Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Referendum information sessions set

When the referendum asking Baldwin-Woodville School District electors is held on Tuesday, June 3, members of the B-W Board of Education, a newly formed School Public Relations Committee and Superintendent Rusty Helland want voters to have as much information about the two questions as possible-the why, where, how and how much it will cost.

Toward that end, the newly formed committee-made up largely of members of the committee who studied school facilities needs and recommended that a new "intermediate" school be built on existing school property in Baldwin-are making themselves available to answer questions from the public and have planned a public information campaign.

As part of the public information campaign four public information meetings have been scheduled for different days of the week in order to accommodate as large an audience as possible. The dates and places of the meetings are:
-Monday, May 5 at the Viking Middle School gym in Woodville;
-Tuesday, May 13 at the Greenfield Elementary School gym in Baldwin;
-Wednesday, May 21 at the Viking Middle School gym in Woodville; and
-Thursday, May 29 at the Baldwin-Woodville High School Performing Arts Center.

All of the public information meetings will begin at 7:00 p.m.

In addition to holding informational meetings, members of the committee have divided into sub-committees. The "hard copy" committee will be producing flyers or brochures that will be available to district residents; the "electronic" committee plans to produce a web site and use
the B-W TV station, channel 18 on Baldwin Telecom cable, to present information about the referendum.

Also, said Superintendent Helland, all members of the "New School Public Relations Committee," including himself, have agreed to make themselves available to voters who have questions regarding the referendum questions.

Helland emphasized that the process that led to the referendum questions has been in the works for more than two years. Starting in 2006 a population study of the district was done by a company hired for that purpose and the B-W Board's long-range committee had discussed facility needs. A committee of district residents was formed to study facility needs, they met several times over a period of months, and their recommendations were presented last November.

Those recommendations, which were forwarded to the B-W Board which is expected to submit them to referendum on Monday night, March 17, calls for a new 90,000 square foot "intermediate" school to be built somewhere near present Greenfield (perhaps north or west of Greenfield) and some remodeling of Greenfield Elementary. It would house grades three through five. The cost of the new school is estimated at $16,494,500. The cost of Greenfield remodeling is estimated at $324,600. A separate question on the referendum is whether a new indoor swimming pool at a cost of approximately $3,500,000 should be built. If the pool and an intermediate school are approved, the pool would likely be attached to the intermediate school
since building a pool as part of a building project would be cheaper than adding it to an existing building, said Helland.

In upcoming informational pieces, district enrollment trends and projections will be presented and the effect of the referendum and bond issuance wo uld have on property taxes will be detailed.

Members of the committee who have agreed to be available to the public to answer questions regarding the referendum questions are: Jackie Benson, Jane Erickson, Beth Meyers, Denise Monicken, Dennis Paquette, Ken Peterson, Ken Rundhaug, Amy Wicker, Todd Graf, Dustin Klanderman, Tom Schumacher, Mike Timm, John Huenink - Construction manager with Kraus-Anderson, Brad Simonson - Architect with HSR Associates, Steve Apfelbacher - of Ehlers and Associates, the district's financial advisor, and Helland.