Next month, residents in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District will decide whether to approve a nearly $60 million referendum.
The plan calls for major renovations at the district's two middle schools -- Kromrey Middle School in Middleton and Glacier Creek Middle School in Cross Plains.
"It's two questions on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. We have a capital question of $59.8 million and the plan there is to rebuild and expand Kromrey Middle School and then also to expand Glacier Creek Middle School," said Perry Hibner, the school district's communication director.
Hibner said parts of Kromrey Middle School were built in the 1960s.
"We anticipate having to spend $5 million to $7 million in maintenance improvements in the next five to seven years. That means we'd have no dollars to do maintenance projects at other schools. We just don't think it makes sense to invest dollars into a bad facility," Hibner said.
Hibner said a new building would eliminate Kromrey's mold issues, which canceled classes for six days in 2010. It would also reduce overcrowding by moving fifth-graders to the middle schools.
"Right now, at our six elementary schools, we're anywhere from 2 to 33 percent overcrowded," Hibner said.
Parts of Kromrey were renovated in 1990, but the district hasn't built a new school since 1996, despite growing enrollment.
"Our enrollment as of this year is nearly 6,200 students, so we've grown by more than 25 percent in that time," Hibner said. "We haven't built an elementary or middle school during that stretch."
Hibner said the average home in the district costs about $280,000, and average homeowners would see their taxes go up about $180 if the referendum is approved.
Those at the Middleton Senior Center on Tuesday had mixed reactions about the plan and the tax increase.
"I'm against it. I just don't feel at my age that I should be paying for or taking on the tax burden that will be coming," said Middleton resident Carole Troia. "Both my boys went to Kromrey, so I know it's an old school. But, heck, I went to school in a Quonset hut. I did and we graduated and got honors, and I just see no reason why they have to do this."
Sarah Sweitzer moved to Middleton in September and said she supports the referendum.
"I think it's a wonderful proposal. I do think that people decide where they want to live based on how they feel about the schools in that community," Sweitzer said.
Sweitzer said her granddaughter will likely attend school in the district.
"When I went to school, we didn't have air conditioning, but I think the world has changed. I think the mold is a real issue. Kids have allergies. I think it's good to have a plan to fix that. I just think it's an important investment in the community," Sweitzer said.
"I have grandchildren in the school system in Cross Plains, and I certainly am supportive of the school district referendum," said Middleton resident Carol Shanley.
Voters have voted down two other similar referendums in the past seven years. If this referendum is approved, construction would start next year.
For voters looking for more information, the district will have an information table at Barriques from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and at Crossroads Coffee House from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday.
People can also learn more about the plan at www.mcpasd.k12.wi.us//2012-referendum.