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Voters approve Hastings School District referendum

Hastings Middle School. File photo

Hastings-area voters approved District 200’s two-question referendum in the Tuesday election.

The district asked the community to approve a $49.5 million bond and an operating levy worth $1.3 million a year.

The bond passed with 66 percent of votes, while the levy garnered nearly 62 percent.

Superintendent Tim Collins said that the community is both conservative and generous.

“Last night’s vote proved that,” he said.

Many members of the community asked questions and were willing to listen to the situation the district is facing, Collins said. He was happy to see the support from them at the polls.

“I thank them for their generosity,” he said.

Funds from the bond will be made available to update the district facilities. Five areas were included in the bond including safety and security, deferred maintenance, 21st century learning, community shared spaces and technology.

Most of the funds will go toward deferred maintenance items including replacement of the ventilation system at Hastings Middle school, which has not been replaced since the late ‘60s to early ‘70s. The roof at the high school was also part of the proposal. Other items include an investment in Todd Field and McNamara Stadium, security upgrades, technology upgrades and more. A full project list is available on the district website.

Collins said that the projects associated with the bond will be phased in. The district will start meeting with architects, engineers and facilities individuals to come up with a plan. The roof of the high school will have to be planned for next summer because it is the highest priority, he said. The ventilation at the middle school is another big priority, but more planning will have to be done for that project to take place.

The operating levy will help the district pay for general school operations, including the cost of teachers and other staff. The approval of the levy will help minimize employee reductions, according to the district.

The levy is a $300 increase per pupil, from $473 to $773. It is projected to bring in about $1.3 million per year, but that projection is subject to change depending on enrollment.

The operating levy will result in a tax increase on property owners. The amount that would be increased depends on the property value. The tax impact on a $250,000 home is estimated at about $10.56 per month.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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