Local school district asking for more than $20 million through r - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local school district asking for more than $20 million through referendum

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Rice Lake (WQOW)- A local school district would like to renovate its schools through a referendum, but it might come at a steep price.  The Rice Lake School District would like to fix problems that haven't been addressed since Sputnik.

"Addressing those issues is critical to a quality education for our students," explains Rice Lake School District Superintendent Larry Brown.

The district says its schools need work so it finalized a referendum question; asking for more than $20 million.

"That really boils down to on a $100,000 home, about $92 a year," calculates Brown.  "That would be the net on their tax bill."

Specifically, Brown says there either aren't enough classrooms or they are too small.

He says space is tight and storage is limited, making it that more difficult to fit more than 20 kids into a classroom.

"We just need some classroom space," Brown admits.  "We have music and art on carts where our teachers are moving around the building because we don't have dedicated classrooms for that."

That's not all.  Emergency showers in high school science rooms don't have drains.

"If we ever did have to use it, all those chemicals are going to go all over the floor," Brown explains.  "Right now we really don't have water in our science labs in the middle school so we are taking buckets to other places and filling them up with water to bring back to do an experiment."

So the district is leaving the decision in the hands of its residents and making plans on what it would like to see done.

"We are hoping to get that support so that we can move forward," Brown says.

Residents will vote whether to approve the referendum in February.  The school district says its doing all it can to get the word out to the public that upgrades need to be made.  The district did consider breaking up the renovations into separate parts, but eventually decided to try to complete the entire project at one time.

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