District reacts to Appleton referenda passing

File photo.
File photo.

APPLETON - Tuesday voters in Appleton said "yes" to two referendum questions for the school district.

The first asked for $25 million to improve building security and technology education. That passed 58% to 42%.

The second question asked for $5 million each year, indefinitely to keep up-to-date technology.  That passed by a smaller margin of 53% to 47%.

The decision will raise property taxes on a typical $150,000 home by about $118 each year.

17% of registered voters in Appleton cast ballots Tuesday.

Appleton Schools Superintendent Lee Allinger thanked those who voted on the referenda.

"I have to thank our community for coming out and supporting our schools, that's number one.  I wanna thank them," said Allinger.

Allinger told FOX 11 the money is crucial to prepare students to enter an ever-evolving work force.

For example, one of the changes will be to upgrade some of the schools' technology education classrooms, or machine shops. Much of the equipment at Appleton West, for one, hasn't changed in more than 50 years.

"That's so important for our K-12 system to get exposed to what's available to them out there. So they can make an informed decision upon graduation as to how they wanna continue their education and what kind of career they wanna go into," Allinger explained.

But not all voters wanted to see the referenda pass. Some shared concerns with FOX 11  that the money will be partly used to fund nationally mandated learning standards, standards they don't want to see enforced locally.

Allinger told us now it's now the district's responsibility to ensure the money is used successfully, to prove itself to those who voted "no."

"Our job now is to show them the right decision was made tonight, that there is gonna be a return on this investment and that we're going to sustain that investment into the future," Allinger explained.