Janesville75.6°

Turner School Board gathers referendum data

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GINA R. HEINE
October 6, 2012

— The Turner School Board on Monday night will consider a contract with Bray Architects to help put a price tag on a new high school project.

The board will discuss and possibly vote on a $2,500 facility-planning contract during its Monday meeting, Superintendent Dennis McCarthy said.

“It’s one of those factors the board needs to consider before (making) any determinations of whether we do a referendum,” he said. “I don’t think a final decision of whether we go forward will happen until January.”

The district is considering an April referendum to ask voters for permission to build a new high school on property the district owns behind the current high school. While other area districts are seeing declining enrollment, Turner enrollment has held steady through the recession as it continues to attract more students from other districts through open enrollment.

The annual third Friday count shows an enrollment of 1,478 this year, up 11 students from 1,467 last year.

More than 20 percent of Turner students this year are from outside the school district. The district has 296 students from other districts attending through open enrollment, while 107 students open enrolled out, for a net gain of 189. The net gain of students has steadily increased from 30 students in 2007-08.

The district has not provided any estimates for the cost of a new high school because it is waiting for enrollment projections, equalized property values, overall levy and project costs, McCarthy said. Much of that information will trickle in over the coming weeks, he said.

School board members Jim Olson and John Turner are leading an ad-hoc committee of 22 community members who will provide feedback on the idea of building a new high school. The committee met once and is planning to meet later this month or in early November when more numbers are available.

Committee members will review the data and provide the board with guidance on how a new high school could impact the community, McCarthy said. The members “have a knowledge of what is happening out in the community,” so they can share information and collect feedback throughout the district, he said.

“We feel that we have a real good, broad base of community members to bounce questions off of and give us the answers we need,” Turner said.

They will find out what concerns committee members have and what vision they have for the district in the next five to six years, he said.

“People certainly have reservations when talking about a large spending project,” McCarthy said. “We want to know what information people need to help them make a decision.”

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

School board members Jim Olson and John Turner are leading an ad-hoc committee that will provide feedback on building a new high school.

The committee members are: Curt Fell, Rick Nelson, Bill and Kelly Lauterbach, Norm Oldenburg, Karl Bell, Gene Wright, Ken Marquardt, Harold Jensen, Tim Johnson, Jim Clowes, Brad Austin, Gene Ziemba, Steve Ferger, Nancy Forbeck, Tim and Lori Taylor, Tim McMahon, Wade Sweger, John Helms, Dee Nyre and Diane Greenlee.



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