Residents in Black River Falls area to vote on $23M referendum for district-wide school improvements

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WKBT) – On November 3rd voters in Black River Falls, along with Jackson, Clark, and Monroe counties will be asked if they approve borrowing $23 million to improve school buildings in the Black River Falls School District.

These include Forrest Street Elementary School and early learning center, and Black River Falls Middle and High schools.

Improvements would include building updates, renovations, new furnishings, fixtures, and equipment.

It’s the second phase of a long-range plan to improve the schools.

Phase one started in 2014, which funded the construction of Red Creek Elementary School and facilities improvements at Black River Falls High School.

If this referendum is approved school taxes would not increase.

The district said it’s committed to responding to the needs of the community.

“We would not be interested in moving forward with the project if we didn’t feel we had the backing of the community,” said Shelly Severson, Black River Falls School District Superintendent.

In June a community-wide survey showed 63% of residents said that now is a good time to do these projects.

Severson is optimistic but knows there is always a chance it will be voted down, leaving the schools with limited resources.

“If they say no the district will continue in less than ideal environments. Teaching in a locker room, limited class sizes in some of our areas, less than ideal band and choir areas. The academics will move on regardless,” she said.

She explains that some of the most significant challenges the district faces if the referendum isn’t approved are not being able to deal with boiler and water mitigation issues in the basement of the high school.

More information on the referendum can be found here.

Brf Referendum