Iola-Scandinavia’s school referendum benefits community
Brian Derus is an owner-broker with Homestead Realty in Iola. Derus owns investment properties in a number of school districts around Wisconsin, and says the relationship between property values and school district quality is measured in decades.
“Quality attracts quality, and likewise, the opposite is true,” he says. “A struggling school district is evident just by driving through town. It affects the quality of life, which can affect the quality of people.”
This is not a challenge Derus needs to overcome when selling property in the Iola-Scandinavia School District. With its “exceeds expectations” rating from the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, small class sizes and extracurricular opportunities, Iola-Scandinavia schools are a major selling point for Derus and his agents.
“The impact to the prospective buyers I see regarding our school district in my business is immeasurable,” he says. “This is mostly true when buyers have or intend to have school-aged children, but I also see it on a regular basis when retired people, or those without children, inquire about Iola. A quality school district is an asset, one that needs to be developed over time. Our school district has done a remarkable job maintaining the high standards of education. This starts at the top of the district and is evident throughout, right down to the part-time bus drivers.”
These high standards are at stake as Iola-Scandinavia residents head to the polls Nov. 8 to answer two referendum questions. As state funding for the district has decreased by $1 million since 2010, the district is seeking community support for much-needed capital improvements and the ability to continue providing students and residents the quality programs and services they deserve. We ask our neighbors to vote yes twice on Nov. 8.
Voting yes twice will keep Iola-Scandinavia schools strong for students like first grader Sydney Bestul. “Growing up in Iola and graduating from Iola-Scandinavia schools prepared me for college, and life in general,” says Sydney’s father Dale, who owns Community Insurance in Iola. “More recently the schools have provided a good start to my daughter’s education. I want to see a safe, high-quality educational experience continue into the future.”
Voting yes twice will keep Iola-Scandinavia attractive for families like the McGuires. Rose and Jeremiah McGuire moved to Iola from a Chicago suburb in search of an outdoors-friendly community and schools that provided similar or greater scholastic opportunities for their children, Lila, Finn and Sean. After researching districts on Greatschools.org, they focused their attention on Iola.
“We were impressed with the reach the schools had into the community, the awesome arts programs, the extracurricular activities, and the fitness center,” says Rose. “I-S kept class sizes small, and the resulting graduation rates and achievement statistics mirror that. We visited over Winter Carnival weekend, and seeing the students and staff engaging with the community in serving the lutefisk dinner was awesome – it was a spectacular showing of the interaction between the school and community.”
Voting yes twice is an emphatic gesture of support for the future generation, says local business owner Tom Fucik, who runs The Millstone of Iola Mills.
“As a business owner with multiple properties and no kids in the system, I will bear a disproportionate share of the tax increase,” Tom says. “However, I fully support the school referendum. If sacrifices need to be made to balance budgets, they should be borne by those who got us here – not by those generations who have yet to have a voice.”
Strong communities need strong schools. Strong schools are the foundation on which strong businesses and strong property values are built. Strong schools are absolutely essential in shaping the strong citizens of tomorrow.
I-S Vote Yes 2016