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Public Fears Failed Leopold Referendum


Madison School Board members continue to look at options that deal with overcrowding at three of its schools. They are also discussing what to do if one of the district's referendums doesn't pass and Leopold doesn't get a new school.

Board member Ruth Robarts says, "Those are the Leopold fallback plans and [Monday night we looked at] how they would affect schools on the west side."

Parents from those and other schools in the district expressed their concern about what will happen at their children's schools.

"What I need is a cost analysis," says Crestwood parent Marisue Horton, "I need to believe in the Leopold referendum. We have thoroughly from Crestwood explained our situation; Leopold needs to explain to us and make us aware of what's going on in their community."

But parents also spoke out in support of the referendum.

"I firmly believe it really fits the needs of the growing west side and the communities there," says Leopold parent Beth Zurbuchen, "And it avoids the least disruption to the district by building that facility on the Leopold grounds."

Another issue at Monday's meeting: the $8.6 million worth of cuts the district needs to make in order to balance its budget.

"There's not one single item on there any of us want to cut," says Robarts.

Board member Johnny Winston, Jr. says, "They are devastating to the district but our school district needs to look at different efficiencies and different redundancies within its service and look to make changes within that."

He says the district's fiscal problems aren't going away and that's why he's in support of a referendum that addresses long-term problems.

"I anticipate a referendum and I would like to do something that is multiple years and is for programs that the community and district can see long range rather than in just one year."

The first public hearing on the proposed budget cuts is Wednesday at Memorial High School.

That's one of several, but the board will vote on whether to go to an operating budget referendum at the end of this month.


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