Arcadia School District asks voters to approve $24M referendum

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

ARCADIA, Wis. (WEAU) -- On Tuesday, voters will make a decision on referendum funding for area schools.

In the Arcadia School District, a $24 million referendum is on the ballot to build a new joint elementary and middle school.

While most rural school districts face steadily declining enrollment, Arcadia has the opposite problem.

“In 1998 we were at 500 students. Now we’re at 800 students,” said Louie Ferguson, the Arcadia School District Superintendent.

Ferguson said cramped classrooms are just one of the many problems at the district’s elementary-middle school.

“As different students learn now in the 21st century skills, it's hard to justify putting a lot of dollars into an antiquated facility,” Ferguson said.

He said to get the building up to 21st century snuff; the district would have to spend $9 million.

The district’s solution: ask voters to approve a $24 million referendum for a new building on the high school's campus.

“What it would allow us to do is move our pre-k through 8th grade up to the high school facility,” Ferguson said.

The superintendent said because of low interest rates and constructions costs, the time to build is now.

While that would mean charging taxpayers hundreds of dollars more a year for two decades, Ferguson said having one school campus will save the district money in the long run.

“It will reduce the amount of busing we do and duplication of services, lost instructional time, and then energy cost for the older facility down at the elementary school,” Ferguson said.

Several community members told WEAU 13 News that they have concerns that the referendum may put too big a burden on taxpayers.

“I think it's mixed, but the community in general is very supportive of education but it's a high price tag and that's a concern with the economy and that type of thing,” Ferguson said.

The superintendent said if the referendum is passed and the district cannot find a buyer for the school building, it will be demolished.

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  • by Frank Location: Arcadia on Nov 8, 2011 at 09:46 AM
    If I had children still in school I would want the best learning environment possible for them, and I am voting yes on the referendum because regardless of who you are or where you are from you deserve an education. There are illegal immigrants, but also many legal immigrants that are on the tax roles and pay property taxes or rent to landlords who pay property taxes. What is a couple hundred dollars a year when it is going to something tangible that is for the greater good of the community. At least a school is something that can be used by the community.
  • by Hoot Location: up nort' on Nov 7, 2011 at 06:21 AM
    I agree, as that is why the district has grown! Ashley Furniture could/should also contribute heavily as they hire the illegals!
    • reply
      by lives in Arcadia on Nov 7, 2011 at 08:04 AM in reply to Hoot
      Obviously those who are posting negative comments about Arcadia do not live or work there. There are laws that must be followed when hiring employees. All companies must follow these laws. Ashley contributes to the community. Read the paper and you will see how much is done by this company to allow all of us to have jobs.
  • by anonymous on Nov 6, 2011 at 09:08 PM
    Perhaps it's time for Arcadia to crack down on the illegal immigrants in that area - get them on the tax rolls and there's your money to pay for the very services they recieve.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 7, 2011 at 04:06 AM in reply to anonymous
      You hit the nail on the head!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 7, 2011 at 04:59 AM in reply to anonymous
      i wish there was a like button on here!!!! agree 100%
    • reply
      by fighting ignorance on Nov 7, 2011 at 06:10 AM in reply to anonymous
      Anonymous obviously is not from the area. The amount of illegal immigrants is very low. There are many legal immigrants who live in Arcadia who pay taxes through their rents and the Hispanic community is starting to buy houses in the area which also adds to the tax roll. The school district does not have a choice when a child shows up at the school doors, their mandate is to educate everyone who shows up, not make the decision on skin color.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 7, 2011 at 08:01 AM in reply to fighting ignorance
        I bet he is!
      • reply
        by Hmmm on Nov 7, 2011 at 08:08 AM in reply to fighting ignorance
        What a racist comment. The poster just said that a crack down on illegal immigrants to get them on the tax roll makes sense. Which it does. It's hard to dispute that. And you go off and assume it's based on skin color. It isn't. It's based on failure to pay taxes.
        • reply
          by RC on Nov 7, 2011 at 03:00 PM in reply to Hmmm
          Nice try Hmmm. Fighting ignorance's point, which you so obviously missed, is that the original poster is assuming that the non-Caucasian people in Arcadia are there illegally. That is racist! Too many people in these parts assume that anyone who looks Mexican or Hispanic can only be here illegally. That is not so.
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