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Milde seeks 2013 referendum on $66.1 million reconstruction of Stafford High; School Board opposes proposal
Irene Egan, who served on the Schools Citizen's Advisory Committee on Capital Improvements Planning, asked supervisors to keep the project going as planned.
"Some of the discussions that are happening now are repeating all of the legwork that has already been completed by volunteer parents in this county, as well as paid staff members of [the school system]," Egan wrote in an email to supervisors. "A referendum on any school CIP issue sets an extremely bad precedent as well as emasculates our publicly elected School Board."
Recently, parents and students have spoken out about the temporary loss of practice fields due to construction, as well as the lack of an auto-tech center.
Both issues were included in presentations earlier in the year.
At Tuesday's board meeting, Milde said the project is "just going to trudge along," despite community concerns. But the majority of the board seems to support the project as approved.
"To say the voters don't have an input in this process is malarkey," said Garrisonville Supervisor Ty Schieber, who was on the School Board at the time of the vote for rebuild.
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Susan Stimpson said the motion is a "clear undermining" of the School Board.
"I know a couple ladies out in the audience who have spent countless hours of their time" to get the project where it is, she said.
Supervisor Cord Sterling suggested the county use referendums for all major projects in the capital improvements list.
"I don't think we as government know how to spend the taxpayer dollars better than they do," Sterling said of voters.
Typically, referendums ask county voters to weigh in on projects that would affect the entire community, such as if there were just one high school in Stafford, said Bohmke.
In Stafford, two recent referendums included bonds for transportation and for parks and recreation projects.
"I believe that Mr. Milde is very self-serving and it doesn't reflect how our community at large thinks," Bohmke said. "Our community as a whole does not believe this project needs to be a referendum."
County legal counsel said there would not be enough time to put the matter on the ballot for this year's election.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975