The Phillips School Board will vote whether or not to go to referendum this spring at their 6 p.m. meeting on Monday, Jan. 20.

A special meeting was held Jan. 13 in order to craft language for a potential resolution to go to referendum on the April 7 ballot, should a majority of board members choose to pursue a referendum next Monday.

Discussions regarding a potential referendum began years ago when the district first began considering how to address the structural, plumbing, and heating issues identified in the 1958 and 1972 portions of the elementary school.

Since a failed attempt at passing a referendum two years ago, the district has sought the community's feedback in order to create the best plan for addressing the facility's needs.

The results of a survey conducted last fall showed that, of the 878 community members that responded, 67% indicated they would support moving to a single K-12 campus at the site of the current middle/high school. The survey also showed that 51% of those respondents supported an option that would improve the district's tech ed space and existing classrooms, at the same time as building a new wing to house elementary students.

The verbiage unanimously approved by the six school board members present on Jan. 13 — Jon Pesko, Tracy Burkart, Joe Fox, Hailey Halmstad, Kevin Rose, and Paula Houdek — asks voters whether they will authorize $9,860,000 general obligation bonds to pay for the cost of a school building improvement program in order to create a single K-12 campus at the site of the current middle/high school.

If passed, the referendum would allow the district to use the $9.8 million to make upgrades and site improvements, and to acquire furnishings, fixtures, and equipment required. Any classroom equipment that can be salvaged from the existing elementary would be repurposed at the single campus, should the referendum be approved.

If any portion of the $9.8 million were able to be saved during the building project, it would go toward demolition of the 1958 and 1972 portions of the existing elementary building.

Should the referendum be passed, taxpayers in the Phillips School District will see a 20-year-increase of $97.50 per $75,000 of fair market property value.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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