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Westby School Board approves referenda questions for the Nov. 3 ballot

Westby School Board approves referenda questions for the Nov. 3 ballot

The Westby Board of Education approved two referenda questions Aug. 17 that will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The first question will ask voters to exceed the revenue limit by $1.2 million for the 2021-2022 school year, by $1.5 million for the 2022-2023 school year and by $1.8 million for the 2023-2024 school year for non-recurring purposes to sustain educational programs and to operate the district.

The second question will ask voters to authorize the school district to issue general obligations bonds not to exceed $11,950,000 for the purpose of paying the cost of a district-wide school facility improvement project consisting of: safety, security and site improvements, including secure entrances; ADA accessibility updates; building infrastructure and capital maintenance improvements; renovations for career and technical education and an addition for a greenhouse at the high school; and acquisition of related equipment.

Prior to approving the referenda questions, the board approved a resolution authorizing the school district budget to exceed the revenue limit for three years for non-recurring purposes, and an initial resolution authorizing general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $11,950,000.

The board discussed holding a public hearing prior to its regular September board meeting on Sept. 14 for the purpose of waiving the minimum number of hours of instruction for the 2020-2021 school year because of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. The request to waive the minimum number of hours of instruction must be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

After the special meeting on Aug. 17, District Administrator Steve Michaels said the request for a waiver is due to the 45-minute early release daily, the students who selected the virtual option, and in preparation for any closure that may come as a result of the pandemic.

The board voted on Aug. 17 to increase the substitute teacher rate of pay from $100 per day to $120 per day. The board hired Cathy Cravens for the position of speech language assistant, and approved the resignation of Cortney Yonker, elementary special education instructional program aide, effective immediately.

The board of education also held a special meeting Aug. 20 to discuss a communication plan for the Nov. 3 referenda.

Michaels said in an email the next step is to work with Baird (Finance) to determine potential tax impact, consult with Miron and Bray who conducted the facility study, and put together a fact sheet on the referendum that will be the foundation for communication moving forward.

Angela Cina can be reached at angie.cina@lee.net.

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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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