Fall River Citizen’s Group Opposed To Referendum

(Fall River) A Fall River citizen’s group opposed to the referendum facing voters on the April 3 ballot say tax payers should not carry the burden of funding the schools facility upgrades. The question seeks $7.8-million dollars for enhancements to technology, roof repairs, heating and cooling upgrades, updating staff computers, addressing an outdated phone system and adding more security cameras. Members of the citizen’s group say the school district should use the $1.5-million dollars in their fund balance to pay for technology, safety and maintenance projects. Five-and-a-half to six-million dollars would be dedicated for athletic facility improvements. During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment, former school superintendent Steve Rupert says there are issues with asking residents to pay for items that will one day need replacing. He says the new track course will require major resurfacing in ten years and note that computers often need updating. Members of the citizen’s group say the district should use the $1.5-million dollars they have in their fund balance to pay for unexpected needs. Current District Administrator Michael Garrow says the referendum would allow for tournament-ready facilities designed to host events which would have a positive economic impact on Fall River. Rupert says costs associated with operating a summer tournament would not provide a great enough return and notes that outside organizations are often in charge of running the tournament. If the question is approved, the mill rate would increase by 81-cents per one thousand dollars of assessed value. The referendum reads “Be it resolved by the School Board of the School District of Fall River, Columbia and Dodge Counties, Wisconsin that there shall be issued pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $7,800,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a district-wide school improvement program consisting of:  capital maintenance and building infrastructure improvements; learning space updates; communication and technology system upgrades; safety and security improvements; athletic facility, field and site improvements; and acquisition of furnishings fixtures and equipment.”