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Colfax school board approves $7.2 million referendum for November election

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  The Colfax Board of Education has approved holding a $7.2 million referendum in the November election for school improvement projects.

With the suggested change of spelling out Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in the referendum question itself, the Colfax Board of Education at the July 18 meeting approved two separate motions, one motion for a resolution authorizing general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $7.2 million, and one resolution that authorizes putting the question to voters in the November election.

According to the first resolution, “there shall be issued pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $7,200,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a District-wide school improvement program consisting of additions, renovations and remodeling for classroom space and technical education/Science, Technology, Engineering and Math expansion; safety, security and building infrastructure improvements; demolition of temporary classrooms; construction of a bus maintenance building and replacement of buses; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment.”

The Colfax Board of Education unanimously approved both resolutions.

To be included on the November 8 ballot, the Board of Education was required to approve the initial resolution and the referendum resolution on or before August 27.

Ballot language must be delivered to the person responsible for printing ballots and provided to the county clerk on or before August 30.

Within ten days of the Board of Education approving the resolutions, a Notice to Electors must be published and a notice must be sent to the state Department of Public Instruction.

Under the circumstances, with the requirement of publishing the notice within ten days of the school board meeting, the notice is expected to be published in the July 27 edition of the Colfax Messenger.

The Messenger is the school district’s official newspaper.

By September 17, the ballots must be printed and delivered to the municipal clerks, and a copy of the ballot must also be sent to the school district’s bond counsel.

On October 5, another election notice must be published by the school district, and municipal clerks must publish the notice as well.

On November 2, another election notice must be published by the school district, including the facsimile ballot, and municipal clerks must also publish a notice.

The referendum will be held on November 8, and the Board of Canvassers must meet to certify the election no later than 9 a.m. November 15.

Items that will be part of the $7.2 million referendum question in November include replacing temporary classrooms for $1.4 million; building infrastructure for $2.2 million; a bus maintenance building for $750,000; technical education and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) expansion for $1.2 million; improving safety and security for $650,000; and district bus replacement for $600,000.

In addition to the construction items and the buses, the referendum question will include $400,000 to pay off the school district’s unfunded pension liabilities.

SDS Architects

In a matter related to the November referendum, the Colfax Board of Education approved contracting with SDS Architects out of Eau Claire for concept development and referendum support.

The contract amount for concept development is $2,700, and the contract amount for referendum support is $1,500.

Concept development will include refining preliminary long-range concept options and budgets, which will allow comparing alternatives for addressing long-range needs. Options for the K-12 facility will include floor plans showing existing building use and the proposed additions; a site plan for each option showing the proposed parking and driveways; three-dimensional images for each concept.

Along with concept development, Tom Twohig, an architect with SDS who submitted the proposal for design services, will meet with the Board of Education and the administration with the final presentation of the selected concept and will attend two public meetings before the referendum.

Referendum support will include developing graphics for mailers and take-home flyers and developing a Facebook page.