$17 million Rushford-Peterson School District referendum approved

Money to go toward $38 million school building

Voters approved a $17 million Rushford-Peterson School District referendum Tuesday.

The referendum was approved with 52-percent of voters saying “yes” and 48-percent saying “no.”

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There’s plenty of learning in Mrs. Cunningham’s art class, but not a whole lot of room to do it in.

“As you can see we are in here pretty tight. Students can’t work on larger projects because we just don’t have the space to do that,” Samantha Cunningham, an art teacher at Rushford, said.

There are problems beyond small classrooms.

“Handicap accessibility is an issue for us; stairwells are narrow and not wide enough to handle that. We have no bathroom facilities on the second and third floors,” Chuck Ehler, the Rushford-Peterson school district.

Rushford Peterson School District is hoping to fix all that with a new $38 million building. They’re asking taxpayers to pay $17 million. State aid would pay for the rest to help offset costs for locals.

“If we were to go out and ask our residents for the full¬† $38.1 million that tax impact would be somewhere in the neighborhood of about 55 percent in their school tax,” Ehler said.

Under the proposed plan residents would see about a 26 percent tax increase.translating into about $150 more in property taxes for every $100,000 over the next 20 years. The money would be used for a number of things within the new building.

“Larger classrooms, better air quality, better technology,” Ehler said.”We’ll be enhancing our school security; we’ll be providing green space for our children to play on.”

Those who don’t approve of the referendum want to update the current building. But Ehler said the state will only give them $21 million if it goes to the new building.

“It will not go towards the cost of remolding or refurbishing, you can qualify for some aid, but that would be far less,” Ehler said.

Ehler said it’s time the quality of the school building matches the quality of teachers like Mrs.Cunningham.

“We’re very blessed with a great support system for our education and now with a new school we feel that will enhance it even more,” Ehler said.