Spring 2014 Election

Parkview presents referendum plans to residents

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Gina Duwe
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FOOTVILLE--In a school district where voters have turned down four of the last five referendums, Parkview officials and supporters said they hope this is the time that will be remembered as a shining moment in the district's history.

Parkview officials laid out their case for a $17 million facility referendum and a three-year, $350,000 operational referendum Tuesday night at Parkview Primary School. The event was the first in a series of information meetings that continue tonight and Thursday.

“I feel strongly that this effort is, 'We are Parkview.' This isn't me and some administration and board members sitting in a corner trying to come up with a plan that we think is a good idea,” Superintendent Steve Lutzke said. “This was vetted through lots and lots of people over many, many months to try to come up with a plan that the community felt confident would be good for our district.” 

Several members of a “Vote Yes” committee were on hand to offer information. More than 30 residents attended, and comments ranged from how now is the time to support students to frustration over the burden taxpayers face in funding everything from schools to roads.

The referendums ask voters for:

--$17 million to swap the schools in Orfordville and renovate/add-on, creating essentially a new junior/high school at the existing elementary school and a renovated elementary school at the existing junior/high school. The primary school in Footville would close.

The new high school would include new science labs, agriculture education and technology education labs, new band and choir rooms, a library/media center and a three-station gym.

--$350,000 each year for the next three school years to pay for operating expenses that include technology and curriculum materials, classroom materials, professional development training and special education costs.

The district anticipates a $2.2 million deficit during the next three years, Lutzke said.

If both referendums are approved, the tax effect on a $100,000 property would be an additional $360 for each of the first three years and $270 annually in years four through 20.

Members of the long-range planning committee that gathered community input and developed the plan felt strongly that the district's facilities are hurting enrollment, Lutzke said. They've heard from parents who wish the district had better facilities, and they've also overheard the surprise parents have about conditions when visiting from outside the district.

This year 110 students open enrolled out of the district while 60 open enrolled in, Lutzke said.

Like it or not, public education is a competitive business, he said, and “we need to make sure we continue to provide an education that is desirable by our own community first and foremost, but then hopefully we can even attract some kids from other school districts.”

The district wouldn't be coming to taxpayers for another facility referendum for about 20 years because it essentially would have two new schools, Lutzke said. With improved facilities, the goal is to attract more students, which would bring in more state aid and hopefully eliminate the need to return to taxpayers in three years, he said.

The school in Footville needs nearly $1.1 million in repairs and upgrades, which would still leave the district with a 53-year-old building, he said.

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