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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Coleman School Board Gives Nod To April 3 Referendum

Issue Date: January 10, 2018

After considerable discussion at is regular monthly meeting on Monday, Jan. 8, Coleman School Board agreed with one dissenting vote to go to referendum on Tuesday, April 3 with resolutions that will provide funding for building improvements if voters approve.

The sole "no" vote was cast by Jamie Graetz. Votes in favor were cast by board members Jeremy Hoida, Barbara Krause-Klug, Scott Herzog, Barbara VanDrisse and Board Chair Ryan Wendt. Board Member Joanne Nowak was absent and excused.

On Monday, December 11 the Coleman Facilities Committee (CFC) presented its facilities needs findings and recommended going to a referendum vote for financing. They suggested two referendum questions, but a third, asking to provide combined funding for the two improvement recommendations was added on advice of legal counsel.

The committee was a cross-section of over 25 community members who were asked to review and analyze all data and provide a recommendation that is cost-effective for the community, energy efficient and adaptable for the future. The CFC studied the issues and collected information at a total of nine meetings over a10 months time span.

District electors on April 3 will have the opportunity to vote on three questions:

Question No. 1: Not to exceed, $10,850,000 for the purpose of paying for the cost of District-wide improvements and upgrades to the existing school facility including: building infrastructure, life safety and energy efficiency upgrades; secure entrance reconfiguration; elementary classroom, gymnasium, kitchen and cafeteria upgrades, expansion of the high school cafeteria and related equipment.

Question No. 2: Not to exceed $2,980,000 for the purpose of paying for upgrades for the costs of renovating the science, technology, engineering, agriculture, art and math (STEAM) areas of the Middle/High School building and related equipment.

Question No. 3 would, if the first two resolutions are approved, authorize issuance of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $13,380,000 for combined funding of both projects.

District Administrator Doug Polomis said the two projects would improve infrastructure and maximize the functionality of the existing building while adding a small addition to address security and expand the cafeteria space.

He explained the tax impact, if question one were to pass, would be a mill rate increase of 47 cents per $1,000 of property value. "Therefore if your home is assessed at $100,000, you could see an impact of $47 per year. If question two were to also pass, another 50 cents would be added to the mill rate. If both questions pass, the mill rate would increase by 97 cents per $1,000 of property value, which equates to $97 per year for every $100,000 of property value."

Basically, approval of the first referendum question would allow building-wide infrastructure improvements, improvements to meet ADA and code compliance issues, and more. A "yes" to Question No 2 would provide funding to renovate and expand the science, technical education, agricultural, art and math areas of the high school. Both recommendations were approved by a majority of the CFC and have unanimous support of the administration, the board was told.

The District plans to create an informational campaign to educate the community on the needs of the District. More information will be available on the District's website, in future news articles, and through other means of distribution.

In other action at Monday's meeting the board heard a detailed report from Lindsay Allen on the district's newly developed Academic and Career Planning program, approved Shane Gould as volunteer wrestling coach.

Two long-term employees of the district are retiring, and the board accepted both announcements with thanks for their many years of service.

Robert Thielman will retire at the end of the school after 39 years with the district, and Larry Konop will retire effective Friday Jan. 26, after 27 years as a member of the maintenance/custodial staff.

"I thanked him personally for his 27 years of service and wished him well in his retirement," Polomis said of Konop. He and several board members said they will miss his smiles.

Polomis and board members also expressed appreciation for everything Thielman had done during his 39 years as a member of the Coleman staff. In his resignation letter Thielman thanked the school board for employing him for 39 years. "Obviously, spending 39 years working for the district shows that I enjoyed my time here," he wrote. "I also want to thank the late Clifford Robbins for hiring me back in 1979. He saw something in me and felt I had something to offer Coleman Schools. With your leadership and the direction of Superintendent Douglas Polomis, Coleman Schools will remain an excellent place for students to prepare for life graduation," Thielman's letter concluded.


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