequate to accommodate the influx of parents and staff.
• New School Will Not Improve Education. Building a new school will not necessarily improve education, and will tie up taxpayer money in building debt that could be used in better ways.
• High Taxes. The tax increase to build a new school at the middle school/high school would give Mineral Point the 3rd highest school tax mill rate in the state when compared to current school mill rates.
For more information or to join the conversation on this issue, please visit the "Support MP Elementary - Vote No" Facebook page. This is not about historic preservation. It's about preserving education.
We are opposed to the current referendum, and encourage everyone to vote NO.
Signed alphabetically,
Katie and Matt Benish, Jenny Bonde, Jalissa Cassidy, Mike and Quinn Christensen, Judith Clayton, Fred Cummings, Julia Dailey, Mary Steffes Delaney, Meghan Dudle, Monica Dunn, Lisa and Bill Duwell, Tim Freeman, Nathan Gieseke, Mo May Grimm, Jim and Bev Harris, Will and Iza Harris, Lisa and Don Hay, Therese Hess, Mark and Betty Hogan, Linda and John Hurley, Tom Kelly, Lynnea Lauffer, Daniel Libby, Bob May, Mike and Jo Mitchell, Janice Prince, Bobbi Jo and John Rury, Nancy and Tom Schmit, May Sorum, John and Lisa Spady, Brenda and Mark Steffes, Margaret Tucker, Susan and Bill Webb, Brandie and Darin Wheeler, Alex and Rubilly Wilson

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