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Pierz voters approve pared-down referendum

PIERZ—Voters in the Pierz School District said yes to a request for more funds Tuesday, April 10.

On its Facebook page, the district announced the bond referendum passed, with 993 in favor and 816 against.

"On behalf of all school board members and the staff of our schools, we are very, very thankful for the support so many people in our community have shown for our children, our staff and our community," the post stated. "We pledge to continue our tradition of hard work and keeping children at the heart of all we do."

The Pierz School Board sought approval of the bonding referendum, asking taxpayers to pay an additional $10 million toward building improvements in the district's schools. The proposal was the second time in less than a year the district has sought additional funds from voters—a referendum asking for nearly double the amount at $18.45 million failed by a wide margin in May 2017.

The school board pared down its 2018 request, eliminating the construction of a new auditorium at the high school from its wish list and reducing the square footage of improvement areas. The plan once again includes the construction of a new gymnasium and classrooms and improvements to the parking lot at the elementary school, along with the construction of a band room and improvements to the kitchen and cafeteria at the high school.

On its website, the Pierz School District outlines its reasons for pursuing building improvements in its schools.

"We currently are teaching many levels of children every day in poor instructional settings including conference rooms, storage rooms, hallways, lunchrooms and outdoor modular classrooms," the website states. "The use of outdoor modular classrooms forces preschool students to have to walk outside to get to the library, gym, and cafeteria.

"Some of our facilities are unsafe or not code-compliant. Our parking lot is too small and the layout is unsafe lacking a proper drop-off area. The 1963 high school kitchen's current serving lines do not meet state code."

The property tax increase on a Pierz School District average-valued home of $132,000 would be $140 per year, or $11.67 per month.

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