Voters say no to Rothsay SchoolPublished 10:52am Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Rothsay School district voters appear divided on whether to appropriate $24 million for a new school facility.
In a referendum vote Monday night, the issue was defeated, with 289 voting no, to 277 voting yes — a margin of 12 votes.
“We are disappointed but not discouraged,” said Superintendent Warren Schmidt. “We definitely will go out again, but I’m not sure in what capacity yet. The problems will not go away.”
“I think it was a tremendous outpouring of voters which is great,” said school board vice chair Kevin Brenden. “We’ll just have to go back and look at it again.”
Rothsay School is over capacity due to increased enrollment, and also has building issues, including some code violations. The school board proposed building a new facility rather than continuing to add on and fix the current structure.
The current school building was constructed in 1903, and has undergone numerous renovations, the last one being in 2003. A study commissioned by the Board of Education determined that it would cost approximately $6.9 million to bring the current school up to code requirements, without adding more space. An additional 53,000 feet of new space would be required to meet the district’s needs, and the board recommended that the school have more acreage based on its projected school population. Estimated costs to have the current facilities meet the district’s need is $17 million, not including the additional land.
There was a good turn-out for a public question and answer session on Saturday, but apparently there are still some issues to be resolved.
“One issue is cost,” said Brenden. “We’ll canvas the results and be discussing it at our upcoming meeting.”
The Rothsay School Board will meet at 4 p.m. today, to discuss the next steps.