PdC School Referendum

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Prairie du Chien 

School District residents to 

be asked $18.9 million question

By Ted Pennekamp

 

During a special meeting of the Prairie du Chien School Board Monday night, the board approved of two referendum questions to be on the ballot for the April 5 general election. 

The first question will involve whether or not to allow the school district to exceed the revenue limit in order to increase the operating budget. The second question will involve whether or not to allow the district to authorize bonds for various facilities upgrades.

Question 1 states, “Shall the Prairie du Chien Area School District, Crawford County, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $890,000 for the 2016-2017 school year; by an additional $90,000 (for a total of $980,000) for the 2017-2018 school year; by an additional $90,000 (for a total of $1,070,000) for the 2018-2019 school year; by an additional $90,000 (for a total of $1,160,000) for the 2019-2020 school year; by an additional $90,000 (for a total of $1,250,000) for the 2020-2021 school year; an additional $90,000 (for a total of $1,340,000) for the 2021-2022 school year and thereafter for recurring purposes?

Question 2 states, “Shall the Prairie du Chien Area School District, Crawford County, Wisconsin, be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $18.9 million for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school building and improvement program consisting of: ventilation and air conditioning improvements at District schools; construction of additions for a gym annex, support space, instrumental music and technical education at Bluff View Intermediate School and for an auditorium, greenhouse, gymnasium and support space at the High School; remodeling, renovation and improvements at B.A. Kennedy Elementary School; playground, parking and site improvements at Bluff View Intermediate School; and acquiring technical education equipment and other furnishings, fixtures and equipment?”

A further school board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 25 to officially finalize these two referendum questions, but it was stated Monday night that it is unlikely that the wording or content of the questions will change. 

Early in the meeting Monday night, the school board had been discussing a possible facilities upgrade question involving not exceeding $19.8 million. The board later approved of the question involving $18.9 million. 

Items being discussed included air conditioning in all three buildings at a cost of $3,192,763, B.A. Kennedy library and safety issues at $99,250, a high school 750-seat auditorium addition at $8,243,398, a high school three-court gymnasium addition at $5,699,873, a high school green house addition at $82,210, a Bluff View technical education and band addition and site work at $1,847,487, and a Bluff View wrestling and storage addition at $719,598. All of the above would total $19,884,580. Additive alternatives included a 1,000-seat auditorium at $753,561 and 1,500 seats of bleachers for the high school gym at $675,000.

It was noted at the meeting Monday night that facilities upgrades not to exceed $18.9 million could be done without increasing the current tax rate of $10.66.

The maximum amount of time for a loan for the facilities upgrades is 20 years. A conservative estimate of the projected interest rate on such a loan is 3.5 percent. The actual interest rate could be higher or could be lower. It is more likely, however, that the interest rate would be 3.5 percent or lower.

The school board also discussed a capital fund-raising campaign to help offset the cost of facilities upgrades. The board decided that the capital campaign should begin as soon as possible and the goal would be approximately $2 million. 

Recommendations regarding the two referendum questions were developed following several public meetings, ongoing community messages and 430 survey responses.

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