For the second straight year, voters Milaca School District voters will be asked to consider a Bond Referendum on their ballots.
The Milaca School Board recently approved a resolution seeking an increase in funding of $250.95 per student and general school building bonds not to exceed $5.1 million for technical education facility improvements, various capital maintenance projects including roofing, pool, windows and security.
The question will be on the ballot for Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Last November, voters turned down a similar referendum asking for $415 per pupil and school building bonds not to exceed $4,105,000.
All six Board members voted in favor of the resolution, though they seemed skeptical that the dollars they’re asking for won’t be enough to avoid cuts next spring.
“This will be a challenging thing even if it passes,” Board President Jeff Larson said. “We still might have to make reductions, but we’re also sensitive to the difficulty we’ve had passing these kind of levies in the past. We’ve got to figure out a way to get this through or we’ll have some real challenges.”
“It still doesn’t seem like enough to me,” Board member Jere Day said.
The board first had to decide on which option to send to the ballot at Monday’s meeting. The other option would’ve increased funding by $291 per pupil, though the $5.1 million bond amount would remain the same.
If the referendum passes, the estimated tax increase on a home estimated at $100,000 would be $53 in 2020. That number increases to $114 for a home valued at $200,000, $173 for $300,000 and $234 for a $400,000 home.
Superintendent Tim Truebenbach addressed the Board before voting and recommended the lesser option based on a recent survey of 625 potential Milaca voters.
“The first option is the amount at which we surveyed our community and they felt they would be the most likely to accept that,” Truebenbach said. “The second item would generate the $520,000, which is the amount we’re estimating to be our reduction amount. My recommendation (was) to take the lesser amount versus the larger amount. I really think it’s important the community knows we listened to the survey and we’re willing to listen to them and work with them.
“The one consistent part is the $5.1 million on a bond referendum that has to do with some career and technical education facilities improvements as well as some capital needs projects. I recommended the lesser amount because that is what the survey said people are more likely to support.”
Board member Sara Larsen said she agreed with Truebenbach on the importance of listening to the community as well as being transparent with them that this will not solve all the district’s financial issues.
“We need to be black and white to the public that this is not a fix-all situation,” Larsen said.