Digging into the details: Stratford superintendent writes about upcoming referendum
By Scott Winch
Stratford School District Superintendent
On Jan. 18 the Stratford School Board passed resolutions to put two referendum questions on the April 5 ballot.
The first question asks for an amount not to exceed $15,995,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school improvement program at the high school and elementary school consisting of renovations, remodeling, infrastructure and capital maintenance improvements, a classroom addition, technology and security upgrades, asbestos abatement, and site improvements as well as acquiring furnishings, fixtures, and equipment.
The second question asks for an amount not to exceed $7,995,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of constructing and equipping an addition at the high school for an auditorium, gymnasium, lobby, and restrooms and completing related site improvements.
What does this all mean?
Generally speaking, the first question means that we are looking to upgrade our facilities: primarily HVAC, plumbing and electrical improvements, remodeling of curriculum spaces in both buildings, and an addition to the 6-12 building that includes five classrooms — a net gain of three classrooms — and additional commons space. The second question is basically what it says: an addition of an auditorium, gymnasium, and a lobby to access both, along with corresponding site development that would need to take place.
We are at a stage in this process that the district needs to get information out to residents to impress upon them the importance of each of these questions.
On Monday, Feb. 15, there was an organizational meeting to allow for the board and the community to be educated on the referendum informational campaign and to potentially form committees to help get information out to the public.
Two coming meetings will be information sessions, at which we will have several options available for community members to learn more about this project. We will have members from the Miron/Somerville team at a table that will be able to answer questions about the design/construction part of this project. We anticipate having our financial advisor from Robert W. Baird at both meetings, who will be teamed with our own business manager to answer questions about the financial impact of this project to taxpayers. The school board will also be available to answer any questions community members may have about this project.
In addition to each of these roundtables, we will also have staff members available to provide tours of our existing facilities and show the necessities that some areas of the buildings need addressed. These meetings are scheduled for Monday, March 7, and Tuesday, March 22, in the band room.
In addition to these meetings, we will also be sending two districtwide mailers to residents to provide information about this project for those that may not be able to attend either meeting. Poster boards will also be up at various school events that will provide information about this project.
I have said several times since this process started about a year ago now that this is certainly an exciting time to be a part of the School District of Stratford. As I look back at this process and look forward to the work ahead, I always look at the mission of our district: “School District of Stratford – Committed to Students, Committed to Community and Committed to Excellence!”