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Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 4:00 pm | Updated: 7:45 am, Thu Feb 2, 2012.

The Beloit Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the latest cost figures and building plans associated with the $70 million referendum.

Lisa Voisin, a director with Baird financing, gave a presentation on the district's bond rating. With interest rates at 3.5 percent, and the district having a Moody's bond rating of Aa3, she said the cost to a taxpayer with a $100,000 home may likely drop from an additional $108 annually to $90 if the referendum passes. The debt incurred would be paid off over 20 years.

Superintendent Steve McNeal added the district had been conservative in its original cost estimates, and that an extra $108 annually was the absolute highest it could reach for the owner of a $100,000 home, calculated when considering a potential interest rate of 5.5 percent. But he said the $90 a year was a more likely scenario given the bond rating and historic low interest rates.

However, if the referendum does not pass taxes will drop $64 a year from what they are now for a homeowner with a $100,000 property, because the debt on the high school will be paid off in a year. The added $90 increase to current taxes, plus the $64 in potential savings once the high school debt is paid, would total $154 extra for a taxpayer to pay if the referendum goes through versus if the school district did not run the referendum.

At Tuesday evening's special board meeting, the Board of Education also discussed its maintenance plans for Aldrich and McNeel middle schools and Beloit Memorial High School. Proposed improvements totaling $8,191,000 are suggested for incorporation into the general maintenance fund over the next five years. The proposed improvements are separate from the referendum, as the other facilities already have maintenance needs addressed through the referendum.

After concerns were raised about maintenance needs at Aldrich, McNeel and Beloit Memorial High School, not included in the referendum, a plan was put together to add the needs to the general maintenance budget.

Superintendent Steve McNeal said the $8,191,000 are suggested improvements. Many of them are to bring the schools into accordance with ADA standards.

"Our greatest priority is to make sure that these buildings are part of a plan of improvement as we move to make sure that the others that are addressed in the referendum are being taken care of. In the end, we will be in great shape as a district with all of our facilities," McNeal said in an earlier interview.

Board President Shannon Scharmer asked what the next step will be in the referendum process. McNeal said a citizens' referendum advisory group will introduce themselves at the next board meeting held on Feb. 14. He did not give out the names of the people in the group but said they were community members who said they wanted to be involved in promoting the referendum.

The group will be responsible for disseminating information. The district is planning a frequently asked question section for its Web site and a brochure for dissemination.

Board member Missy Henderson suggested the board turn referendum inquiries over to the committee to maintain a coordinated effort.

"Let them run the show," she said.

Board member Nora Gard suggested putting the proposed upgrades in a display at each school, and adding a unified display at city hall which McNeal agreed was a good idea.

Scharmer said if she were to do the referendum all over again, she may have approached the process a little differently, but said she still wants what's best for Beloit and is supportive of the referendum.

"I'm hoping we can take our energy to make the most of what we've got to make the best school district possible," she said.

McNeal said the district will release details of what's planned at each school involved in the referendum in the coming weeks.

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  • border-baby posted at 11:35 am on Tue, Feb 7, 2012.

    border-baby Posts: 495

    Does anyone know when the 2012 Notices of Assessment will be mailed ?

    City Site (last year, I guess they are too busy spending shows)

    re: 2011 Notices of Assessment will be mailed on April 8th, 2011

    Open Book April 25th 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Board of Review May 31st 9:00 a.m.

    Now, I think that is past the it this year also? By Design?

    Another where they say: 108.00 per 100k but don't worry, your assessment will drop. ??[beam]

  • Native Beloiter posted at 11:05 pm on Mon, Feb 6, 2012.

    Native Beloiter Posts: 11

    Does amybody have a problem with these super-schools being 4th-8th grades? I am not so sure if that is a good idea. Are there any other districts doing this?

  • james posted at 10:24 pm on Fri, Feb 3, 2012.

    james Posts: 63

    The plans do not include any upgrades for Aldrich. It was included in the original plans but removed suddenly, with no explanation. Aldrich will receive nothing more than general maintenance. With no upgrades, not even aesthetic improvements, it will not come close to being equal to the new school. And the high school has seen no improvements in the past 20 years. A school that houses close to 2000 teens needs a makeover every few years. Ever visit other schools' auditoriums? Ours is not exactly one we can say is impressive. Performing arts is not only in need of funds, but deserving with the excellent teachers and programs. Did they consider what the science departments need? How about technology upgrades? I have to agree with others. This type of undertaking, a once every 20 years type of opportunity deserved much more public input, teacher input, student input, and planning.
    The best thing, knowing they will propose a second one, is for this one to fail. Then the board can proceed more carefully with the next one.

  • step up in beloit posted at 12:34 pm on Fri, Feb 3, 2012.

    step up in beloit Posts: 5

    kbv- First of all if the needed improvements are made to the existing buildings, what does it matter if the children are in a new or existing school?
    You can maintain buildings regularly and still need major maintenance every few years. You maintain your house, but eventually you replace the roof, furnace, furniture etc. It doesn't mean the house is now worthless (and anyone living in it is at a disadvantage), it just needs updating. The high school was new 15 years ago, its time to update. Morgan students have had classes in a trailer. It would fall under the category of fair if they got a new school.
    Per online review, more than just the swimming team will benefit (fitness room, tennis courts). What programs are suffering that you feel should get more funding?

