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June 17, 2002

School Board puts referendum questions to voters Nov. 5

Hamilton School Board members voted to place three referendum questions on the Nov. 5 election ballot. Voters will decide whether the district should go ahead with a Marcy Elementary School renovation and remodeling project, Hamilton High School fine arts and learning center addition and operating costs for the high school addition.

Costs are $6.8 million for the Marcy project, $6.7 million for the fine arts and learning center, and $124,000 annually for operational costs. Combined, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay an additional $49 to support the projects and operational costs.

The community Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) recommended in May that the School Board move ahead with the November referendum. The committee gave its final report to the School Board after presenting an interim report in January that asked the district to gather data about community support for specific projects.

The committee’s recommendations corresponded with results from a community survey in which residents expressed support for the Marcy project, high school fine arts-learning center and operational costs. The committee urged the School Board to form another facilities committee in 2003 to examine the need for a new high school gymnasium and additional middle school — projects that did not enjoy community support. After studying community growth projections and the condition of facilities throughout the district, FAC members deemed the gym project and new middle school as important projects but did not recommend that they be part of a district referendum until there was greater community support.

School administrators were directed to work with attorneys to develop and file the necessary paperwork to conduct next November’s referendum. Attorneys will advise the district on referendum question wording for the ballot.

School Board members expressed support for the two projects, characterizing them as overdue.

Jennifer Rude Klett said it was time to bring Marcy up to the standards of other facilities in the district.

Board President Gerald Schmitz agreed, noting that the school lacks a stage, an appropriately sized gymnasium, a sprinkler system and air conditioning throughout the building and usable classroom space in the oldest section of the building.

“And it has an antiquated steam boiler system that was put in in the early thirties,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz and Rude Klett also supported the high school fine arts and learning center addition to promote fine arts in the district.

“This is an idea that has been kicked around at least four times since I have been in this district,” said Schmitz, a 26-year veteran of the School Board. “We need to move forward. This is something that is for the betterment of the arts.”‘

Support for the facilities projects requires the third operational cost question, according to School Board Member Deborah Briggs. The operational expenses include costs for one cleaner and additional utilities and associated supplies.

Without approval of operational costs, the district would have to cut other programs to support the new high school addition, Briggs said.

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Maple Avenue aides Christy Hellmich and Andrea Tarantino;
  • modified contracts of Hamilton mathematics teacher Julie Jarolimek from 67 to 50 percent, and Woodside and Maple Avenue writing resource teacher Susan Ladd from 55 to 70 percent; and
  • appointed Andrea Tarantino as a half-time Lannon second grade replacement teacher and Christine Raabe as a half-time Willow Springs speech-language specialist.