WalCoSunday2016   StatelineNewsLogo2017   MessengerLogo2016


Wednesday, 29 March 2017 13:50

Spring 2017 election: Burlington referendum guest opinion

Written by Philip A. Ketterhagen

By Philip A. Ketterhagen, Burlington

The Burlington Area School Board has put in motion three referendums for bond issue on the April 4, 2017 ballot.

The referendums apply to buildings and infrastructure. The state report cards rate the district "Exceeding Expectations," and locally administered assessment, known as Measures of Academic Progress, have all grade levels exceeding the national average. Burlington High School was one of 425 schools in the United States and Canada named to the Advanced Placement Honor Role.

All were achieved with the existing staff, buildings and infrastructure.

A school perceptions survey was used to decide which referendums to present to voters.

Three options were considered: All three returned under 50 percent approval rating. The option for a new middle school with all Montessori students at the new location was the chosen by BASD for referendum.

The fifth- through eighth-grade option came in with 42.25 percent survey approval with 18 percent non-parent, non-staff residents were undecided. These statistics do not show a need for the new middle school.

One option under discussion but not offered to the voter was to update refurbish and add security entrances to all schools in the district. This option had an estimate of $15 million price tag.

The school perceptions survey staff stated the $15 million informational question showed it would pass by 58 percent of the non-parents, non-staff residents. The board chose to only include this repair options within the $68 million new building option.

Dyer Intermediate School houses 5-6 graders, and 4-6 grade Montessori students. The plan for the new Karcher Middle School is to move all fifth and sixth graders plus all Montessori students there. Cooper school has 120 4K thru third -grade Montessori students slated to move to the new school.

The administration claims that Cooper School was using rooms not designed to current use. After 120 students move to the new school five classrooms are vacated.

All of Dyer School would be vacated. The administration has proposed redistricting students from Waller to Dyer school. Currently Dyer has 17 classrooms and 10 special education, music, counselor and intervention area. Move 120 students from Waller to Dyer and the remaining students from Cooper there and the perceived crowding is gone.

The Applied Population Lab from Madison was hired by the school board for an enrollment study of the district. It clearly showed a declining enrollment for the district Through 2020 and projected a level enrollment thru 2025 after the large decline.

With this information, building a new school and keeping all school buildings in operation does not make fiduciary sense. As a school board member I see other options available to keep the student achievement going.

Other options, which have been over looked, which would reduce the transition of student movement to a one school location of fifth through eighth grade, is $20 million less than the current referendum being offered. This scenario also upgrades infrastructure, HVAC and energy efficiency with all new security entrances.

Plunkett Raysich Architects LLP also stated that remodel and moving Montessori to Karcher costs $10 million less than the current offered new build Middle School.

I voted against the current three referendums, which the board has put to ballot.

Referendum No. 2 and referendum No. 3 are not needs of the district to educate the students. These are wants. The community use of the school facilities should not be a part of the school facilities.

The board of education in its mission statement has not affirmed the requirement to supply space for community desires.

I would vote for the $15 million repair and update of all schools if it was a stand-alone bond issue

Philip A. Ketterhagen is a Burlington Area School Board member



Place An Ad

Placing an ad online is easy, just click here to get started!

Latest Jobs at Walworth County Careers


afcp new

paperchain new