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School districts to put building questions to voters

By Ann Knoedler

Medford High School Addition and Improvements for Medford Area School District, 1015 W. Broadway, Medford

The Medford Area School District is seeking permission from district residents to borrow $10,600,000 to construct a new athletic facility at the high school. The project is one of  14 other school districts statewide scheduled for referendum Tuesday where the outcomes, if approved, will lead to various types of construction, remodeling, improvements, or simply, technology upgrades.

A total of 30 school-related referendums are posted on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website. The remaining 15 districts are seeking permission to exceed the state imposed spending cap to tax residents for operating costs to maintain current programs and services.

Some of the more ambitious referendums are in River Falls, Eau Claire, and Racine. If approved by voters, the River Falls School District will be allowed to borrow $38,860,000 for improving, upgrading and maintaining school facilities.

Eau Claire is offering a building plan to voters that will require school officials to borrow $51,850,000.

Racine is seeking to borrow $83,500,00 to expand/remodel five elementary schools and build five new replacement elementary schools.

The Medford project has already received pledges in the amount of $1,121,500 from various community businesses and organizations that see the value of a school athletic facility that will also serve as a community recreation center. MSA Integrated Project Development LLC, Beaver Dam, was hired by the district to design a new swimming pool, three-station gym and fitness center. The donated dollars will help to defray the cost to taxpayers should the referendum pass.

With all of the controversy swirling around school funding since February, it will be interesting to follow the outcome of these referendums.

Ann Knoedler is the lead data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She plans to rock the vote.

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