Evansville school referendums set: Two questions for total of $4.57 million

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Gina Duwe
Thursday, July 17, 2014

EVANSVILLE—Evansville School District voters will face two referendum questions on the Nov. 4 ballot asking for a total of $4.57 million across five years to pay for curriculum, technology and security upgrades and facility maintenance.

The school board on Wednesday approved the plan after months of discussion and a community survey earlier this year that showed support for referendums.

If both referendums pass, taxes on a $100,000 home would increase $104.37 for each of the five years, according to district data. The affect on a $300,000 home would be $313.11 for each of the five years.

The board set the dollar amounts based on needs detailed in audits last year, Superintendent Jerry Roth said. The district conducted an internal curriculum audit and hired Apex Building Consultants of Sun Prairie for its facility audit, Paragon Development Systems of Oconomowoc for its technology audit and RETA Security of Lemont, Illinois, for its safety audit.

Here is how the referendum questions break down:

--A five-year, $2,251,200 referendum for curriculum and technology initiatives. The district would buy new curriculum in multiple subjects throughout all grade levels and improve wireless Internet service to cover the whole district. About 600 tablet/computer devices would be purchased across five years.

The estimated tax increase on a $100,000 home would be $51.43 for each of the five years. The tax increase on a $300,000 home would be $154.29 each year.

--A five-year, $2,315,097 referendum for building safety/security and facility maintenance. The district would install cameras and buzzer systems at the schools' front entrances and address windows, roofs, doors and sidewalks at all schools except J.C. McKenna Middle School.

The district is not spending any money at McKenna because it plans to remodel or build a new middle school in the future.

The estimated tax increase on a $100,000 home would be $52.94 for each of the five years. The tax increase on a $300,000 home would be $158.82.

Roth said the district would share a detailed breakdown of how the money would be spent in the coming weeks.

Administrators reviewed with the board Wednesday a communications plan that includes launching a referendum website next month; sending news releases; providing information at staff, PTO/PTA, church, community and athletic events; organizing building tours and mailing postcards.

Even though the vote is set for November, if approved, the funds will be included in the levy for the 2014-15 school year.

The tax increases would stay the same from the first through fifth years of the referendums, District Business Manager Doreen Treuden said.

The district's community survey, which received a 29.7 percent response rate, found support for potential referendums. The survey showed these numbers:

—64 percent would vote for a $900,000 curriculum and textbook referendum

—55 percent would vote for a $300,000 safety and security referendum

—49 percent would vote for a $2.8 million maintenance referendum

—57 percent would vote for a $1.52 million technology referendum

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