From September 17, 2011 Beloit Daily News:
"The Beloit School District is considering a possible referendum
to raise funds for buildings and grounds improvements. McNeal said the Board of Education and administration will be
looking only at absolute needs. 'We have some dire situations,' he said. 'There are roofing problems, infrastructure problems, parking lot
situations and more.'"
Most referenda take a year or two to develop, from inception to the time the board votes. Beloit's
school board only began talks on this in mid September. Light speed
development ensued and within 3 months from the first mention of
referendum, a vote was taken by the board. That is simply unheard of. The reason
behind the rush was to get it on the April ballot because more affluent
people vote in April and more of the general population votes in
November. The board believes that the fewer people who get out to vote,
the more likely it will pass. Unfortunately, the result of this rush is a
poorly planned referendum that may not work -- one we will be stuck
with for 20 or maybe 40 years, regardless of the results.
You might notice that McNeal only wanted to discuss "dire needs" in September -- things like roofs and infrastructure. Even 2 weeks before the final board vote, these dire needs were on the plan for the referendum. Then, without any board discussion to change the plan, it changed. Dire needs were removed form the plan, and the vote was taken before the board even knew what they were voting on. Certainly the public did not know.
During his "referendum update" on February 14, Steve McNeal explained that we will be saving money by having elementary schools close. He said that with the savings, the board can decide whether it wants to avoid budget cuts or use the money for the needs of the schools and programs that were left off of the referendum. So, in other words, the board will have to chose whether to keep teachers or fix roofs. That will be a tough decision. It would have made sense to keep these "dire needs" in the referendum assuring the needs for each school and each student are met.