Southern Door’s pitch: Neither would change the current tax rate

Southern Door school officials have continued to ramp up a campaign for a pair of tax referendums this fall as early voting has begun and Election Day on Nov. 8 approaches.

District officials attended Union, Gardner and Brussels town council meetings the week of October 10 and Forestville and Nasewaupee town meetings the week of October 17. The district will also hold an open house on October 24.

Teachers and administrators have recorded a series of videos to post on the district’s Facebook page explaining how certain sections of the school need improvement, expansion, modernization or relocation.

The principal of the college, Brenda Shimon, appeared on October 13 in the first video. She discussed issues in her part of the school, including family and consumer education, which has electrical service near water taps and is not well set up for teachers. can demonstrate cooking methods.

Voters in the Southern Door School District will see two questions on their ballot. The first asks the authority to exceed the revenue limit of $975,000 per year for three years starting in 2023-2024 to pay for operating costs. This referendum would replace and correspond to the one due to expire this year.

The second question asks voters for permission to borrow $14.9 million to pay for the cost of a school construction and facility improvement project consisting of a district-wide remodel, upgrades classroom upgrades and maintenance of capital assets, building systems, safety and site improvements, construction of a high school athletic training facility, and acquisition of furniture, fixtures and of equipment.

Southern Door Superintendent Chris Peterson said a key question he heard during the briefing tour was how it’s possible the rate per mile won’t increase if voters approve at the both the referendum questions on operations and capital improvements.

He said the district preemptively responded to these questions from the start. District officials, including business manager Jason Melotte, have pointed out that the persistent prepayment of debt over the past few years will allow the district to take on new debt for more campus improvements without raising the tax rate. for debt service.

In that year alone, the district is paying between $1.5 million and $1.8 million, Melotte said. It would reduce Southern Door’s debt on previous capital projects to $2 million, he said, noting that costs of about $800,000 for an energy-saving project account for the rest. of the district’s outstanding debt. Melotte said the state reimburses Southern Door when the district turns over documentation of its energy savings.

Asked if any residents have asked why the district is looking to improve its capital assets during a time of inflation, rising interest rates and high building material costs, Peterson replied, “We don’t really didn’t have that question.”

Peterson said many residents have asked why the district needs to move the fitness center to the front of the building. Peterson explained that the school needed more parking out front; ideally, the district office should not occupy an old house across from the school; and the demolition of the district office will make way for much-needed parking.

Additionally, he said, the district office should occupy the modern, secure space currently designated for the fitness center. Moving the fitness center, weight room, and indoor workout facility to an addition to the building behind the school would also increase convenience for district residents who currently use the fitness center but cannot do it during school hours. The district could lock down the proposed building and cordon off the training facility so the public can access it during school hours, Peterson said.

He said that unlike a project to build a brand new school, the referendum-funded amount for capital projects would remain firm at $14.9 million. Rather than requesting funds for a single large project, Southern Door has a wish list of projects, so if the work is under budget, the district could select others, such as a greenhouse and garage with enough room. to work on a district. bus owned both.