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Madison Puts School Renovation Bond Back On The Ballot

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Madison prepares for a second vote on funding for updates to the high school. The first vote in February was close, the school board needed 60-percent but only got 50-pecent.      

While it was difficult losing the first vote, school officials say they have a new way to pay for the renovation by giving the voters less of the financial burden.

High school faculty say before the original vote in February, they spent almost three month showing residents the problems with the building. Now that voters understand the condition of the school, educators say they hope the new funding plan will sway more votes to 'yes.'

"We have a fresh approach,” said Madison Superintendent Vince Schaefer.  “Some creative ideas have come to the surface. We are able to lessen the impact to the voters significantly.”

A fresh approach that takes a lot of the burden off the taxpayers. If the bond passes a new tax will be imposed for property owners. But the cost is $6.3 million versus the originally proposed $16.9 million.  The construction will still cost $14.5 million, but difference will be made up by capital outlay bonds and fundraising.

And school officials say the renovation cannot wait.

"As educators, we feel that we have reached a point in time where the build and facility is starting to impede our education,” said Schaefer.

Built in 1963, the building's original infrastructure is struggling to keep up.

The bathrooms, library, locker rooms, and science labs are not handicap accessible.  The lighting, plumbing, heating, cooling and air exchange systems are all from the early 60's.

And although Madison High School is a technology school, where all of the students have computers in the classroom, electrical plug ins are limited and power strips are everywhere

"We have all sorts of code violations,” said Sharon Knowlton, the principal of Madison High School.  “We don't have a sprinkler system in this building.  We don't have fire proof doors.”

Because the high school is not handicap accessible, a student who is in a wheel chair must go into the middle school just to use the bathroom.”

"We have programs now that this building is impeding or hurting and unless we change the facility to meet those needs, we are not going to be able to provide all of the academic courses and opportunities that our kids deserve,” said Knowlton.

"We believe the bottom line will be a higher quality education, a better learning environment for students, and a better teaching environment for teachers,” said Schaefer.

Residents will vote on the issue on November 8th.

Maren Larson
Facebook Fan Page: Maren Larson KDLT News
Follow on Twitter: MnlarsonKDLT
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