Marshfield school referendum advanced to April ballot
BY MIKE WARREN
MARSHFIELD – Voters in the School District of Marshfield will decide the fate of a nearly $100 million building, remodeling and capital maintenance referendum. The Board of Education on Jan. 11 voted 6-1 to advance the referendum question to the April 4 ballot. Cathy Gorst voted “no.”
Superintendent Dr. Ryan Christianson said the referendum question will ask voters if the School District of Marshfield should issue “general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $99.5 million for the public purpose of paying the cost of a district-wide school building and facility improvement project consisting of the following: construction of additions, including for a secure entrance, Career and Tech Ed space, classrooms, Student Services, cafeteria/Commons, and fitness areas, renovations and capital maintenance, building systems, infrastructure and site improvements at Marshfield High School; capital maintenance and building system improvements at Marshfield Middle School; renovations and building systems infrastructure, safety and site improvements at the elementary schools, and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment.”
Christianson added, “It is projected that general obligation bonds in this amount over a 20-year period would have approximately a $2.23 impact on the levy each one of those years over the life of that general obligation bond.” To put it another way, the impact the referendum project would have on taxpayers is already built into the current tax rate of $7.79, and therefore would be tax-neutral.
Christianson also noted the tax impact is lower than it otherwise might be because the district is coming out of a 20-year borrowing which covered a 2005 building and renovation referendum that resulted in the construction of new Washington and Madison Elementary schools, plus renovations at Lincoln Elementary and Marshfield High School.
In expressing her support for putting the referendum on the ballot, board member SAM Steiner said, “There are systems within the school district that are being patched together by an extremely-skilled facilities team that date back to the 60s.”
A slim majority of Marshfield School District residents responding to a recent survey indicated at the time they would support the proposed facility additions, upgrades and capital maintenance.
The proposed improvements were identified by the Community-Based Facility Planning Committee, a group of school officials and residents who have been working since May 2022 to create a new long-range facility plan for the district. The bulk of that plan targets multiple areas of Marshfield High School.