BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Voters will decide today again, if the Fort Madison Community School District will get to build a PreK-3rd grade school and two ball fields on the districts campus on 48th Avenue and Bluff Road.
Polls open at 7 a.m. this morning and will stay open until 8 p.m. at the Fort Madison Public Library, and Roling Hall in Fort Madison; Grace Bible Church in Wever and the West Point Public Library.
Anyone 18 and over who is a registered voter in the district can vote on the proposal regardless if property is owned or rented.
Officials with the school district have said the current elementary schools Lincoln and Richardson are antiquated and would cost $34 million to renovate and bring to code and would still have additional annual maintenance expenses compared to the $27 million price tag for the new school and ball fields.
Opponents say their are too many questions about transportation and location as well as indicated the schools should have been kept in better shape over the years to increase their respective longevity.
The district is hoping to bring a new collaborative learning mentality to the school and start preparing children earlier to compete in the new informational and digital global economy as well as show current and future residents and businesses that Fort Madison puts education as a top priority in the community.
The Holy Trinity Catholic System is also well on their way to adding a $6 million addition to their elementary facilities in West Point, however that issue isn’t on the ballot as all those funds raised would be private funds.
The $27 million would come in the form of a 20-year bond that would cost $2.64/month on a $75,000 assessed home in the district. That amounts to $31.68 a year and a total of $633 over the life of the bond for that homeowner.
A fall referendum was rejected by voters by a 714-756 vote. To pass, the referendum needs 60% plus 1 vote.