Beloit Turner School Board moves forward on referendum, with dissent

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Frank Schultz
Monday, October 23, 2017

TOWN OF BELOITAs expected Monday, the Beloit Turner School Board voted to stay on track for an April building referendum.

But one board member continued to maintain her opposition to the plan to build a new elementary school and renovate the high school to expand programming in science, technology, engineering and math.

The board voted 5-1 on the two resolutions required by law for a referendum to move forward. Basically, the resolutions say that district voters will decide April 3 whether or not to borrow no more than $26.8 million for the projects.

Board member Dannie Shear was not at the meeting. Board member Kim Ward was the “no” vote.

After the votes, board President John Turner said he wanted to "remind board members” that now that the board has made its decision, members should “pull together” and back the decision.

Ward said outside the meeting that she was told the same thing in private, but she can’t agree.

“If people ask me questions, I’m going to continue to tell them what I know, both sides of the issue. ... I can’t speak the party line if I don’t agree with it,” she said.

But it’s up to the voters now, she said.

“My concern is I want them to have all the facts, not just one side of the facts,” she said.

Ward is concerned that the district is bringing in too many students from other districts through the state’s open-enrollment process, and that if the building projects are driven by those higher enrollments, “then maybe we should look at slowing that down.”

Turner said during the meeting that an advisory committee had examined the building needs and gathered community input, and a community survey suggested most residents are willing to vote for the $26.8 million figure.

Plans include closing Townview Elementary School and reconfiguring Powers Elementary School to house early childhood through first grade. The new school would house grades two through five.

In addition to the referendum borrowing, officials also are talking about an additional $1.6 million loan—allowed without a referendum—to expand the referendum-funded high school expansion.

Last updated: 7:45 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

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