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Columbus residents to vote on $40 million referendum

Published On: Mar 27 2013 06:52:59 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 27 2013 09:23:15 PM CDT

COLUMBUS, Wis. -

Next week, Columbus residents will have a chance to vote on a two-part, $40 million school referendum.

The Columbus School District wants voters to approve building new facilities.

Columbus resident Laura Hoffman, a mother of two young boys, said she supports the referendum.

"It's for the future of the children. Anything I think that's going to further the education of our kids is worth it in the long run," Hoffman said.

But Bob Heisig, another lifelong Columbus resident, said he opposes the referendum.

"I just don't see where we can afford it," he said.

The election is on Tuesday.

"Because with the age of the buildings, we aren't really growing. We don't need it for the space but we need it for upgrades, because learning's a little different than it was when our buildings were built," said Nancy Liverseed, of the Columbus School District.

The first part of the referendum amounts to $9.3 million to add security to school entries, upgrade technology and purchase 69 acres on Maple Avenue for a new high school.

The second part amounts to nearly $31 million to build a new high school, turn the current high school into a middle school and demolish the old middle school.

For Hoffman, the referendum plays a part in her family's decision to enroll her children in public or private school.

"That's the future of Columbus. I don't know why you wouldn't want to benefit the future of Columbus, even if it's not benefiting you personally now," Hoffman said.

But for other residents, the referendum is another bill they can't afford to pay.

"But to me, all I see is the big tax sign, and we have a hard enough time paying our taxes now," Heisig said.

If the referendum passes, Columbus residents would see that tax increase start in December, but the amount of the tax increase depends on whether one part or all of the referendum goes through.

For the average homeowner in Columbus, that could be a tax increase from $100 up to $450.

The school district also wants to use funds from the referendum to renovate the elementary school parking lot to improve the pick-up and drop-off site and to add an extra restroom to the high school.

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