Clinton voters will see two referendum questions on the Nov. 3 ballot: one for $32 million in facilities upgrades and a recurring referendum for additional operational funding.
The referendums come in the wake of a failed 2019 referendum seeking $41.9 million to build a new 4K through sixth grade building and address maintenance needs.
The new plans address many of the high-cost maintenance needs at the middle and high schools using current interest rates. In 2019, the district finished paying off debt it incurred to build the high school, which contributed to a $2.19 reduction in the tax rate.
The estimated tax impact for the facilities referendum would be $1.88 per $1,000 of property value, or $188 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home. The impact of the operational referendum would be $1.93 per $1,000, or $193 per year for a $100,000 home.
The Clinton School District’s infrastructure is aging, officials have said. Clinton Elementary opened in 1954, Clinton Middle School in 1957 and Clinton High School in 2001.
The first referendum question requests permission to borrow $32 million to address critical maintenance, renovations and repairs at the middle and high schools. If voters approve, the high school would get several upgrades, including a new roof and two-station gym, along with renovations and expansion of the agriculture and technical education classrooms.
The district also would transition from three buildings to two, with one building for grades 4K to six and the other for grades seven to 12. A 17,000-square-foot wing would be built at the middle school for younger students.
The second question asks voters to approve a four-year step increase in operational funding. The revenue limit increase would be $500,000 in year one, with an additional $500,000 in each of the next three years. After year four, the $2 million approved by voters will be used on an annual basis to sustain operations—maintaining class sizes, funding programming and helping with maintenance.
Limited population growth and a decline in enrollment have negatively impacted district’s state funding.
In 2016, district voters approved a four-year step increase of $450,000 a year. The final year of that step increase will be 2021. Officials expect that once that revenue stream ends, the district will experience growing budget deficits each year if the revenue reduction is not addressed.