TOWN OF BELOIT
The Beloit Turner School Board approved a one-question facilities referendum in a 6-1 vote at Monday night’s meeting.
The district will ask residents for nearly $26.5 million to be spent on a variety of projects. Board President John Turner said the proposal would result in a “substantial upgrade” to school facilities.
The district would use $4.5 million to pay for science, technology, engineering and math additions to the middle and high schools. There would also be money spent on improved security across the district and a renovation for the high school gym.
The other $22 million would go toward closing down Townview Elementary School and building a new elementary school that would house second through fifth grade.
If passed, the referendum would increase the district tax rate by $99 per $100,000 of assessed value.
Turner said the board wants what is best for area students and that Townview simply isn’t the best. District officials have cited poor internet access and a dilapidated sewage line as problems at the school.
“Our current school is failing our students in many ways at Townview,” Turner said.
Kim Ward was the only board member who voted against the one-question referendum. She wanted residents to be able to vote on the STEAM money separately from the money to build a new school and shut down Townview.
“I want the public to be able to weigh in on either and do what’s right for their family financially when they vote,” Ward said.
The other board members disagreed.
“All citizens benefit from quality schools. If we have quality schools and we continue to improve them and keep them up to date, that makes our community more attractive,” board member John Pelock said.
Tim Taylor serves on the school facilities committee. He said Monday that splitting the referendum into two questions would be like giving the community a “shopping list.”
“We’re not putting out a shopping list of what needs to be done. We identified Townview needing to be replaced as the primary need. If adding in all these other things based on tax tolerance helps the school get passed, that’s all the better. We just need to keep the focus on what’s best for the kids,” he said.
Board member Dannie Shear hopes that the community will help them better the district by passing the referendum.
“I think this is the right time for this to happen. It’s huge for the kids,” he said.