Boscobel referendum on the ballot Tuesday
A $6.9 million referendum is up for a vote Tuesday in Boscobel. The money would fund numerous improvements to the district’s schools.
“If the referendum fails, we’re going to have to borrow money,” school board president Todd Miller said.
The referendum funds would cover projects linked to energy efficiency, including (but not limited to):
– New drainage system and sewer lines at the middle/high school
– HVAC upgrades at all of the schools
– New LED lighting and electrical system updates in and outside of all school buildings
– Stage lighting and controls for the elementary and middle/high schools
Miller said there have been incidents where rooms get far too hot for students, and because of air conditioning issues, the district already lost a day and a half of school for high temperatures.
In addition, water in some parts of the middle/high school building is brown out of the faucet, and siding is visibly split in some places.
Miller said if the district wants to get another 40 years out of the decades-old infrastructure, vital repairs need to happen and it makes sense fiscally to do it all at once.
Miller is confident a majority of the community is on board with investing in the improvements.
“They understand that this minor investment is worth it to create a better and safer environment for our students,” Miller said.
That said, people like Mark Knowles think some of the improvements that would be covered by the referendum aren’t necessary right now. Knowles has been very vocal in his opposition to the plan and pushed for a public vote.
“It goes overboard on things that don’t really need fixing, and the district has greater financial needs than it can already handle,” Knowles said.
Knowles also disagrees with the lack of bidding process that happened to get to this point. At this point, Madison-based H&H Energy Services, Inc. is selected by the school board to do the work. Knowles believes there are cheaper options the district is not exploring and questions the way they were offered the contract.
Miller says an attorney told the board the district didn’t violate any laws by hiring H&H for the job. Knowles still would like to see a more open bidding process.
Knowles says rather than the repairs that students wouldn’t see, he would like to see this kind of money go toward a capital project, like a new sports complex.
“I think something that the community would be proud of, I would be happy to pay extra taxes for that,” Knowles said.
“It’s time to be proud to be from Boscobel and proud to be a bulldog again,” Miller said.
For more information on the referendum, visit http://www.boscobel.k12.wi.us/referendum-information.