Iola-Scandinavia schools seek funds for capital projects
By David Dyb and Sarah Thiel
On Nov. 8, voters in the Iola-Scandinavia School District will be presented two referendum questions.
One pertains to capital projects and the other pertains to the district’s operating budget over the next five years.
Question 1: Shall the School District of Iola-Scandinavia, Waupaca and Portage Counties, Wisconsin, be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $2 million for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school improvement program consisting of: renovation and remodeling of classrooms for safety, energy efficiency and learning space modernization, technology upgrades, roof repairs, facility and site improvements, HVAC upgrades; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures, equipment and vehicles?
Question 2: Shall the School District of Iola-Scandinavia, Waupaca and Portage Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $600,000 for the 2016-17 school year, by $650,000 for the 2017-18 school year, by $800,000 for the 2018-19 school year, by $950,000 for the 2019-20 school year and by $1.6 million for the 2020-21 school year, for non-recurring purposes consisting of sustaining educational programming, student opportunities and operations?
This article examines the proposed capital projects.
Since 2010 the district’s funding has been reduced by approximately $1 million, more than $500 per student. To manage its budget appropriately, the district has made cuts in staffing, technology and maintenance, and delayed important capital improvement projects. Further delaying these projects would make these improvements more costly in future years.
“We’ve patched and patched and patched – there’s nothing left to patch,” said I-S School Board member Bruce Beyersdorf, a member of the district’s building and grounds committee.
Planned capital improvements include: Replacing two of the elementary school’s boilers, which were installed in 1964; excavating and paving the high school parking lot, which is suffering from deterioration, and paving the road connecting Highway Trunk G to the parking lot; repairing/replacing portions of the middle school and high school roof; replacing outdated technology equipment; repaving/repairing the elementary school playground; replacing four buses – two in 2017 and two in 2019.
The complete list of capital projects – nearly 30 altogether – is available at the district office and on the district website.
If approved, these capital improvements would begin in spring 2017 and project to be completed in approximately three years. Many of them will create energy efficiencies that will provide future energy cost savings.
If both of these questions are approved, school taxes for school district residents are projected to increase an average of $7.30 per month for a home valued at $100,000. This increase will span five years, from 2016-17 through 2020-21. The debt from the district’s last referendum – held in 1999 – will be paid in full in 2020, and the district intends to structure debt payments to begin when that debt is eliminated, reducing the impact on taxpayers.
For more information, contact David Dyb, district administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-445-2411, ext. 215; Sarah Thiel, business manager, at email@example.com or 715-445-2411, ext. 214; or visit www.iola.k12.wi.us/district/referendum.cfm.