Reedsburg School District's referendum was approved on Tuesday, with over 70 percent of voters choosing yes for a variety of school improvements, the most significant being a new elementary school. 

The $32 million referendum passed with an unofficial count of 1,660-703 in favor. District Administrator Tom Benson was enthusiastic about the result.

"We're very, very excited, not only for a successful vote, but a significant percentage of the folks who voted are supportive of the plan we put out," Benson said. "So we're very, very pleased and appreciative of that." 

Most of the referendum funds will go toward construction of a new $24 million elementary school and transportation facility. As part of the plan, the school district would close South Elementary School.

The referendum includes more than $7.6 million for security improvements and building infrastructure improvements to six of the district’s facilities. Projects include installing new security systems, moving offices closer to building entryways and updates to heating, cooling, plumbing and other infrastructure needs.

The tax impact on homeowners will be $0.04 per year per $1,000 assessed property value or a 0.4 percent increase in the property taxes collected for the school district. Benson has said the change should keep the overall tax rate close to the current rate due to the 1996 referendum to build Reedsburg High School ending.

The current tax rate for the 2016-17 school year is $9.15 per $1,000 of equalized value. Had the referendum failed, taxes in the district would have declined by 11.3 percent to $8.12 per $1,000.

Benson said the results of the referendum reflect the residents view on providing opportunities for students at the Reedsburg School District.  

"They support children and our staff and the things that we're doing," he said. "I think it can be recognized as a vote of confidence that our community appreciates the hard work that we do. This will certainly carry us a long way in terms of taking care of our facilities and obviously that will translate into better opportunities for teaching and learning." 

The next steps for the school district is to identify a specific property and design to construct the new elementary school.

"Those will be big decisions we'll be facing here in the coming weeks,"  Benson said.

Contact Erica Dynes at 608-393-5346 or on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews. 

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