|Referendum Press Releases|
November 3, 2016
Belleville Referendum: Thank you Belleville Community
Dear Community Members:
As election day nears and our neighbors in the School District of Belleville vote on the school district’s referendum on November 8, we wish to take a moment to offer a heartfelt “thank you” to the community.
Over the last several years, dozens of Belleville residents have participated in various committees to assess the district’s facility needs, to consider various options, and ultimately to make a formal recommendation to the school board about the solution that should be placed on the referendum ballot.
In addition, hundreds of other Belleville residents participated in a district-wide survey, joined their neighbors at various listening sessions, asked questions about the needs of the district and solutions that were considered, and made their voices heard.
Thus, the referendum question that is on the November 8 ballot reflects the work of hundreds of community members, parents, grandparents, business owners, and residents, old and young, from every corner of our district. Regardless of the outcome, we are so very proud of the work that so many people in the community did to get us to this point. We are so grateful for your engagement in the effort devoted to our district’s first referendum in 21 years.
However, a reduction in the existing debt levy and historically low interest rates provide the District an opportunity to pay for long-term facility needs while minimizing the increase in your school taxes. Moreover, since a large portion of the referendum cost is for our highest-priority capital maintenance needs including; plumbing, heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC), electrical, technology wiring, roofs, and windows/doors, we feel the time to take action is now.
The identified district-wide needs will still remain whether the referendum is successful or not. We want to make clear that we will continue to make fiscally responsible decisions and seek ways that will ensure optimal value to taxpayers’ investment in the school district.
With that, we will end as we began, by thanking you.
Angie Edge, School Board President
Julie Porto, School Board Vice President
Marian Viney, School Board Clerk
Kevin Spiegel, School Board Treasurer
Jill Remy, School Board Member
Elizabeth Lowery School Board Member
Michael Treder, School Board Member
October 27, 2016
Belleville Referendum: Putting Basic Needs First
On November 8, you have the opportunity to make your voice heard regarding the School District of Belleville Referendum. We encourage all voters to get out and participate in the election, and more importantly, we want all community members to have an informed decision.
We have a variety of resources on our website, ww.belleville.k12.wi.us/district/referendum2016.cfm, that will give you a full overview of all issues the referendum will address, including a helpful Fact Sheet and Newsletter.
It is important to note that many issues being addressed by the referendum are related to basic needs that must be covered for our district’s children to have a safe, quality educational experience.
Here are a few examples:
- Safety: The safety of all students is a priority. Our referendum includes plans for renovations at the Middle/High School to accommodate a more secure entrance, as well as site and safety improvements that feature upgrades to Hayden Road. At the Intermediate School, the plan includes site improvements to separate bus and parent drop-off/pick-up areas to prevent danger to students, staff and parents. The plan also includes upgrading security cameras and fire alarms at all schools.
- Infrastructure: Even some of our most basic infrastructure throughout the district is in dire need of upgrades and repairs. The referendum includes plans to upgrade and/or replace plumbing, heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC), electrical, technology wiring, roof, and windows/doors at the Intermediate School, and roof and lighting at the Middle/High School. Having upgraded, reliable infrastructure ensures our schools will be able to remain in use for many years to come.
- Accessibility: There are elements of our Intermediate and Middle/High schools that do not comply with the standards listed in the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). This means not all children who attend the schools have equal access to the facilities. Our referendum includes ADA compliance upgrades, such as lift and door hardware at each school.
These basic needs, safety, infrastructure, accessibility, must be addressed. A huge portion of the proposed referendum solution includes addressing these critical capital maintenance issues. As always, anyone who has any questions about the referendum is encouraged to call the district office at (608) 424-3315 or email Superintendent Pam Yoder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 13, 2016
Belleville Referendum: Community Engagement
The November 8th ballot will include a critically important referendum question from the School District of Belleville. If passed, the referendum will address a number of urgent facility needs in our district and will benefit our district for many years to come.
Throughout this entire process, one of the major areas of focus for the school board has been community engagement. Throughout the planning effort, the board and district worked to keep community members engaged and informed of the needs of the district, the process that is being used to address those needs, and ultimately, the solution that will be on the November ballot.
