22 Aug 2014
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School Referendum, Voting Date Deemed by Many to be Good Timing

Board discusses the 'right time' for spending, and the right time for voting as November 8

School Referendum, Voting Date Deemed by Many to be Good Timing

The school board voted to approve resolutions that will pave the way to re-post a referendum question to Muskego voters on their elementary school consolidation plan.

A previous referendum in November of 2010 failed. It put a $40 million price tag on building a new school on Muskego's east side, closing Tess Corners, Muskego and Country Meadows Elementary Schools, and expanding Mill Valley Elementary.  The revised plan retains Country Meadows and comes in at a cost to to exceed $35.5 million.  

The school district is seeking approval to borrow $29.9 million in funds, and many on the board felt that the time was never better.

"What we are saying after all the time and planning, is that this plan is going to be the (least expensive) one we will be able to present," Jim Schaefer, Board President explained.

Others agreed, saying that the cost of waiting any further would cost hundreds of thousands in construction costs.

While resident Tom Nowicki expressed his unwillingness to vote for any referendum that exceeded $20 million, and said he felt the district should utilize more of their fund balance to pay for the project (current proposal reflects $5 million from the fund balance), another resident was emphatic in his support.

"I think we need to move on this," said Paul Oman.  "The bids have been great, interest rates are great - and I don't think we will ever see them as low as they are right now.  Now is the time to do this - let's go for it."

The school board also discussed the November 8 special election date stated in the resolution, with many feeling here, too, waiting was not an option.

Feeling that people are more used to voting in a November election, Superintendent Dr. Joe Schroeder said that "it falls into the normal patterns for people."  

Schroeder also felt the cost of a special election, about $10-$15,000, would be far less than waiting until April, again citing inflation and the costs for construction as a concern.

Board member Mike Serdynski agreed with the timing of the election as well.

"Our process has been deliberate all along, and we don't want to change anything outside the pattern," he said.

The board also felt that, while the only item on the ballot, the special election should be available to voters at all polling places throughout the city.  The last special election, which was held in May for the 83rd assembly race, had long lines at City Hall and late closures at the polls, which were restricted to that one site.

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