Altoona School District returns to drawing board after referendum fails

By: Courtney Everett Email
By: Courtney Everett Email

(WEAU) - An important day for elections turned into an important day for school referendums.

The Altoona School District hoped to pass another referendum on the night of primary elections.

It would be their fifth proposed referendum in 10 years, but the community voted against it.

"Parents and the community can be reassured that for next year the programming will look pretty much the way it does this year," said Greg Fahrman, Altoona School District Superintendent.

The referendum was meant to bring back electives at the high school and staff for technological support.

"It’s really a flawed system, we shouldn't be dealing with referendums, it takes away from the important things we do with kids," said Greg.

The cuts won't affect class sizes or programming, but rather refinance one of the school's loans.

Meanwhile, the incoming superintendent says she feels disappointed about the vote, but feels it’s only a minor speed bump.

"What I will do is look closely at what's happened when they passed or not and then move forward," said incoming Altoona Superintendent, Connie Biedron in a phone interview.

If the referendum would have passed, tax payers would have paid an additional 200 dollars on a 150,000 dollar home, and they shared why they voted yes or no.

"I'm surprised it didn't pass, although I'm relieved that it didn't pass because I'm not really sure if the money is going to go to the best benefit of the kids or will it go to just extra expenses that don't really matter," said property owner Rebecca Cook.

"We voted yes for it, we thought it was worthwhile, I believe it was for technology updates and I mean the kids are our future," said Veronica Lebeis who lives in Altoona.

The superintendent says there may be another referendum that has the potential to pass in November.

Fahrman is retiring at the end of the school year, and says he's learned to not take these votes personally.


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  • by BAS Location: EC on Apr 10, 2012 at 09:46 AM
    In the ECASD teachers get 13 sick days a year. (I own my own business and have not taken a "sick" day in 10 years) If you have 100 teachers the school district has to budget for subs. If teachers use these days the Altoona School district would pay out close to $200,000 in wages to sub's (and also theteachers wages)! As with many business's, if you don't work you don't get paid. So take away the pay for "sick" days and use that money to pay for new technology.
  • by Another Altoona parent on Apr 9, 2012 at 04:40 AM
    I totally agree with "parent". The flyers sent out by the school were vague to say the least.Basically,it said we need more money for a better school.Wide reaching generalities seem to be more of a device to hide under rather than get to the nuts and bolts of whatever the real cost issues were.
  • by Parent Location: Altoona on Apr 8, 2012 at 07:04 AM
    Some of the technology may be a little old, but as a parent whose child has checked out laptops and other reading devices I would say Altoona schools do have enough. The equipment is not brand new, but either is the equipment where I work and I work for a company that relies on computers. Altoona also needs to make it more clear where all the money is going. I feel they are a little "shady". I need a specific dollar for dollar layout before I say yes.
  • by Altoona parent/resident on Apr 7, 2012 at 06:33 AM
    It seems evident that some simply don't have the $$ for more school taxes...and some do.How about creating a private fund for the school that people who can and wish to..can donate to? I remember hearing about another school in Wisc. doing just that and succeeding. Maybe a win/win?
  • by Anonymous on Apr 6, 2012 at 09:17 AM
    I voted 'no' the last time they tried to run it through, I voted 'no' this time they tried to run it through, and I'll vote 'no' the next time they run it through. 5 in 10 years? 4 of those (counting the one in November) in the last 5. If it doesn't pass, they just try, try again!
  • by tool's on Apr 6, 2012 at 06:26 AM
    walker gave you the tool's too deal with this. I heard him say it.Now nose to the grind stone. tighten your belt. off too your wage slave jobs. Don't question those whom own you and your wages. Just vote for who your told too.
    • reply
      by Yup on Apr 6, 2012 at 08:19 AM in reply to tool's
      Are you referring to WEAC?
    • reply
      by anon on Apr 10, 2012 at 07:03 PM in reply to tool's
      Let me guess. You are a public school graduate and a member of a union.
  • by tool's on Apr 6, 2012 at 06:26 AM
    walker gave you the tool's too deal with this. I heard him say it.Now nose to the grind stone. tighten your belt. off too your wage slave jobs. Don't question those whom own you and your wages. Just vote for who your told too.
  • by paul on Apr 6, 2012 at 04:49 AM
    5 referendums in 10 years, huh. Facts aside, I suspect that the Walker bashers will still blame him for his "war on education" just like the other talking point of the democratic party "war on women." How could Walker possibly be responsible for this so-called "war on education" over the course of 10 years when he hasn't been in office that long?
  • by Altoona Alumni Location: Altoona on Apr 5, 2012 at 04:54 PM
    When I went to High School there, I remembered when we first got the parking lot cameras and cameras inside the hallways. Nothing ever happened there to warrent the need to buy them and nothing happened the 4 years that I was there. What a waste of money spent on those things. So I'm sure the money they are requesting was going to be for other useless things as well.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 5, 2012 at 01:11 PM
    Sorry, but technology changes so quickly these days that "new" technology will be oboslete in a few years. The technology arguement only works for students at the Junior or Senior level who may actually benefit from it in real life beyond high school. IPads in elementary schools are a crazy waste of money. Next, until health insurance costs are reduced, I will continue to vote "no". Every business review's their benefits at least every two years, why not the school district? Third, another referendum??? What part of NO do these people not understand?
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