In addition to a multi-year planning process that included the active involvement of many district residents, we have more recently held two referendum community open houses. The first open house was held on September 8th and the second on October 5th. During those sessions, community members learned about the needs of the district and how the referendum would address those needs, and then asked many great questions.
We have also taken a number of efforts to provide information and answer the community’s questions. You can view documentation about the referendum by going to the district’s website: http://www.belleville.k12.wi.us/district/referendum2016.cfm. In addition to a fact sheet that summarizes the referendum, and frequently asked questions document, there is a great deal of information about the process used by the Board of Education to develop the proposed solution. We have also provided a number of articles and press releases about the various initiatives included in the referendum, and have revved up our social media activity to keep people interested and engaged in what we’re planning here at the School District of Belleville. Additionally, we recently sent out a postcard to School District of Belleville residents explaining the referendum. Please also watch your mailbox for a referendum newsletter coming soon.
Finally, we are completely open to questions from the community via email or telephone at any time. Reach out to us with your questions and comments by calling the district office at (608) 424-3315 or email Superintendent Pam Yoder at email@example.com. We are happy to discuss details and provide you with more information.
Make sure you’ve made plans to vote on November 8th. There are a number of extremely important items on the ballot, including our referendum, so make your voice heard!
October 6, 2016
Belleville Referendum: Shaping the Future
The November 8th referendum for the School District of Belleville has the opportunity to shape the future of students for years to come.
The school district is committed to providing students quality education. Through three district-wide initiatives, Project Lead the Way, Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy and One to One Technology, Belleville educators are making a positive impact on students. However, the 21st century offers new opportunities and challenges for students and school districts.
As technology and the world evolve, so do the ways students learn and how teachers teach. Rather than traditional classrooms with students sitting in desks and teachers standing up front, classrooms have also evolved. Students participate in hands-on learning activities, engage in small group instruction as well as large class activities. For the district to successfully offer this type of instruction, flexible learning spaces are needed, and to continue to provide quality instruction, the district’s facilities require upgrades and improvements.
The referendum proposes a solution that will effectively improve learning spaces for students. Site improvements will address, plumbing, HVAC, electricity, wiring, roofs and windows/doors. Updates to learning spaces will include flooring, lighting, cabinetry, larger library, new cafeteria and new classrooms. Separate bus and parent pick-up/drop-off areas and an upgrade to Hayden Road will also increase safety. Additionally, creation of designated Special Education classrooms will make an impact on students with special needs. Facilities will also be expanded for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) offerings.
These changes will result in, increased positive learning environments and more opportunities for students. These upgrades also represent a broad range of needs throughout the district. By addressing these needs, the district is positioning Belleville schools and students in a way that will help them keep up-to-date with rapidly evolving standards throughout the state and the growing needs of life in the 21st century.
Your vote on November 8th has the potential to shape the future of our district. We encourage you to learn more about the referendum by visiting our website, www.belleville.k12.wi.us/district/referendum or by calling Pam Yoder, District Adminisistrator, at 608-424-3315. Invest in our students and Belleville.
September 22, 2016
Belleville Referendum: Needs, Processes and Solution
As the voters in the School District of Belleville consider the November 8th referendum, it is important to understand the needs of the District, the process that was used to evaluate facility needs and ultimately, the solution that will be on the ballot in the form of a referendum question.
Though the District’s maintenance staff have done an excellent job of keeping our buildings in good shape and operating as efficiently as possible, there is only so much that can be done. Our facilities have old heating and ventilation systems, as well as such things as single-pane windows, which make our schools inefficient. Additionally, many of the facilities lack modern security practices that are common throughout most schools in the state.
Beyond the fact that we need to replace outdated items and update security, we also need learning spaces that meet our educational needs. As education continues to change, today’s instruction focuses more than ever on hands-on learning projects and small-group activities. This means modern classrooms must be conducive to these types of activities.
Classrooms must have more space, with desks and chairs that easily move to accommodate quick layout changes for multiple types of learning. District staff have done a tremendous job of working with the facilities we have, but as the years go by, it becomes increasingly obvious that our facilities need to be upgraded if we are to keep pace with the evolution of education. Simply put, our facilities as they currently exist do not support modern learning.
