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Green Bay School Board confirms referendum questions

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A week after holding a public input session, the Green Bay Board of Education quickly agreed on the referendum questions it wants to present to voters in April.

“I think this really represents a needs-based referendum as opposed to adding things that people would look at as luxury items,” said Brenda Warren, the school board president.

The first referendum question is for $68.25 million. Of that, $25.8 million would be used to rebuild Baird Elementary School, increasing its capacity by 204 students. Another $19.5 million would be used to add classrooms to Eisenhower, Martin, Red Smith, Sullivan and Danz schools.

The rest of the money would go to new, secured entrances at seven other schools: Doty, Jackson, Jefferson, Keller, King, Wequiock and Wilder. Five other schools, Webster, Washington, East High, Edison, and John Dewey Academy of Learning would also receive renovations.

“At this particular moment, we can handle the space needs that we have, by just adding onto the schools,” said Warren.

The second referendum question asks taxpayers if the school board can exceed its revenue limit by $16.5 million each year for the next 10 years.

Without this referendum question passing, Warren says the district would likely have to make $18 million in cuts to this year's budget.

“We've been cutting for so many years that there just isn't anything left to cut that doesn't impact class sizes and programs for our students,” said Warren.

“We do see that there are necessities that need to go in,” said Richard Parins, a member of the Brown County Taxpayers Association.

Parins says one of those needs is replacing Baird Elementary School. However, Parins says his organization needs more details before it takes an official stance on the referendum requests.

“We will try to give our take on whether we think all of the money is being spent importantly or only parts of it,” said Parins.

District leaders say expiring debt means the referendum requests will not raise the tax rate.

The district plans to hold informational sessions over the next two months to answer any questions voters might have.

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