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What’s to come if the Freedom Area School District referendum passes

Posted at 4:43 PM, Mar 21, 2024

FREEDOM (NBC 26) — A Freedom Area School District referendum is coming up in the April election. I spoke to voters about the question on the ballot.

  • The Freedom Area School District is asking voters for $62.5 million in a capital referendum.
  • They’ve planned additions and renovations to the current school campuses.
  • This is the district’s first referendum since 2019, when they asked voters to support a new high school and were unsuccessful.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The Freedom Area School District is proposing a capital referendum to the community. It’s designed to benefit students but comes at a cost to taxpayers. I'm Olivia Acree in Freedom talking to voters about the question on the ballot.

The district is seeking $62.5 million in a capital referendum this spring. The money would be spent on a project with four parts: Technical and music education additions, classroom and lab updates, infrastructure updates, and moving fifth graders to middle school.

“Those spaces are quite outdated just really need to be updated for safety,” said Jill Mussett, Freedom District Administrator.

District administrator Jill Mussett says high school additions reflect greater student interest in areas like technical education. And she says moving fifth graders opens up much needed space in the elementary school where they’ve had to turn locker rooms and closets into classrooms.

“The spaces that we’re using aren't necessarily designed for what they’re being used for now,” said Mussett.

Parent Cathy Vosters supports the project.

“A community really is only able to stay afloat for as long as they have investments in their youth and the way that we need to do that right now is making some investments in the school,” said Cathy Vosters, a Freedom parent.

The district proposed referendums in 2017 and 2019 to build a new high school. They both failed. The current referendum would cost taxpayers $1.77 for every $1,000 of property value.

“It significantly less this time because it’s only a capital question,” said Mussett.

The referendum question will be on the April 2 ballot.