Change comes in response to survey showing lower tax tolerance

By Alex Johnson

Correspondent

The Burlington Area School District Board of Education narrowed the options for a potential November referendum to three Monday.

A final vote is expected later this month.

The three options are:

  • Option 1, estimated at $48.1 million: A new, fifth- through eighth-grade middle school at approximately 160,000 square feet, in addition to safety and maintenance repairs to remaining elementary school buildings, 209 building, and district administration building
  • Option 1A, estimated at $43.6 million: A new, sixth- through eighth-grade middle school at approximately 140,000 square feet, in addition to safety and maintenance repairs to remaining elementary school buildings, 209 building, and district administration building
  • Option 3, estimated at $36.6 million: A renovation of the existing Karcher Middle School changing the grade configuration to a fifth- through eighth-grade structure, in addition to safety and maintenance repairs to remaining elementary school buildings, 209 building, and the district administration building

Three other options presented by Ben Templin of Scherrer Construction were voted out by the board. Those included an option for a renovation and addition at a fifth- through eighth-grade Karcher Middle School in addition to district-wide maintenance; a renovation and addition at a sixth- through eighth-grade Karcher Middle School in addition to district-wide maintenance; and a final option, which included district-wide maintenance, light renovation, and safety items.

The scaled back options came in response to a survey completed by the district this spring that showed the tax tolerance of voters maxing out at about $45 million.

Estimates initially put the cost of a new middle school as well as other maintenance upgrades and safety improvements throughout the district at about $70 million.

Grade configuration became a point of discussion for the night, with some board members saying they want to move ahead with the fifth- through eighth-grade configuration plan at the middle school – a recommendation from the administration – while others said they wanted to keep the options open for a sixth- through eighth-grade configuration plan.

To read the full story, including more about the debate over grade configuration, see the July 12 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.

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