Referendum in Verona could have big impact

Some local voters will decide the fate of the largest school referendum in state history Tuesday.

It calls for a new high school and renovating two other schools in Verona.

The vote in Verona could have a big impact on parents like Kathleen Owens.

“The referendum has been something there's a lot of studies on in the community over really the last decade, but especially the last couple of years. And so I think it's well informed. A lot of community input when into it. And a plan that makes sense for this point in Verona as it grows,” Owens said.

One of three referendums on the ballot would close two existing schools, Sandy Creek and New Century Elementary schools and build a new high school.

"We are very excited to be able to offer voters a plan, basically a K-12 comprehensive plan, that allows us to build a new high school,” said Kelly Kloepping, Public Information Officer for the Verona Area school District.

"We would have two schools that would go offline. simply because they're at a point of being 60 and one hundred years old. And really at the point where it's not worth spending the dollars to revamp those,” Kloepping added.

Owen agrees.

“I think for our kids it's worth it. Because we need to have good school systems,” Owens said.

"This school, Sugar Creek, as much as we love it, it's getting old and showing that age. So I see this as the right time to be building and expanding for the school district."

The $162 million referendum would also means a tax increase.

"With the Epic TIF unveiling and really affecting the valuation, and hitting the tax roll, this was the time that our board of education felt if we address this now, it's really going to allow us to capture the most that we need to do for the growth of students coming, but yet affect tax payers the least," Kloepping said.

"It's a huge expense to build a new high school, especially one that's going to house over 2,000 students. And so to be able to do it now when we've got that extra boost and we're not going to feel it quite as heavily on an annual basis in our taxes, makes a lot of sense to me," Owens said.

If the voters say yes to question one, the new high school would be open in 2020. however, if the referendum fails, the high school will not be built.

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