Fall River School District Referendum Addresses Athletics Shortcomings

(Fall River) Voters in the Fall River School District will see a referendum question on the April 3 ballot. The question seeks $7.8-million for upgrades to technology, roof repairs, heating and cooling upgrades, updating staff computers, addressing an outdated phone system and adding more security cameras. Between $5.5-to-$6-million would be dedicated for athletic facility improvements. In recent years, residents in the district voted down two referenda focused on athletics.

District Administrator Michael Garrow says unlike the previous referendums that addressed the bare minimum, this referendum would allow for tournament-ready facilities designed to host events. It would also provide enhancements to the football field, there would be an eight-lane track, multiple soccer fields, three softball diamonds and a baseball diamond.

Doug Waterworth of the Pirate Foundation – which began in 2013 by parents who seeking updated athletic facilities – says there are numerous issues with the current football field. He says the football field ends five-feet from the nearby north branch of the Crawfish River with only trees blocking the path. Waterworth says teams are only able to kick field-goals and extra-points on one side of the field because otherwise the footballs would go into the river.

During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment, Pirate Foundation Member Brian Frank added that the school places pads on the trees to prevent players from hurting themselves. If the question is approved, the mill rate would increase by 81-cents per one thousand dollars of assessed value. The district will hold an information meeting beginning at 6pm Tuesday at Savanna Oaks Community Center.

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.”