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The Stoughton Area School Board of Education board continues to narrow and refine a district facilities “to-do list” and publicly palatable dollar amount for a fall referendum.

At its Monday, June 20 meeting, the board heard initial recommendations from its “Core Team,” which includes district contractor J.F. Findorff and Son, to create a referendum not to exceed $50 million, while continuing with energy efficiency measures and evaluating solar power on future projects.

The board also listened to the preliminary results of the community facilities survey sent out this spring. It garnered 1,562 respondents (18% participation rate) among district staff, parents and residents, who were asked to weigh in on facilities priorities.

According to a brief recap of the survey, a majority of all subgroups would support a $36 million referendum to address the district’s highest priority needs. Respondents might also support a referendum for up to $50 million to address some of the additional projects, including: updating or replacing Kegonsa Elementary, updating and renovating Fox Prairie Elementary, replacing the Community Gym, and creating a dedicated gym and cafeteria at Fox Prairie.

Over the next four weeks, Core Team will prioritize scope based on updated costs, needs and survey priorities. Findorff’s Erika Freeman said they would return next month with some options for board members, based on Monday’s discussions and the survey results.

The board is set to meet July 18 to share initial recommendations prior to a learning session the following week. The board is scheduled to present a final recommendation at the Aug. 1 meeting, then adopt the ballot language and referendum resolution at the Aug. 15 meeting or the following week, if needed.

While the survey results pointed to having to prioritize projects, leaving some for the future, school board president Frank Sullivan said the need for those upgrades won’t be going away.

“A lot of us were hoping to see support that would allow us to do everything at once, and that's clearly not there, and I understand why that is,” he said. “I don’t fault the community for that in the slightest, especially how the last couple months have been going. This is not one-and done - we’re going to continue to examine and prioritize these needs.”

For more information on the district’s long-term facilities planning, visit stoughton.k12.wi.us/facilitiesplanning

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