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Shullsburg Schools set special meeting for possible referendum planning

POSTED August 16, 2017 3:31 p.m.

SHULLSBURG – The Shullsburg School District Board of Education is planning a special meeting, on Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss a possible referendum in the future.
District Administrator Loras Kruser reminded the board that their debt would be paid off by April 2018. Kruser and the district principals, Mark Lierman and Dana Bendorf, met with Schneider Electric and Unesco to discuss some projects that the district plans on completing. They said that this was a “window of opportunity” to start planning for these projects. Kruser gave the board some options on how to finance these future projects.
Kruser stated one option would be to use Act 32 money. Act 32 is designed for energy efficiency projects. Darlington School District is currently using money from Act 32 to complete projects. Kruser said this could do a good amount of project but it would be used only for energy efficiency projects. He is unsure if Act 32 will be in the state budget and the future of that monies availability.
Another option would be to go to referendum and exceed the revenue limit. This referendum would be recurring at a set dollar amount. He gave the example of exceeding the limit by $400,000 each year and no more. Unesco and Schneider Electric said there may be issues because the school district would only be allowed to do projects for that certain amount of money each year and there could be other issues that would exceed that amount and the district would be at a short fall.
Kruser’s last option was the issue a referendum for debt; to make a list of projects and a cost estimate and borrow the money for a number of years. Kruser said the district had to do that when they last remodeled the building.
Kruser said with the recurring referendum, for example, if the district only needed to use $100,000 of the $400,000 three years in a row, then the other portion, the $300,000 would be put into a fund for long term capital expenditures. The district would only tax the taxpayers what they would need each year.
“The issue with the one time referendum is you really need your projects to equal the amount of referendum and I don’t know if we have $4 million worth of projects or $3 million or $2 million. Because we don’t have things today that are a problem,” Amy Charles stated.
Charles felt that the access to capital overtime would be more advantageous for the district.
“If we don’t do the recurring then our problem with operational costs keep getting bigger every year if we don’t have a way to address the issue. The amount of money we are getting from the state is going up very slowly and our costs are not going down to eventually we will have a problem. Recurring is the only way to address that operational issue,” Charles added.
Kruser also added that if you issue debt, it would have to be used for a specific problem and only used for that problem and cannot be used on other issues that may develop.
“If you need additional money for operations, you don’t have it with Act 32 or with issuing debt,” Kruser said.
Some board members had questions about the recurring referendum and it not having a specific end date to borrow a specific amount.
“The money borrowed each year should not increase the school portion of everyone’s property taxes at all,” Charles answered.
Board member Lee Gill stated that one of the key elements of it all is getting the community members to attend the meetings.
Kruser stated that the main item on the agenda for the special meeting on Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m., after the school’s open house, would be referendum planning.
Principals Report
Principal Dana Bendorf talked about the school website and going through an introduction into CMS4 Schools website programming. She stated the program was very nice and looked easy to use but the cost was a concern. There is an annual hosting fee of $1,469 and a one time fee of $3,900 for the design structure of the website. Board member Eugene Uehling said that the hosting fee was quite high as it should be $100-$200 a year.
Bendorf also looked into a school messenger. This program would be set up to alert students and parents about any emergencies at the school or if the school has any delays or early releases. The cost is $1.50 per student and everyone can be alerted by a phone call, email or text message. It would alleviate phone traffic in the office and let the parents and students know anything happening at the school right away.
Other Business
The Shullsburg School District Board of Education accepted/approved:
-a $4,100 donation on behalf of the Class of 1952 from the Wayne & Nancy Gehrt Charitable Trust, Patrick Kennedy and Marilyn Russell Klauber for the Fine Arts Department to be used to encourage students who might be able to afford to participate in fine arts programs to be able to
-Clare Bank’s donation of the new football score board for $10,000, which will be put up on Wednesday after the beams and poles are painted.
-a donation from All Star Power Wash for paint and supplies to paint the beams and poles for the scoreboard.
-a $1,050 donation from Kingsley’s Crossing for Junior High Volleyball uniforms.
-the Athletic Boosters purchasing “cups” to create designs on the fence by the school.
-the resignation of Math instructor Tiffany Signer.
-2 new year contract for Angela Klein as the Special Education/Pupil Services Director.
-Hannah Pick - J.V. Girls’ Basketball; Peggy Woodward and Kari-Beth Cernek - Jr. High Volleyball; Joseph Lyne and Tim Andrews - Jr. High Football; and Zach Wedige as Jr. High Boys’ and Jr. High Girls’ Basketball.
- Scott Matye, Dave Weigel and Tim Strang as Volunteer Coaches
- Discussed posting a vacancy notice for a custodial/maintenance position.

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