Parkview School District will ask voters for $17 million

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Monday, December 16, 2013

ORFORDVILLE--For the second time in two years, Parkview School District voters will see a school referendum on the April ballot.

Monday, the Parkview School Board unanimously approved a resolution asking voters for permission to borrow $17 million to build/renovate a new junior/senior high school at the existing Parkview Elementary School and to build/renovate a new 4K-6th grade facility at the current junior/senior high school.

As part of the plan, Parkview Primary School in Footville would close.

The second part of the referendum will ask voters for permission to exceed state-imposed revenue limits by $350,000 for non-recurring purposes.

In April 2012, district voters rejected a $5 million referendum that would have added 13 classrooms and a new gym at Orfordville Elementary and closed the schools in Footville and Newark. The school board voted later that month to close Newark Elementary and consolidate students into schools in Footville and Orfordville.

Parkview Superintendent Steve Lutzke said when feedback was collected after that referendum, many people asked why high school improvements weren't included. They also said they would not vote for a referendum unless it included consolidating district buildings.

For the past year and a half, a long-term planning committee has been working on several referendum options and seeking public feedback.

Two other options were considered: The first, which would have cost about $9 million, included building a new gym at the high school and doing upkeep on the rest of the buildings. The other option was a $20-million plan to expand the high school. 

After two public feedback meetings in fall, the long-range planning committee recommended going forward with the $17-million plan.

The potential annual tax impact of the $17-million plan would be about $262 for the owner of a $100,000 home.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Clay Hammes, school board president and member of the long-term planning committee.

A “Vote Yes” committee has been formed, and it will do much of the work on the referendum. School district employees can only give out information on the referendum; they cannot encourage people to vote for the project.

Board Vice President Steve Haberman said the work was needed in order to keep the district competitive.

“I was talking to a realtor that had a home for sale in Footville,” Haberman said. “She said that part of the problem was that people didn't have to go very far to get to a school district that had already been updated.”

Hammes believes the upgrades could mean great things for the community—but it was hard to quantify that effect with an exact dollar figure.

“We are staring to be noticed for the things we're doing inside of the schools,” Hammes said. “I can't tell you an amount, but I think we could have a little gem here.”

Last updated: 10:14 pm Monday, December 16, 2013

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