  • kbv59 posted at 11:31 am on Fri, Feb 3, 2012.

    kbv59 Posts: 71

    Set up, I have an idea, lets improve our schools after a carefully considered plan is presented to the taxpayers. Lets not let the district throw out some half baked idea that will cost us 70 million dollars, but more importantly, leave so many programs and schools without any funding for the next 20 years.

    If we're lucky, Aldrich, McNeel and BMHS might get regular maintenance issues addressed, but they will not receive the much needed funding for programs (other than swimming), and they will not be acceptable alternatives to the new intermediate schools that half of Beloit's kids will be able to attend. If you go online and have a look at what the district is proposing for Aldrich, McNeel and BMHS, it is just maintenance. We need to be asking why our buildings are not regularly maintained. Do we just let them disintegrate and then go to referendum to build new? And who decides which kids get to go to the new schools and which are stuck in Aldrich and McNeel?

  • step up in beloit posted at 10:56 am on Fri, Feb 3, 2012.

    step up in beloit Posts: 5

    Really?! Let's not improve the schools or the activities. That's a good idea. Really?!

    Let's talk about "rentals" charging inflated rent because section 8 allows it. Many of these homes were purchased at a very low price (usually through foreclosure). So $800-$900/month on a $30k house is more than compensating for a minimal increase to the taxes. No one has a problem charging and collecting the max allowable (whether the home is worth it or not) at the taxpayers' expense. If the referendum doesn't pass, will the landlords collecting section 8 lower the rent to reflect the savings in the annual taxes to benefit non-rental owning taxpayers? Probably not.
    So, yes. I am a taxpayer with children in the Beloit School district. And yes I think it is fair to increase the few peanuts requested by the school district. If it doesn't, it will be taxpayers like me who will leave. Maybe I'll rent out my house to collect that section 8 income at other taxpayers' expense while I pay another cities taxes and improve their schools.
    Given the economic state. Cuts are necessary, but so are improvements. Give a little, take a little. It's the way of the world.

  • james posted at 10:18 pm on Thu, Feb 2, 2012.

    james Posts: 63

    Gonfo5, that's the best case doesn't pass. Then they will get another more sensible one on the next ballot. Lets just hope this first one fails.

  • Gonfo5 posted at 3:56 pm on Thu, Feb 2, 2012.

    Gonfo5 Posts: 151

    Why do they not attempt two referendum's? One for the necessary repairs/maintenance to the buildings and another for their wish list? So what happens when the referendum does not pass and they have no money to make the repairs? I think most Beloit citizens would not argue about repairs/maintenance but for me at least its their wish list that gets me to say "ABSOLUTELY NO"!

  • border-baby posted at 1:58 pm on Thu, Feb 2, 2012.

    border-baby Posts: 495

    KBV, Great points!! Funny how the breakdown, really is not broken down at all? Do you think "the real spreadsheet" will be seen before they toss this up in the air, like they plan on...thinking we are just "one of the programmed kids" to say YES?

    B51 Thx, and back at you also sir... For some reason, these educators to me are reflecting a different type of is the 'management" of this city..

    JOBS!! > Bring People (with Children or to have children) > = Taxpayers > Who? Pay Taxes for DREAMS like this..

  • kbv59 posted at 8:07 am on Thu, Feb 2, 2012.

    kbv59 Posts: 71

    Why was Aldrich not included in the referendum? How about McNeel? Why is the high school only getting a pool and fitness center and tennis courts? They have no money going toward anything else in that building. What about science, fine arts, performing arts? Are we only concerned about athletics? 8 million dollars or so for athletics? That alone is much more than most referendums ever even ask for. Our district wants 70 million and we still don't get all of our schools improved.

    Here's a about a "display" at each of our elementary schools that will be closing -- a display of a vacant building and a bunch of sleepy little faces looking out of a school bus window.

    As they disseminate information, the school district seems to be avoiding some things here, school closings being a big one. And how about making public the fact that the east side will be split up with half of the kids going to a beautiful new school and the other half stuck at Aldrich -- a school that is getting nothing out of this referendum.

  • beloit51 posted at 6:50 am on Thu, Feb 2, 2012.

    beloit51 Posts: 1639

    Border baby,Excellent Post.Absolutely NO to the "R".No Job's,tax revenue so why spend Now ?

    "Your Humble Servant"

  • border-baby posted at 8:52 pm on Wed, Feb 1, 2012.

    border-baby Posts: 495

    3rd one Dan [thumbup]

    They keep stressing "how per per Homeowner/Taxpayer"..

    1) The great majority of "rentals" in this town are owned by people in the rental of real estate.

    2) I am not sure exactly where to get the details, but I wonder how many are then "Section 8" and/or government assisted

    3) Thing is? The "stressing" of what they are trying to pass off as a pittance, really will have nothing but a trickle down theory in which? People w/Taxable Incomes will have to shell out somehow Higher to justify the increase..

    I hope this makes sense?.. We already have numbers on assisted food programs breakdowns, and the requirements are low income...etc...receiving state aid and the likes...hence a non-taxpayer..

    There is no money tree, except for getting some industry and jobs back here... in which people are then employed and able to pay taxes.. [beam] As The Robin Hood method is just going to drive MORE TAXPAYERS out of the district...

  • danieljluebke posted at 8:11 pm on Wed, Feb 1, 2012.

    danieljluebke Posts: 1

    The second paragraph of this article should be corrected, currently it says $90/month, not $90/year.


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