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Referendums allow local schools to spend millions on buildings; some disappointed with election

Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 07, 2021

HORTONVILLE, Wis. (NBC 26) -- Todd Timm expects to gain nearly 50 new students in his school district every year for the next decade.

But with only six buildings, the Hortonville superintendent says there isn't enough space for more kids.

"The Hortonville Area School District is one of the fastest growing school districts in the State of Wisconsin," Timm said.

That's why Timm says he wanted the community to vote 'yes' to a referendum that allows Hortonville schools to borrow over $40 million for the renovation and expansion of two buildings. It passed after Tuesday night's Spring Election.

"Obviously, Question One for the space for additional enrollment growth is essential," Timm said.

But Hortonville asked its voters to pass a second referendum to build a multipurpose center. It failed.

"We respect those results," Timm said. "Obviously, there's some disappointment with Question Two failing... to be honest, I wanted both because I'm passionate about providing opportunities to our kids."

Other districts passed referendums of their own Tuesday. Howard-Suamico is authorized to use almost $100 million for school renovations and additions.

"Throughout the district, four of our eight schools [are] without AC," Howard-Suamico Assistant Superintendent of Operations Michael Juech said. "And so HVAC systems, ionization, we can update that. We have windows that need to be replaced. We have roofing sections that need to be replaced."

And districts like Hortonville and Howard-Suamico lowered or kept tax rates the same for its community, even with multimillion dollar projects.

"We're gonna ask about borrowing $98 million for capital needs and improvements and two significant improvements in our schools," Jeuch said. "And we can even talk about the tax rate going down. That's not common."

So Timm says he expects more students in his district each year. And that will come with more referendums.

"I'm excited that we don't have to put portable classrooms out in our property," he said.

Hortonville will add more space to Greenville Middle School and Hortonville High School.

Howard-Suamico passed two referendums. One will use millions to undergo projects at each of the district's eight schools.