Dundee board rethinks propositions
DUNDEE--After the overwhelming defeat of a $29.5 million capital project earlier this month, the Dundee school board is considering submitting one revamped proposition and submitting another and having voters weigh in.
During the board's Nov. 17 meeting, board President James Koehler said the outcome of the vote gave the board some clear direction, he said.
"It gave us a very clear picture of where we're at. We all knew at the time that it was very aggressive," he said of the original three-proposition capital project. "We found out it was too aggressive. We were trying to do the right thing. We're still trying to do the right thing."
During the meeting, board members discussed at length a pared-down version of Proposition 1 that would include roof replacement on the main building, security for the whole district and renovations to the bus garage and school building.
That would cost $15,925,200, Superintendent Kelly Houck said. On a $100,000 home, the potential impact on tax bills would be $37 per year, she said.
"It does reflect the comments that were shared as part of the suggestion box that was available for voters to leave any comments," she said. "The comments we did receive specifically stated the bus garage and security."
The original Proposition 1 that was rejected by voters 164 to 460 involved a $28 million project to complete renovations to the district's main building and bus garage.
The board also talked about reintroducing Proposition 3 for a vote that had been turned down 163 to 452. The project involved stadium lighting for the track and field at a cost of $550,000. The district would have received a $250,000 donation toward that cost from the estate of a former Dundee alum if the proposition had passed.
On a $100,000 home, that proposition's potential impact on tax bills would be $5 per $1,000 of assessed value per year, Houck said.
Board member James Hill said he would like to see the lighting proposition resubmitted so the district does not miss out on the $250,000 donation toward the project.
"But the vote was three to one against it," Koehler said.
Houck said there would be no harm in offering it as a separate proposition.
"When you see bus garage, security and roof, those are all tangible things that really need to be done," board member Laurie Richer said. "Then if you throw in this field lighting thing, it's kind of like we're just trying to slip it through."
According to board member Jared Webster, the lights would be great for sports, "but it's not life or death," he said.
Because the lighting project would have to be paid for with local money and would receive no state aid, "We need to find more alumni that have money," he said, drawing laughter.
A straw poll of board members indicated that a majority favored presenting the lighting project as a separate proposition in addition to the pared-down version of Proposition 1.
Sentiment among members of the audience that numbered about a dozen was that the two propositions being proposed were reasonable. The lighting project should be a separate proposition, as there were voter complaints about the original proposition being contingent on the first proposition, they said.
The district has to wait 90 days from the date of the original vote before another vote could be held, Koehler said, noting Feb. 8 would be the earliest another vote could be held.
That doesn't give much time to schedule meetings to try to get voters to express their views on the proposals, board member Wendy Gibson said.
"We could certainly in three months get something out," Koehler said. "All of this stuff is not new. It's stuff that has been presented before. It's just a shorter list. It's the same stuff but a shorter list of what was presented before."
Vice President Kristen VanValkenburg said that is just the soonest date that a vote could be held. The vote doesn't have to be held then, she said.
Houck said even if the vote were held in February and was successful, the project could not be put out for bid until after the district gets state Education Department approval, likely not until August. "And there's nothing we can do about that," she said. "That's just the reality of it."
She also cautioned against holding another capital project vote close to the district's annual budget vote because it could be confusing.
The original Propositions 2 and 3 were both contingent on the first proposition passing during the first vote Nov. 10. However, neither of the propositions discussed Nov. 17 would be contingent on the other.
Proposition 2, which failed 121 to 496, involved renovation of the district's current tennis courts into "multi-purpose courts," a $1 million project that was also not expected to receive state aid.
Had all three of the original propositions been approved, the tax impact would have been an increase of $1.17 per $1,000 of assessed value for taxpayers. For a $100,000 house, that would represent an additional $115.98 over 15 years.
Correction: The sentence on the potential impact to tax bills has been corrected to show that on a $100,000 home, the potential impact on tax bills would be $37 per year. The original sentence incorrectly stated the amount was $37 per $1,000 of assessed value. The amount listed per $1,000 of assessed value is $3.70.