by Elementary Principal Matt Renwick

One of the first things our family noticed about Mineral Point when we moved here in 2016 was all of the historical homes and sites. People proudly display plaques describing when a house or structure was built, along with the name of the original owner or business. When people speak of Mineral Point with me, they typically note how charming the town is. One of the first gifts we received when we moved into our own older home were pictures given to us by a neighbor that documented when our house was built (the early 1900s).

Our Mineral Point pride is one characteristic that has led us to the discussion about the elementary school facility. On August 13, 2018, the school board will decide whether or not to go to referendum in order to pay for the renovation of the elementary school, as well as a possible recurring referendum to support district operations. The community has had opportunities to participate in an informational workshop and to take a survey about the future of our facilities. This has led us to the following two questions (in draft form) to be considered for a possible November 6 vote:

Question 1 BE IT RESOLVED by the School Board of the Unified School District of Mineral Point, Iowa and Lafayette Counties, Wisconsin that there shall be issued pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in the amount not to exceed $11,920,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school building and improvement program consisting of: code, maintenance, and ADA items; renovate and update existing elementary; parking, bus lane, and stormwater improvements; secure lobby, office, and classroom addition; gym and physical education addition.

Question 2 BE IT RESOLVED by the School Board of the Unified School District of Mineral Point, Iowa and Lafayette Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $350,000 for the 2019-2020 school year and thereafter, for recurring purposes consisting of ongoing operational expenses.

With respect to the first question, it was a product of the community’s input regarding how Mineral Point feels about addressing building code issues and other needs of the current facility. The community informed us that, if tax dollars have to be spent on upgrading the elementary school, we should allocate funding and resources toward the existing structure vs. a new building. The second question would ask voters to decide whether the district should also be given access to additional funds to pay for the ongoing operational expenses of running the school district.

I write this article not to advocate for any specific way of thinking, but for two primary reasons. First, there is still an opportunity to make your voice heard August 13 at 6:30 pm regarding this possible school district referendum at the School Board meeting in the district board room located at 705 Ross Street. The Mineral Point School District’s Board of Education welcomes citizen participation during its meetings. Chances are you feel a certain way about the two questions and/or how they are worded. You might also prefer to not go to referendum at all. What’s important is that, if you have an opinion about the potential referendum questions as they currently exist in draft form, you are encouraged to make your voice be heard.

Second, and it relates to the first reason, I believe what a community values can be found in the decisions they make on behalf of their constituents. As I noted in the beginning of this article, Mineral Point takes great pride in its history and sense of community. What can we learn from our history and our culture that will better inform decisions we make today on behalf of our future? Being actively involved in this process will help ensure that Mineral Point Schools, and the greater community, continue to be a source of pride for its citizens, as well as an inspiring location for the many people who have come to appreciate our small town.