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August 15, 2006

CAST Gearing Up For $23.5 Million Referendum

From Channel 3000:

Fall is right around the corner. That means classes back in session and another school referendum for Madison voters.

A group calling itself CAST is gearing up to get voters to say yes to a $23.5 million referendum on Nov. 7.

CAST stands for Communities And Schools Together.

Rich Rubasch is heading up the group. He's a parent looking out for the best interest of his children. He believes a referendum is the answer.

"Since our kids go to Chavez we know the overcrowding is a problem," said Rubasch. "Music and art are going to take the impact first." Rubasch believes the best answer is a long-term solution, like the referendum.

The referendum includes a new school on the West side, an addition to Leopold Elementary and refinancing past loans.

If passed, it would cost the typical homeowner about $30 more a year, reported WISC-TV.

School board members say even though the referendum includes Leopold, it looks different than last year.

"We understood there were some shortcomings in the last referendum," said school board president Johnny Winston.

Winston said this year the decision to seek a referendum came from a community task force, not the school board.

Last year voters failed two of three questions. This year there are also three parts, but only one check box.

"I think it was important to make it as simple as we could and that meant one question," said Winston.

A citizens group questions the decision to ask for additions to Leopold again. They believe changes and redevelopment at nearby Ridgewood Apartments could lower the school-age population, and make the addition unnecessary.

"We're trying to get the data, so better informed decisions can be made," said ACE member Don Severson.

Active Citizens for Education is also raising questions about refinancing loans.

If the district does refinance, it would save $100,000. Severson would like to know what the district plans to do with that money.

Posted by Ed Blume at August 15, 2006 3:49 PM
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