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Survey supports new $26.5 million elementary for H-BC

Board to decide Dec. 27 on proceeding with building referendum; vote would be in April
Mavis Fodness

Residents in the Hills-Beaver Creek School District support a new elementary school but do not support additions to the secondary school.
That’s according to a district-wide survey conducted by School Perceptions out of Slinger, Wisconsin, for the district.
H-BC School Board members reviewed the results at their Monday meeting and will present the information to the district’s stakeholder committee.
Board members will meet in a work session at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, to hear the stakeholder committee’s recommendation. They will also hear more information from the architect and construction manager hired to examine the district’s long-term facility needs.
“We heard loud and clear we are not to make any additions to the secondary school,” said superintendent Todd Holthaus.
“We also heard loud and clear not to add a track and field practice field or a competitive football field.”
However, the majority of H-BC residents supported building a new elementary school in Beaver Creek rather than updating the current facility.
District households were mailed a notice in mid-November directing them to participate in the online survey with their assigned I.D. number.
The survey had 348 respondents or a 30 percent response rate. The survey’s error of margin is 5.4 percent.
Results divided respondents into three groups: school staff, parents with children currently in the district, respondents without children in the district.
About a third of the respondents in each group supported keeping the elementary school in Beaver Creek.
Just over 20 percent of all respondents supported moving the elementary school to Hills.
In the question about whether or not to build a new elementary school, results indicated:
•49 percent of staff would support building a new elementary. Just 9 percent of staff supported only updating the current facility.
•36 percent of parents supported building a new elementary, with 10 percent of parents supporting only updating the current facility.
•18 percent of non-staff, non-parents supported building a new elementary, with 16 percent supporting updating the currently facility only.
Board members will make a formal decision about a possible building referendum at their Dec. 27 meeting, after another board work session and Wednesday’s stakeholders’ meeting.
“They don’t want to preclude what the stakeholders want,” Holthaus said.
If the board agrees to go forward with a referendum, exact project details will be presented at yet-to-be determined public information meetings.
Estimated cost of the new elementary school is $26.5 million.
A potential referendum vote to fund the project could take place in April.

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