BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison School board accepted 193 signatures Monday night and quickly voted 7-0 to add a question to an April 3 ballot to build a new preK-3 school on Bluff Road.
The referendum is for a $30 million, 20-year bond to build, furnish, and equip the new school just east of the current Fort Madison Middle School as well as new baseball and softball facilities.
The referendum will have a .97/$1,000 assessed valuation impact on homeowners in the district. A $75,000 assessed home would see a $72.75 increase in their annual tax bill for 20 years or until the bond has been paid off by the district.
The cost is $3 million higher than the previous referendum due to an increase in construction costs over the past year.
District Business Manager Sandra Elmore took a roll call vote to approve the resolution to submit the signatures and request the ballot, which passed 7-0.
Superintendent Erin Slater said in a recent article that the district may look at satellite voting to help get people who couldn’t or didn’t vote in the last referendum election in June.
In June, district residents voted 56% in favor of building the new school, however state law requires a supermajority of 60% plus one vote for the measure to be approved.
Central Lee school district unveiled plans last week to ask voters for close to $10 million for construction in that district. That referendum will also be on the ballot on April 3.
In other action, the district set the last day of the school year for students at May 31 and June 1 for teachers. The original school calendar had those days set for May 30 and 31, but the recent snow day has pushed the school year out one day.