Durand (WQOW) - A $17 million referendum would mean the end of an elementary school for a small town in Pepin County.
That’s one of two questions voters in the Durand school district will face when they head to the polls in early November. Wednesday night, the school board approved a pair of questions for the ballot.
"It probably is the best way of increasing our bang for our buck," said Greg Doverspike, Durand Superintendent.
School may be out for summer but in Durand, the school district is still busy. It's looking at ways to save money while improving the classroom experience. That begins in the junior - senior high school.
"Relocate some mechanical units, air handlers, things like that. And that whole tech ed area is not ADA compliant, there's levels there without the handicap accessibility. So we're going to kind of modernize that area," explained Doverspike.
The fixes are part of a $17.5 million referendum that would also include fixes to Caddie Woodlawn Elementary.
"Basically strip down the interior of the building, redoing casework, painting, windows, and some of the infrastructure of the building. And then we'd also be adding on enough square footage to accommodate the move to make that a complete pre-k through 5 building," Doverspike added.
That move would mean the district demolishes part of Arkansaw Elementary School. It’s a move not everyone agrees with.
"I mean there's a lot of activities that go on over here. That school brings a lot of activities just for this small community," said Richard Jarosinski of Arkansaw.
The district would only keep the office, which it would convert to an alternative school.
"I don't know, to me I think it stinks a little bit, you know, because the school over here it was only built a few years ago and now they want to tear it down. Where are the people going to get the money from?"
The school says the investment is worthwhile in the long run.
"Neither building is large enough to keep everybody all in one location. So for us to go down to one location in Durand is probably going to save us an anticipated between 150 - $170,000 a year," said Doverspike.
The second question will be for $1.5 million. It would pay for renovations to the football and athletic fields and the track.
The school district says if both referendum questions are approved it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about an extra $120 in taxes. The school board meets again next Wednesday to formally adopt the questions.