Edgerton School Board OKs referendum for ballot
EDGERTON The Edgerton School District's plan for a $9.3 million spending referendum is now in the hands of voters.
The school board on Monday voted to put a two-part question on the Nov. 6 ballot asking residents to let the district exceed levy limits to fund deferred building maintenance and technology upgrades, and a separate plan to refinance district pension debt.
Monday was the deadline to approve the referendum for the ballot. The board's vote comes after more than a year of planning between the board and district officials.
One referendum question will ask voters whether they'd approve a $2.98 million plan to refinance district pension debt tied to the Wisconsin Retirement Fund.
The plan would cut interest costs on the debt in half, from 7.2 percent to 3.5 percent, according to district estimates. That's debt that consistently has not been addressed in budget planning in recent years because of shortfalls, Superintendent Dennis Pauli said.
The second referendum question will ask voters whether they'd approve a total of $6.3 million in combined spending for building repairs and upgrades and technology infrastructure improvements.
Plans agreed on by the board include $4.8 million in roof repairs, window replacements and other facilities upgrades at district schools, and $1.5 million in technology upgrades including a district-wide wireless network and replacement of the district's aging computers.
The board opted to split the referendum question into two parts in part because a survey earlier this year showed more residents were interested in referendum spending on technology and building repairs than on plans to refinance the pension debt, officials said.
The referendum would roll out costs for 15 years and would mean a four-year $40 to $64 bump in school taxes for a resident with a $100,000 property, according to district estimates. After that, officials said, the extra taxpayer costs could taper off in part because the district will relieve other debt.
If the referendum is approved, the tax impact would be reflected on tax bills starting in December 2012. Without the referendum, the district is on pace for a 1 percent decrease in the overall tax levy, district officials estimated at the district's annual meeting Monday.
In a move related to the referendum, the board voted to hire J.P. Cullen & Sons of Janesville as manager and supervisor for building projects linked to the referendum. The district is not obligated to pay up-front fees unless the referendum is approved.
However, district business Director Mark Worthing said J.P. Cullen would immediately begin giving the district "pre-referendum" services, including communications and marketing. Those services could range from helping the district design informational fliers on the referendum, or helping the district explain potential referendum projects during public forums before the November election, Worthing said.