The Brandon-Evansville School Board approved a resolution moving forward with a bond referendum vote this November.
It will be a two-question ballot, with the first question asking voters to approve a $19.9 million referendum that will convert the existing Brandon facility into a pre-kindergarten through grade 12 school.
It will include construction of an elementary school addition and improvements, an early childhood addition and construction of high school renovations and improvements. Those include construction of a band and choir addition, along with improvements to the cafeteria/commons area, classrooms, restrooms, locker rooms and parking lot.
The second question will ask voters to approve a $5.3 million referendum that will be used to construct a multipurpose gymnasium addition with locker rooms and a dedicated Charger Kids Club area at the Brandon School site.
Question two is contingent on question one passing.
The multi-page resolution took board Chairman David Anderson nearly 15 minutes to read. School board member Randy Bettermann made the motion to approve the resolution, with school board member Tim Lauthen seconding the motion.
The resolution was approved by a 5-2 vote. School board members Jana Anderson and Kent Husiman voted against it.
The no vote by Jana Anderson seemed to come as a shock to some board members, as at the last couple of meetings, she was one of the biggest supporters of the school board moving toward this option.
After the meeting, she said she had time to reflect and think about the options.
“I feel the price point was not where it needed to be yet,” she said.
David Anderson said the process has been long, but he realizes it takes time.
“I wish more people would come to the meetings to get their info instead of other places,” he said. “But that is the world we live in. At the end of the day, this was the best option and the option that has the most potential for passing.”
He said the two-question ballot gives voters a choice. Although he added that without a second gymnasium, it will be difficult to get programming to where it needs to be.
As for what will happen if the referendum fails once again, David Anderson simply said, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Superintendent Don Peschel said it has been a long process of collecting information, conducting surveys and gathering input from the different venues, including the community, school board members, staff and committee members.
“It’s been a year,” he said. “But we are moving forward with the committee’s recommendation.”
The B-E School Board will now be submitting the review and comment application and materials to the commissioner of education for approval. Once the board receives the materials back, it will hold a public meeting to discuss the comments made by the commissioner.
Sample ballots will eventually be posted at the district office as well as at each of the combined polling places.
The referendum vote will be held at the same time as the general election, which has been set for Tuesday, Nov. 5.
The school board is also expected to act on improving HVAC systems in both the Brandon and Evansville buildings for an estimated $7.2 million. That action should be taking place at an upcoming school board meeting.