Clintonville may hold another referendum in 2020
School district to evaluate needs
By Erik Buchinger
The Clintonville School Board discussed a potential district facilities concept plan that could be put to referendum next year.
The district’s business manager, Holly Burr, said at the Jan. 14 board meeting she would have a request for proposal draft ready for the board’s next meeting on Monday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. at Clintonville Middle School.
“My vision of the RFP is an assessment of the facilities, a basic design to use for materials for media, the community and a pre-referendum promotion,” Burr said. “The RFP would cover all of that work.”
Superintendent David Dyb said the RFP would involve looking for outside consulting services.
“This is based on the feedback we’ve received and what we discussed in the process of additions and/or renovations in a campus setting up here involving the middle school, Dellwood and high school complex or additions or renovations of all district facilities,” Dyb said. “Obviously one takes into account whether Rexford–Longfellow continuing to be on-line or not. That’s part of the questions we want to have for staff and community input.”
Dyb said the district will be looking at using the recent community circle process to help develop questions including the pros and cons of moving away from the Rexford-Longfellow Elementary facility, looking at short-term needs and long-term vision of the district.
“We want to engage people from what we learned from the previous study,” Dyb said. “We have lots of information on that. We’ve been looking at other facilities and getting ideas. The administrators are looking at some other districts and other things associated to what it could potentially look like.”
Dyb said another aspect to consider is grade configuration throughout each building in the district.
“With the grade configuration, are we looking at [early childhood] through what grade level in each building, leading up to what would be the best plan moving forward?” Dyb said. “We would be developing pros and cons involved with that.”
Dyb said the referendum could happen as soon as next spring.
“The significance of this is the timeline of this process,” Dyb said. “We talked before about an April 2020 referendum and working backwards from that.”
Dyb said he has been asked what would become of the Rexford-Longfellow building if the district moved away from it, additions and renovations and anticipated student safety and learning impacts to the concept plans.
“We have significant safety aspects we’re looking at within the district,” Dyb said. “This would include student drop-off, bus drop-off, parent drop-off, parking, students crossing.
“Also, will this have an impact on district staffing? We’re looking to be proactive with some questions already coming up and collecting feedback from stakeholders.”
Dyb said the district is looking at potential dates to host a community conversation next month as well as a Q&A with staff members to collect more feedback.
Board member Mark Zachow asked if an April 2020 referendum would be too soon with all the existing loans in the district ending in March 2022.
Burr said the district would have an 18-month minimum construction window and some of the debt will be paid off earlier in 2021.
“This does not involve an increase in tax levy,” Dyb said. “Your mill rate stays flat, so that’s a huge piece. We’re lining that up when we pay off everything so there’s no spike or dip. That’s one of the concerns that came out of the previous study because you would have experienced a little bit of that had the previous referendum come through.”
Dyb said the work done prior to the previous referendum will be used as more data heading into April 2020.
“With the study work that was done, I can’t compliment enough the work that was done from the previous facility committee,” Dyb said. “The wealth of information is tremendous. A lot of work was done on that, and it is certainly going to pay off this time around because that is relevant information with good date to move forward.”
Additionally, Dyb said the capacity study that was conducted will add even more information.
“The capacity study gives us an idea of physical space that was not initially a part of the original study but is now,” Dyb said. “That’s going to all bring everything together.”
In April 2017, a referendum for a new elementary school failed with 1,140 no votes and 733 yes votes.