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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Now that the majority of the construction is finished, the Elk Mound school district referendum projects have come in roughly a half million dollars under budget.
Brian Brewer of Baird Financial spoke to the Elk Mound Board of Education at the September 18 meeting about the options that are available for the school board to return the money to the taxpayers in the district.
Voters in the Elk Mound school district approved the $15 million referendum question in April of 2020.
There are two options that Brewer outlined, said Eric Wright, district administrator.
One option would be to invest the money for 18 years, earn interest money on the investment, and use the interest earned to put toward paying down the debt, he said.
If the $500,000 were invested for a year, for example, at 5 percent interest, the investment would earn $25,000. At 3 percent interest, that would amount to $15,000.
The second option would be to use half of the money, approximately $250,000, to pay toward the debt one year and then to use the other $250,000 to put toward paying down the debt the second year in order to help keep property taxes flat so the taxes do not increase for two years because of debt service, Wright said.
There are still some invoices that must be paid yet on the construction projects, but after those invoices are paid within the next several months, then it will be possible to determine the exact final amount that the referendum projects were under budget, he said.
After the final amount has been determined, Wright said the school district would publish information in the district newsletter pertaining to the amount that the referendum projects were under budget.
Referendum projects included updating the woodworking and metal shops at Elk Mound High School; building a new high school band room; building a new Elk Mound Middle School gymnasium; remodeling the old middle school gymnasium into classrooms; updating the high school locker rooms; expanding the high school weight room; improvements to the swimming pool; and athletic field improvements.
In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:
• Learned that at the Elk Mound homecoming on October 6, the parade will start at 2 p.m. and that the homecoming dance will be held Saturday evening.
• Learned that Elk Mound Middle School will hold parent-teacher conferences on October 12.
• Learned that middle school basketball will begin on October 17.
• Learned that the Elk Mound High School marching band would be performing at the Cranberry Festival the weekend after the school board meeting. The marching band has been doing a tremendous job, Wright said.
• Learned that the Elk Mound Booster Club Fall Craft Sale will be held on October 21.
• Approved continuing the snow-plowing contract with Kurt Van Schoonhoven.
• Approved the safety drills that had been completed in August.
• Approved the Wisconsin Public School District and Related Records Retention Schedule for the Elk Mound school district. Records will be kept for seven years, Wright said. Records pertaining to payroll and the school board minutes “will be kept forever,” he said.
• Approved updates, revisions and new policies that were recommended by NEOLA. Since some of the policies involved rescinding previous policies, the Board of Education decided to approve the policy updates on a first reading. If policies were rescinded, by the time of the second reading, the school district would have been operating without a policy until the next school board meeting, Wright said. One such revision was that four policies related to school board meetings were combined into one policy, he said.
• Took no action on allowing students to participate in two school sports in one season. The Board of Education sent the proposed policy back to the policy committee for further consideration and will discuss the issue again at the next meeting in October, Wright said.
• Accepted the resignation of Thomas Severson, middle school wrestling coach.
• Received information from a parent who is starting a fund-raising campaign for field turf. No money has been raised yet, Wright noted.
• Approved the continuation of the girls’ golf cooperative with the Colfax school district for another two years.
Following a closed session, the Elk Mound Board of Education:
• Approved hiring Sam Melton as the middle school wrestling coach.
• Took no action on the consideration of written legal advice concerning the strategy to be adopted by the school board with respect to potential litigation under Wisconsin statute 19.85(1)(g).
The Elk Mound Board of Education meets next on October 23.