Pillager Area Residents To Vote Tuesday On Proposed $14 Million Referendum
Residents in the Pillager School District will head to the polls Tuesday to vote on a major referendum. The roughly $14.3 million referendum would fund additional classrooms, fix needed maintenance issues, and build a new fine arts auditorium.
“This is a really important referendum, I think, for the school. We’ve got a really unique community here and the school’s extremely important to not only Pillager, but the entire district, this entire region,” said Pillager resident and former school board member Chad Koel.
The proposed referendum has two parts that residents will vote on. The first question requests funding for classroom additions, remodels, and maintenance issues. Many of the additions and remodels would take place in the elementary school and the vocational and trade areas of the high school.
“We’ve grown quite a bit in the last seven to ten years. We’ve averaged a two to four percent growth in enrollment. We have added music programming, fine arts programming to our school in the last few years,” explained Pillager Schools Superintendent Michael Malmberg. ”The vocational areas haven’t been updated since 1970.”
The second part of the referendum would add a 350-seat fine arts auditorium.
“Unfortunately, our fine arts kids, our theater kids, we put them in an auditorium, which is an elementary cafeteria,” added Koel. “It was built in 1940.”
In 2017, a similar referendum was put up for a vote, but failed. The school board then conducted a survey and reworked the proposal so that hopefully it will be more appealing for voters.
“We changed, we restructured this plan. It went from a one-question to a two-question ballot. We reduced the size of the auditorium, cut down some costs, added the vocational program,” said Malmberg.
School officials believe that if the referendum passes, it is not just the students and the school that will benefit.
“I think it’s a good time for us to improve the quality of life for, not just our students, but also get the community to be proud of something that they can be a part of as well,” Malmberg added.
Voting will take place Tuesday, May 13, 2019 at Sylvan Town Hall from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.