School board votes to move forward with November referendum

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- Monday night the Altoona School Board made a move toward building a new elementary school to handle overcrowding issues.

To cover the costs, school board members decided to go to the voters with a $23-million referendum question in November.

“We are bursting at the seams at the elementary at the intermediate school and the middle school and the high school,” Connie Biedron said.

Altoona Superintendent Connie Biedron says her school district is bursting at the seams. Come November, the School District of Altoona will be asking tax payers to chip in to pay for a new elementary building to solve its overcrowding issues.

“We have over 550 students in our elementary school that is just kindergarten through third grade so we have a lot of students and a small amount of space,” Biedron said.

Biedron says a 56 acre plot of land off of Hwy. KB could be home to the new elementary school building. The new building would accommodate more than 550 students from pre-kindergarten to third grade.

“We need to provide more classroom space,” School Board President Helen Drawbert said.

Drawbert says after looking into all the options, the board ultimately decided building a new elementary on land already owned by the district would be the most cost effective long-term option.

Biedron says, “the site takes us into the future. It’s not just 3-5 years, it's a 20-30 year plan.”

After the school board approved going forward with the referendum Monday night it will be up to voters to decide if they want to pay more in property taxes to fund the proposed elementary school.

“The referendum would come out to about $100 to $120 on a $100,000 home which is around $12.50 a month,” Drawbert said.

In addition to tax payers chipping in for the building, the district says it will also contribute $400-thousand per year to cover some of the costs.

If the referendum passes in November the district plans to have the elementary school complete by 2016.

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