Rushford-Peterson Residents to Decide on $15 Million Referendum

Posted at: 11/27/2012 5:38 PM
Updated at: 11/27/2012 5:41 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- $15 million. That’s the amount of money the Rushford-Peterson school district is asking for. The district wants a new early childhood through fifth grade facility. But it needs the taxpayers to do something they haven’t done in more than 40 years - approve a referendum.

The building that houses elementary and high schoolers in Rushford-Peterson was built in 1906; 5 years after Teddy Roosevelt became president.

For over one hundred years, students have walked the halls, halls that now creak, and walls that are literally falling apart.
The last time a school referendum passed in Rushford-Peterson was in 1969, the same year the first man landed on the moon.

"We've done all the necessary steps and procedures and done everything that we possibly could do at this point and so now we need to put it out in front of voters,” said Superintendent Chuck Ehler.

The referendum funded by taxpayers will also include a long term plan of getting all the students under one roof.

"We have a great school district, we have quality teachers here. Our test scores back that up and so the foundation is here and now we need to invest in the facilities as well,” said Ehler.

According to the school, a home valued at $175,000 would see a tax increase of $417. A farm valued at $800,000 would see more than $1,100 in extra taxes. Some residents see the benefit.

"Our taxes increase for other things that we don't even know why they increase, they just do so for it to increase on something that I know is good, ya it would be okay,” said Edna Gravos.

But not everyone. Farmer Rick Feine says the additional taxes would unfairly burden farmers and business owners.

"It upsets me a lot there's gonna be a lot of farmers hurting financially and I hate to pass on the debt and the tax burden ya know, on to my children,” said Feine.

Leaving the future of this century old building uncertain.

The referendum vote is scheduled for December 19th.