Clinton voters face referendum
What: A $9.63 million upgrade to Clinton School District facilities
Details: Much of the work will be done at the elementary school. The district wants to re-route buses and cars to make pick-up and drop-off time easier. The district is planning to install geothermal heating and expand some classrooms at the school. Safety upgrades also will take place at the middle and high schools.
Who votes: The district includes the village of Clinton and parts of the city of Beloit as well as Bradford, La Prairie, Turtle, Clinton and Sharon townships.
For more information: Visit www.clinton.k12.wi.us or call (608) 676-5482.
CLINTON The economy hasn't improved since Clinton School District voters narrowly shot down a referendum in November.
The fact that the district is coming right back with the question shows sincerity and good planning, Administrator Pam Kiefert said.
On Tuesday, the district will ask voter permission to borrow $9.63 million for upgrades—mostly at the elementary school.
"The economy is the biggest question mark," Kiefert said. "We truly do understand that. That's why we think bringing it back was worthwhile."
In a news statement Tuesday, the district said interest rates for school districts have dropped 1 percent since October, which could lead to $1.5 million in savings over the life of the loan.
In November, district voters turned down an identical referendum question by 28 votes, which was less than 1 percent.
A committee of citizens and school officials studied the issue for two years before recommending the referendum last year.
-- Improvements to the loading and unloading area for buses at the elementary school. Separating bus, car and pedestrian traffic in the hectic parking lot would make things much safer, Principal Joe Bellante said.
Kids and parents wouldn't have to cross in front of buses, and "I don't like kids climbing over ice mounds to get to cars," Bellante said.
Plans include cutting into the terrace to widen East Street. Currently, if a car pulls over to pick up a child on the narrow street—a very common occurrence—it creates a traffic jam, Bellante said.
-- Expanding some hallways and some classrooms and building separate gym and cafeteria space. The gym expansion is part of the traffic safety plan.
-- Replacing the elementary school's heating and air exchange systems, which were installed in the 1950's. The equipment breaks down often, and it's hard to find replacement parts, Kiefert said.
-- Replacing the district's old boilers with a geothermal heating and cooling system. Geothermal costs more to build—$1.69 million versus $1.49 million for a conventional heating system, Business Manager Kathy Zwirgzdas said. But depending on the way savings are calculated, geothermal would pay for itself in up to 7.7 years, she said. These numbers were newly calculated Aug. 4.
A geothermal system uses pipes to pump liquid deep underground. In summer or winter, the system would heat or cool the liquid and pump it back through the school to warm or cool it.
-- A new access road that would open ambulance access to football games and keep delivery trucks off the playground.
-- Plans include installing cameras at all three schools and installing doors capable of locking down at the middle and high schools. The elementary building already can be locked down, but moving the school office closer to an entryway would help receptionists better monitor visitors.