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St. Croix Central voters to decide on school buildings

On April 7, nearly seven months ago, more than 50 community members including parents, teachers, administrators, school board members and alumni joined St. Croix Central District Superintendent Tim Widiker and representatives from Miron Construction and Wold Architects to convene the first meeting of the St. Croix Central School District Facilities Task Force (FTF). The task force was charged with determining the facility and educational programing needs of the district looking 10 years into the future, developing solutions to address those needs, assessing the financial implications of those solutions and submitting a written report to the the SCC School Board summarizing its findings along with the pros and cons of each solution.

Widiker’s concern then was the same as it is now in the week before the referendum vote.

“Our goal has always been to inform people,” Widiker said. “If they want to vote yes or want to vote no, that is their personal prerogative, as long as they are informed by Nov. 4. I’d hate for somebody to come to me on Nov. 5 and say, ‘Gosh, I would have voted the other way if I’d only known this or that.’”

The task force used input from a phone survey of 300 randomly selected families throughout the community to refine potential solutions and budgets prior to making its recommendation to the school board on June 23.

Three public information sessions held over the course of four weeks and countless volunteer hours spent explaining the resolutions and answering questions in front of more than 30 local civic organizations ranging from the Lions Club, to booster groups to church groups has led to the final drive to get residents out to vote Nov. 4.

With five days to go before the vote, members of the FTF Outreach committee have been working overtime mailing fact sheets, posting information to the district’s website (scc.k12.wi.us), and calling voters to ensure every possible voter has the facts about the referendum. Whether or not the referendum passes will have a lasting impact on the future education of students in the district.

The referendum is divided into two questions.

Question 1

Question 1 would authorize the school district to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $23.995 million for the public purpose of paying the costs of addition, renovation, remodeling and site improvement projects at each of the district’s school buildings to provide additional space for classroom, instructional, performance and physical education activities; reconfiguring school entrances and security purposes; parking lot expansion including acquisition of approximately one-half acre of land adjacent to the middle school for said purpose; construction of a new bus garage; renovating a district-owned building for district offices and alternative education and equipment acquisition related to said projects.

A “yes” vote means you are authorizing the district to spend not more than $23.995 million for the stated additions and improvements.

A “no” vote means you are preventing the district from spending any money for the stated additions and improvements.

Question 2

Question 2 would authorize the district to include in the final school district budget an amount not to exceed $300,000 in excess of the revenue limit each year on a recurring basis beginning with the 2015-16 school year for the purpose of paying district operation and maintenance costs.

A “yes” vote means you are authorizing the district to spend not more than $300,000 annually in excess of the revenue limit beginning with the 2015-16 school year for the purpose of paying district operation and maintenance costs associated with the additions and improvements proposed in Questions 1.

A “no” vote means you are preventing the district from spending any money in excess of the revenue limit each year beginning with the 2015-16 school year for the purpose of paying District operation and maintenance costs associated with the additions and improvements proposed in Questions 1.

Task force volunteers have worked hard to stress the two questions are related to each other and both must pass for the future improvements and benefits to be realized by students and community members.

“We don’t want people to assume one way or the other,” Widiker said. “Please get out and vote. Every vote counts. I feel very good about where we are at. The process has worked really well and all the credit is due to the 20 or 30 people who have worked really hard and given selflessly of their time to get the message out there. I’m very appreciative. Now it’s in the voters’ hands.”

The fall election is Tuesday, Nov. 4. All polling places open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Absentee voting is an option if you have conflicts getting to the polls on Election Day. Voters can cast absentee ballots at their municipal clerk’s office. In-person absentee voting (also known as early voting) runs on weekdays ending at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31. If mailing in your absentee ballot using the U.S. Postal Service: Your completed absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day and received by the municipal clerk no later than 4 p.m. on the Friday after the election. Using delivery options other than the U.S Postal Service, (FedEx, hand-delivery, etc.): Your completed absentee ballot must be delivered to the municipal clerk no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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