Group is also raising money to promote levy
By Chad Koenen
As the Henning School District prepares for its biggest building referendum in 30 years, a group of local residents have come together to advocate for the expansive project.
The Henning School Referendum Supporters group began meeting in August as a way to help promote the upcoming referendum vote.
“It’s an extensive project so the goal is to just get our school district educated and informed, but obviously this is a supporter group. This is something we want to see happen,” said Henning School Referendum Supporters Treasurer Andy Eckhoff.
Eckhoff said the group has approximately 15-20 active members with a number of other people in the area helping to promote the upcoming $27 million two-part levy vote. Eckhoff said everyone who would like to see the referendum passed in the school district is invited to join the committee, which meets every other Wednesday at the Landmark Center.
“The committee is an open invitation for anybody that wants to be supportive and part of the advocating group,” he said.
If passed, the referendum would be the largest building project at the Henning School District since a similar referendum was approved by voters in 1993. The 1993 referendum was a $4.3 million project that replaced the 1908 and 1923 three story middle school building at Henning School.
The 1993 referendum also had an expanded media center, two interactive television studios, classrooms for elementary and special education students an elementary music room, relocated administrative offices, expanded locker rooms, a shop and more.
A record turnout at the time approved the bond with 707 people voting in favor of the measure and 406 voting against the referendum.
The upcoming November 8 school building referendum is a two-part question.
The first question will replace the school’s HVAC system, construct a new main entrance and administrative office, build a new career and technical education space, renovate elementary classrooms, construct a new commons area and replace the high school gym floor to name just a few items. The cost for the first part of the project would be $21.7 million.
The second question will construct a new high school gym, construct more extensive updates to the restrooms and replace the remaining parts of the roof that remain. The cost for this project would be $4.6 million and is contingent on the passage of the first question.
In order to help offset costs associated with promoting the passage of the referendum, the Henning School Referendum Supporters have set up a GoFundMe account online. According to the GoFundMe website, proceeds raised will be used to promote the referendum through things like mailings, advertisements, buttons, yard signs, videos, banners and more.
Individuals who would rather not donate money online, can also drop off a donation for the group at First National Bank in Henning. Eckhoff said a checking account has been set up at the bank and individuals can drop off a check and mark it for the Henning School Referendum Supporters.
Eckhoff said any money that is raised by the group, but not spent in promoting the referendum, will be donated to the Henning School District.
In order to help answer any questions the group has set up a Facebook and Instagram page online. The group posts at least one daily message about the potential benefits of the school building project and how they feel it could be an asset to the community moving forward.
“Each day of the week, Monday through Friday, we try to pick a different topic and we post about that. We post what the topic is and why we need to fix it, or how the referendum will fix the issue,” said Eckhoff.
In addition to their social media pages, Eckhoff said quite a bit of information is available on a website located at www.ourschoolourhornets.org. The website has a property tax calculator for people who were wondering exactly how the potential referendum could impact their property taxes moving forward.
“There are resources out there for people to jump online and find information about the referendum,” he said.