Additionally, today’s educational professionals have a deeper understanding of the unique needs of students than they did when the schools were initially built. In keeping with state and federal laws, students with special needs may receive services in a more individualized setting outside the traditional classroom, which has led to an increase in space needs despite similar enrollment levels. This is especially true at the Intermediate and Elementary schools, which were built in the 1950s.
For all of these reasons and many others, the School Board has engaged in a process to evaluate and prioritize the District’s needs and ultimately develop a solution. This process began 10 years ago with a professional assessment of all District facilities. Then, in 2014, the Board created a study committee to help consider District needs. In 2015, our newly created Ad-Hoc Educational and Facilities Planning Committee, made up of Belleville community members, met regularly to prioritize our needs throughout the District in accordance with our financial situation and reviewed options. Finally, this summer, the committee made a formal recommendation to the Board who voted to place a question on the November 8th ballot.
As we near Election Day, we encourage all community members to learn about the needs of the District, the process that was used by the Board to evaluate and prioritize those needs and ultimately, the solution that is being presented to voters in November.
Information about this process, including all reports, agendas, and meeting minutes, is posted on the District’s website. Residents are also encouraged to contact District Administrator, Pam Yoder, at 608.424.3315 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. In addition, the Board is holding a second Community Open House on Wednesday, October 5th at the Intermediate School Cafeteria at 6:30pm. All are invited.
September 1, 2016
Belleville Referendum: School Board Votes to Place Referendum Question on November Ballot
Referendum to address urgent facilities issue and help district move forward
The Belleville School Board has voted to place a referendum question on the November 8 ballot that aims to address a number of the district’s needs. The board’s vote follows a multi-year process that included engaging a task force of community members and staff, studying facility needs, identifying options to better serve the needs of the district and the community, and conducting a survey.
If passed, the referendum would upgrade classrooms and other learning spaces to better support teaching and learning; secure building entrances; add security cameras; upgrade fire alarms; add separate bus and parent drop-off and pick-up areas to increase safety; address necessary plumbing, roofing, electrical, heating, and ventilation needs; and increase long-term efficiency by consolidating school buildings.
The cost of the referendum will not exceed $20.75 million and thus will have an estimated tax levy increase of $99 for every $100,000 of property value. The district’s ability to restructure soon-to-be-paid-off debt lessened this tax impact.
The plan that will be presented to voters in November reflects the priorities of the taxpayers, meets the needs of students, and addresses long-range facility needs. As part of the process to evaluate the needs of the district, the Board of Education enlisted the assistance of an Ad Hoc Educational and Facilities Planning Committee that was open to all community members. That group first convened last year and met monthly over the school year to prioritize the district’s needs, consider the district’s financial situation, review options the district’s architect presented, and conduct a district-wide community survey. The committee was composed of nearly 50 participants, including district residents, staff, retired staff, parents, non-parents, business representatives, and students.
The November referendum seeks to address numerous needs across the district. At the Intermediate School, the referendum will add classrooms and cafeteria space and allow the district to change grade configurations so the building can become an early childhood through 6th grade school. In addition, learning space enhancements, including new flooring, lighting, and cabinetry and a larger library will be made. Site improvements that will make student drop off and pick-up more safe and heating and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and technology wiring improvements will be made. In addition, roofs will be fixed and windows and doors will be replaced.
At the middle and high school, minor renovations will be made to provide secure entrances, site and safety improvements will be made by upgrading Hayden Road, expansions will be made to Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM), the fitness/weight room will be expanded, and additional upgrades, including roof and lighting, will be completed.
Finally, the district will vacate the current elementary school, as costs to maintain and improve the building are prohibitive. A decision about what to do with the building will be made with the public’s input at a later date.
“The referendum question that will be placed on the November 8th ballot, the first school referendum in the district in twenty years, was created over the past two years with the active and ongoing participation of dozens of community members,” said Angela Edge, School Board President. “If passed, this referendum will address our most urgent facility needs and will go a long way in moving the Belleville Schools forward.”
For more information about the November 8 referendum question, please visit one of the open houses that are being held at the Intermediate School Cafeteria on September 8, 6:30–8:00 pm, and October 5, 6:30–8:00 pm. Residents are also encouraged to visit the district’s website, belleville.k12.wi.us, or contact Superintendent Pam Yoder at 608.424.3315 or email@example.com with questions.