School board approves $2 million school additionThe Hudson Board of Education has approved a $2 million addition to the Hudson Middle School, funded in part by federal interest-free construction bonds.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
By a vote of 5 to 1 the Hudson Board of Education voted to go ahead with a plan that includes a $2 million addition to the Hudson Middle School and the use of three classrooms at the adjacent Hudson Prairie Elementary School to help ease crowding at the state’s largest middle school.
The finance plan was presented to the board at a special meeting earlier this week. The board voted to apply for up to $1 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds which will be interest-free after a rebate. The money is part of the federal government’s stimulus plan and is available to all school districts in the state. The application deadline is this spring.
The balance of the cost will be taken from the district’s general fund. Financial Services Director Tim Erickson had reported that the $2 million to complete the project is available in the fund but recommended that the district apply for the bonds and leave the balance in the fund to earn interest over the 10-team term of the loan. He estimated that would result in net interest earnings for the district of about $80,000.
The project does not require a public referendum.
While she supported the project, new board member Pat German voted against the two-part funding plan, saying that since the district had the money in the fund to cover the cost, the district should not apply for the QSCBs even if they are interest free. She said that since the source of the bond money is the government, it is still costing the taxpayers of the district.
Board member and finance committee chairman Brian Bell pointed out that the bond money, $100 million in Wisconsin, will be distributed to school districts whether Hudson applies for the bonds or not and that it makes sense to apply for the bonds.
More information on the project will appear in next week’s Star-Observer.