On Tuesday, Dec. 12, owners of the Hudson School District will vote and decide whether the district will build a new elementary school.

The Board of Education has recommended to the community this solution for long-term elementary space for learning. The board believes this solution provides a means of continuing the same level of quality that our community values while addressing the space needs of a growing elementary population.

The proposed school will open in September 2008 and provide 588 additional seats for elementary students. With current elementary enrollment already at capacity, this school will meet projected enrollment needs to 2013-14. The district's special education early childhood program (a state-required program for children ages 3-5 with disabilities) will be relocated to the new school. The land the district owns on Coulee Trail and County F across from YMCA Camp St. Croix is located south of I-94, where over 500 elementary public school students already live.

To build the school, the board is asking the community to authorize borrowing $12,040,000. Additional funds of $3,500,000 have been designated by the board from the fund balance to reduce the new debt by over 20 percent. This equates to an annual estimated property tax increase of $78 a year, or $6.50 a month, for a home with a market value of $300,000 (approximately $26 for each $100,000 of home value).

New start-up building costs are estimated at $830,300 and include administration, clerical, health services, reading services, math services, playground and bus supervision, library media staff, utilities, custodians, insurance, and facilities and grounds supplies/equipment. Some operating costs will be assumed through reallocation of existing resources including transferring staff members and dollars already in the budget. New teachers will be added for additional growth. There is no additional referendum for operating costs.

Previous columns that I have written have addressed why the referendum is scheduled on Dec. 12 and why high school long-term space relief is not included in this referendum. For more information on these topics, elementary enrollment and projections, the referendum, city of Hudson re-assessment or voter information, visit our Web site at www.hudson.k12.wi.us and click on "Elementary Space for Learning."

We encourage all eligible community members to vote Dec. 12. The Hudson School District and its learners await our community's decision.