District says it's received positive feedback for school referendum

STRUM, Wis. (WEAU)- Some tough questions were asked Wednesday night about an upcoming referendum for a local school as district leaders say buildings have reached maximum capacity.

Wednesday night, the Eleva-Strum School District hosted an open house for community members to learn more about two referendum questions they'll see on the April 4th ballot.

The first session was held at 6:30 p.m., followed by the second at 7:30 p.m. They included a short presentation, tours of the facility, as well as the opportunity for community members to ask questions about the financial aspect of the referendum, and what the building would look like.

Voters are being asked two referendum questions, both very important for the district according to Elva-Strum Superintendent, Dr. Kellie Manning.

The first question asks people to renew $700,000 of a reoccurring operating referendum; previously approved in 2013 and 2014.

“That is helping us make the transition if we decide to consolidate and that would be to one campus,” said Manning.

After a survey conducted in the community, they've received a lot of positive support. Manning says the survey also points voters who are leaning toward question two which looks to bring all kids in the district to one location. It includes borrowing $12 million to make Eleva-Strum Central, who currently provides for 4th through 12th grades, into one building for kids, Pre-K through 12th.

“The survey was very loud and clear, they wanted a Pre-K through 5th grade school attached onto Central and they did not want us to proceed past $12 million; and that's how we are moving forward,” Manning added.

If the referendum passes, the school district says it would cost $90 per year on a $100,000 home.

“I do believe new buildings are attractive to parents or new people moving into the community,” said Louis Havenor, the school board president. “They like to see, I think, new modern facilities.”

Currently, Eleva-Strum is a pretty cozy place, filled at maximum capacity when 4th through 6th grade students, who moved-in in October due to damage at the intermediate school. A smooth transition, which gives Manning hope that if the district votes yes on the referendum, they'll be in a good shape moving forward.

“I think it would be cost effective and excellent educational resources to consolidate to one,” Manning said. “We experienced it when Eleva came here; and we're able to share resources, collaborate and support in a variety of fashions, so it would be a perfect opportunity to take our educational opportunities to the next level.”

Voting on the two referendum questions will take place in about three weeks on April 4th.

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