Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Board consensus is referendum this fall

 Members of the West Bend School Board were asked 3 questions tonight at the Board meeting. The questions were in regards to phase 1 of the 25 year plan.

1. Are you in agreement with the $28.1 million cost of construction for Silverbrook and Greentree? (this includes only construction costs, but the taxpayers be voting on the final amount which will include more than $15 million in interest added to the $28.1 million for a total of more than $40 million.)

2. How much money from the existing funds should be put toward the project? (downpayment money)

3. What would the timeline be to ask the community to support these projects via referendum?

With the execption of Dave Weigand and Bart Williams, the Board agreed to the November 2012 timeline for a referendum question. The Board is scheduled to officially vote on this at the meeting August 20th.

Dave Weigand requested a downpayment of 20% on any construction costs, Bart Williams asked for $2 million, Randy Marquardt requested $1.6 million, Rick Parks also requested a large downpayment, and the remaining Board members requested no downpayment so the referendum would be for the total construction costs.

There is a potential of savings of $870,000 annually with the closing of Barton in a few years.

Reasons why Weigand and Williams would not support a fall referendum include: division of Board and community, local economy not fully recovered, 2 of the 3 previous referendum failed, this exact plan and cost has not been presented to the general public- very limited buy-ins, limited meetings of Superintendent with select community groups, rush of process, unnecessary at present as there is current space available for students.

My questions are: Is this a good time to ask the community for more money? The cost of the Badger Referendum payback is still going up since the payments were scheduled to increase yearly before leveling off. Will there be another Tax to the Max this fall as proposed by Ted Neitzke?

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