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School Board adopts final language for April referendum
Boscobel School District

BOSCOBEL - The Boscobel School Board has finalized its pitch to taxpayers in the district. The board approved a referendum requesting $21.5 million at a special meeting on January 23. The funds would pay for new classroom and a gymnasium to accommodate fourth and fifth graders at the middle/high school, as well as to pay for district-wide capital maintenance projects.

The referendum would add about $140 per year for every $100,000 worth of real estate, or about $20 a month, according to an analysis produced by consultants to the board. Currently, the district’s rate of taxation is below the state average, according to the consultants.

Community result

The final language of the referendum is the result of a years-long community process that unfolded after a 2016 attempt to consolidate the district failed to garner the votes to pass a referendum.

The board formed a task force that included members of the district staff and the public to lay the groundwork for a second try. The district also hired consultants to assist in the task of long-range planning.

This task force came up with a list of priorities for the district physical plant and conducted a survey to gauge public support for these priorities—and their price tag. The survey found that a majority of voters would support a referendum of about $21 million; hence, the final ask from the board. (Full results of the survey were reported in the January 12 Dial.)

New gym included

The public survey asked respondents to rank projects based on priority. Parents and staff put a new gymnasium as a high priority, but those with no connection to the school saw it as a low priority.

Still, the referendum includes the gym as part of the package. After moving the fourth and fifth grades to the new location, the existing gym will be inadequate for scheduling the higher number of students, according to board members.

“Once we have those grades there, even to just divvy up for phy ed class you have to have more than that one gymnasium,” said board member Kim Trumm.

Casey Updike, the board’s treasurer, says the school is overdue for an upgrade. “I look at the last time our district has spent some major money on facilities, that was in the 1980s. I can’t think of a community in our area that hasn’t done some major, major updates since then. At some point, we can’t just keep slapping band-aids on things.”