Sparta School District seeks community input on referendum
The Sparta School District is seeking community input and involvement on two multi-million referendums that will appear on the April 3 ballot.
The Sparta School Board approved placing the referendums, totaling $32.5 million, on the ballot last month. The primary question asks voters to approve $28.5 million in borrowing to build a new elementary school, while the second referendum requests $4 million to address space needs at existing buildings.
The board chose to separate the two figures into different questions because the community survey, which went out in November, showed "significant support" for the $28.5 million referendum, while a $32.5 million question had strong but less support.
The school district is set to retire its Meadowview referendum debt, making $22.5 million in new debt the breakeven point, where the debt levy will remain unchanged.
The $28.5 million referendum will add $24 of property taxes on a $100,000 home, while the approval of both will increase the tax payment by $40 on the same house.
The school district is looking for community participation on two committees, including:
Community Task Force: This existing committee will continue meeting to provide specific input on various aspects of elementary facility expansion. Community members and staff members are encouraged to attend and participate.
Meetings are scheduled for Monday nights Feb. 5 and 19 and March 5, 19 and 26 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. in the Administrative & Educational Center (AEC) Conference Room at 201 E. Franklin St.
Communication Task Force: This committee will lead communication efforts to explain to all stakeholders the referendums' purpose, structure, and financial impact as well as help with “get out the vote” efforts.
Meetings are scheduled for Thursday nights Feb. 8 and 22, and March 8, 22 and 29 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. in the AEC Conference Room.
The Sparta School District also is convening two additional committees to undergo specific discussions related to middle and elementary schools. Those committees will consist of school personnel and will draw on their knowledge and experience in education.
All meetings will be posted in the Monroe County Herald and the public is encouraged to attend. These meetings will be held as follows:
Middle School Task Force: Monday afternoons Feb. 5 and 19, and March 5, 19 and 26 from 3:45 - 5 p.m. in the Meadowview Cafeteria.
Elementary School Task Force: Thursday afternoons Feb. 8 and 22, and March 8, 22 and 29 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in the Southside LMC.
The school district also will host three Open Houses, which will include opportunities to review building concept models and financial impacts as well as ask questions and tour the district's current facilities. These Open Houses will be held as follows:
• Maplewood Elementary Open House: Tuesday, Feb. 20, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
• Lawrence-Lawson Elementary Open House: Tuesday, March 6, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
• Southside Elementary Open House: Tuesday, March 20, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
The district also will be offering other opportunities to learn about its facilities expansion plans and the upcoming referendum in the near future, including mailings. Questions can be directed to Dr. Van Deuren, superintendent, at (608) 366-3400.