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Cudahy voters OK school work

Referendum passes by 52-48 percent margin

April 8, 2009

The School District of Cudahy's $3.77 million referendum for school improvements narrowly passed voter approval April 7.

According to unofficial results, 1,085 residents, 52 percent of those who went to the polls, voted for the spending plan, while 1,000 people, or 48 percent, opposed it.

Voter turn-out was about 17 percent.

Board President Gail Schacht said it was "a close call," but that she was pleased the referendum got the green light from voters.

"The things that needed to get done will get done," she said.

The $3.77 million would allow district officials to install new roofs at Gen. Mitchell, Park View and J.E. Jones elementary schools and create a side-street parking area and drop-off zone at Kosciuszko.

An expanded visitor parking area and drop-off zone also would be created at Cudahy High School to curb parents from dropping and picking students up on Lake Drive, halting traffic.

Other projects entail window replacements, lighting improvements, and floor tile and carpeting replacements. The communication systems would be improved at J.E. Jones and Kosciuszko.

Now that the referendum won voter approval, district officials can issue $1.48 million in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, tax-credit bonds that afford schools a low- or no-interest loan to be used for capital projects or repairs.

The majority of referendum expenses - about $837,000 - will be for work at the high school, where officials hope to enhance security with the installation of video cameras and monitoring devices. Plans also call for upgrading the internal door lock systems, replacing the school's welcome sign with an electronic display, renovating classrooms, and replacing the school's courtyard doors, lighting and some windows.

Worker contracts will immediately be awarded with price quotes for the projects locked in because officials have already gone out to bid.

Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.

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