Edgerton School Board set on split-item referendum
EDGERTON While the Edgerton School Board has not yet voted on whether to put a possible $9.2 million referendum question on the November ballot, it voted Monday to split the question in two parts.
One part of the question would ask voters whether they'd support referendum spending for two options: $1.5 million in technology upgrades and $4.8 million in building repairs. The two spending options would be linked together so that if voters approved that part of the question, a referendum could spend up to $6.3 million on technology projects and building repairs.
The second part of the question would ask voters whether they'd support spending up to $2.9 million to refinance district pension debt linked to the Wisconsin Retirement System.
The move serves to link referendum spending on building repairs and technology spending, and isolates option two from option one. That allows voters to vote separately on the two parts, and it means that one or both parts of the referendum could pass or fail, but they'd do so independently.
Superintendent Dennis Pauli said the logic behind that move is involves a district survey earlier this year that showed the public seemed more interested in referendum spending on technology and building repairs than for a plan to refinance district pension debt.
Pauli said the results of a survey of 757 community members helped the board make the decision.
"Approximately 82 percent saw the technology and facility upgrades as a medium to high priority, so that gives the indication that this is something the community supports," Pauli said. "The WRS (district pension debt refinancing plan) was still at 64 percent that saw it as a medium to high priority, and the consultant suggested that question sit on its own."
Pauli said the board believes it could cut its current interest for the debt by more than half, from 7.2 to 3.5 percent.
On the other hand, the move pairs two large-scale projects—a multi-year building repair schedule heavy on roofing and window replacements and a technology plan that includes a district-wide switch to wireless infrastructure, and replacing aging district computers with newer equipment, including laptops and wireless tablets, officials said.
Both projects have a hefty total price tag—$6.3 million—although district officials have discussed finding ways to keep spending for both projects separate.
If that part of the question failed in the election, the district would not be able to spend through referendum on either technology or building repairs.