Crawford County Board

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Presentation about PdC 

School District referendum 

given at County Board meeting

By Ted Pennekamp


Superintendent Drew Johnson and School Board President Christine Panka gave a presentation about the April 5 school referendum to the Crawford County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning. 

The Prairie du Chien School District will be asking residents to vote on two questions as part of the referendum. The first question will involve whether or not to allow the district to exceed the revenue cap limit for operating expenses. The second question involves whether or not to authorize the district to proceed with facilities upgrades not to exceed $18.9 million.

“The district has consistently balanced the budget while facing state and federal budget cuts without compromising quality of education,” said Johnson. “However, the budget can not be cut any more with the amount of community requested programs.”

Johnson pointed out that Prairie du Chien’s current revenue cap is $9,334 per student,one of the lowest in the state. He said that most of the school districts in the area have approved of referendums to increase the revenue cap limit. Prairie du Chien has had no such referendum so far. Schools in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference average $10,200 per student. Johnson said that the Prairie du Chien School District is asking for about 90 percent of that, or $10,056.

Johnson noted that the proposed facilities upgrades include a gym annex, support space, instrumental music and technical education at Bluff View Intermediate School, and an auditorium, greenhouse, gymnasium and support space at the high school. Also proposed is air conditioning in all three schools along with remodeling, renovation and improvements at B.A. Kennedy Elementary School, playground, parking and site improvements at Bluff View, and acquiring technical education equipment and other furnishings and equipment.

Johnson and Panka said that exceeding the revenue cap limit and the facilities upgrades can be done without increasing the tax rate for school purposes of $10.66, which has been the same for the past four years. When asked if the school board had looked into how much the tax rate would go down if the $18.9 million referendum were to fail, Johnson said that they had not. Johnson then said, however, that the tax rate would stay about the same with or without the facilities upgrades. Johnson also told County Board members that the student enrollment in the Prairie du Chien School District is expected to increase in the coming years.

In other business, the County Board voted 15-0 to approve of cost of living (consumer price index) salary increases for the elected department heads of county clerk, register of deeds, and treasurer so that they are paid the same as all other department heads in Crawford County. During the previous election year, the elected department heads of sheriff, coroner and clerk of court received increases of approximately 1.5 percent.

In further business, Supervisor Kersten “Rocky” Rocksvold told the other board members that the 2016 edition of “Hidden Valleys Magazine” features Crawford County on the centerfold. He also said there is a nice, easy to use map of Crawford County that visitors and residents can use to plan their next trip. 

“I’m very proud of this issue,” said Rocksvold, who noted that 70,000 copies have been published. He said that “Hidden Valleys Magazine” is available at the Prairie du Chien Tourist Information Center along with several other area venues.

Near the end of the meeting, County Board President Pete Flesch received a plaque from the board commemorating his many years of service on the board. Flesch is not seeking re-election and is stepping down as board president. 

“This is my last rodeo,” he said about Tuesday’s board meeting. “But, it is not goodbye. I’ll see you around.” 

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