Neenah holds informational meeting on $114.9 million referendum

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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY)- For the second straight year voters in the Neenah Joint School District will see a referendum question on the ballot in April.

A mistake in Illinois’ automatic voter registration system could mean deportation, criminal charges or both for a handful of immigrants who cast ballots. Hundreds of people who acknowledged that they weren’t U.S. citizens were mistakenly registered. Sixteen of them voted. (MGN IMage)

This one is asking for $114.9 million, about $15 million less than the one voters rejected last year.

Before a sizable crowd Monday night district officials met with people both for and against a proposed referendum highlighting several specific projects it would cover.

This includes on-going efforts to improve safety and security at each district building and the construction of a new high school.

Dr. Mary Pfeiffer, district superintendent said, "Once the new high school is built, what we would do is renovate this building, the current high school so it would become a 5-6 intermediate school and a 7-8 middle school, already really two buildings connected by a link so it's perfect."

As a result he district would turn Horace Mann Middle School into an elementary and close Shattuck Middle School, although right now there's no plan for what would happen with the building.

At the meeting people on both sides spoke out.

"They're getting cameras and safe and secure entrances which are great but they have the money to do that now they don't even need a referendum to do safe and secure entrances, they have the funds. So I think they just want to build a high school," said Tom Beck of Neenah, adding, "I'm going to recommend to vote no, go back to the table."

Amy Nasr of Neenah supports the referendum.
She said, "We don't need a new high school. We agree with that, but we do need to get rid of Shattuck. If you see Shattuck, you will know and I'm sure you can put some photos on there to show people it's a terrible school. It's grossly outdated."

Overall the cost of the referendum would be an extra $99 per year on a property valued at $100,000.

The previous referendum failed by about five hundred votes.

Pfeiffer added, "I would say this is a community driven solution. It's very different from the last one, right."

The district has three more informational meetings scheduled throughout March, leading up to an April 7th referendum vote.

Nasr, who sits on the Yes committee for the referendum clarified her stance later saying in a statement, “The Yes for Neenah School campaign fully supports this referendum, we strongly believe that this solution of building a new state of the art of high school with the latest safety and security measures, an enhanced cutting edge technology wing and more STEM opportunities for students is the best opportunity to grow and maintain the Neenah community. This referendum solve 75 percent of the NJSD long term need. Both Immediate and Middle School students will have a newly renovated combined facility that will offer more educational opportunities for students, teachers and staff. Middle School students will have a quality education environment in the current high school, replacing its current 92 year old facility. Elementary school students will get more space for music, art, special education and other educational needs. “