Janesville64.4°

Turner School District won't seek referendum

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ANN MARIE AMES
July 15, 2008
— The Turner School District will not go to referendum this fall, school board President Norm Jacobs said.

Instead, the board will direct staff to keep looking at options for buying land.


“That goes without saying … the referendum option is out,” Jacobs said. “I would say November would be at least too early to go back to the community to ask for purchasing land.”


Presidential, state legislature and other elections will take place in November.


On Monday night, the finance committee, which Jacobs chairs, talked about the land purchase question that failed in April. Voters turned down a question that included an almost complete renovation of the outdoor athletic facility and the purchase of 40 acres about a quarter mile north of the middle/high school campus.


The price for the renovations and land purchase was $2.5 million.


At the same time, voters approved a $6.1 million upgrade to the middle/high school. Work is coming along nicely on that project, Jacobs said.


The district doesn’t want to miss the opportunity for a good deal with the real estate market the way it is, Jacobs said.


“What voters have told us is they don’t want to borrow money for that (land purchase),” Jacobs said. “We think we can do it another way. That’s what we want staff to look at.”


The land the district was considering in April is still on the table, but the district is willing to look at other parcels, Jacobs said.


Jacobs does not yet know how much the district would consider spending on land. He said it would have to stay under the district’s spending cap and not take away money from programs.


The district last spring would not say how much it planned to spend on the 40-acre parcel. But District Administrator Dennis McCarthy said at the time that it would be less than the $800,000 the district previously considered spending on 60 acres.


Jacobs said it’s important to keep looking because land prices have gone down since last year.



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