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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Gyms Sprout in Smaller Schools

The Madison Central School District may face some challenges justifying building a new gym when it is faced with the prospect of making up a 5% cut in state aid to education. Asking local voters to make up another $275K in the annual budget might require giving up the $2.9 million the district says the new gym will cost.

Then again, if we're being quoted $2.9 million for a 40,000-square-foot facility with a 2500-seat gym, we might want to run with that bargain. Shopping around the neighborhood, I learn Wolsey-Wessington just built a new gym that cost $2.2 million. As a Class B gym, I would expect it is markedly smaller seat-wise than Madison's proposed arena. Highmore-Harrold just built a new gym, too. Superintendent Frank Palleria says that facility has just 300 seats. (Palleria, a former Madison super, also tells me a new gym for Madison is "long overdue.").

So $2.7 million gets Highmore-Harrold 300 seats, but $2.9 million will get Madison 2500 seats? I remain skeptical of the numbers we're getting locally.

Update 15:49 CST: I learn from MDL that my friends Matt and Penni Groce are holding an organizational meeting for the new "Vote Yes for MHS Committee" tonight at 7 at the MHS lunchroom.


  1. Cory a few things pop out that you failed to include in your post. In regards to Highmore the story explains, "The new construction will also provide space for locker rooms, wrestling room, weight room, agriculture classes and two classrooms — one for special education and another for Title I. Palleria said the new gymnasium will also be used as a cafeteria for the students and staff. It will include a new kitchen."

    That's a lot more than a gym they built up there. As for Wolsey-Wessington, their gym is larger than the Highmore gym and includes coaches offices, and a new weight room.

  2. Oh... by the way Matt Groce, author of above comment. :)

  3. Right: so does $2.9M really cover all that for the Madison gym, too, when it took $5.8M to cover a similar plan in 2007?

  4. One way to help stem the tide of the district running out of money would be to institute a local school tax. I grew up in PA and this was one of the many taxes we had to pay. It was applicable to all individuals 18 and up. Senior citizens and those still in school got a discount on the tax (in some cases down to $0).
    The reasoning was that everyone in the district benefited (whether they used the benefits or not) from the schools so it was everyone's responsibility to help pay for them.
    I realize adding another tax is not popular but it helps with the funding and takes some of the burden off the state. And I admit I'm not that happy to have to pay another tax. But if you want the benefits of what the government provides you can't just sit back and not be willing to offer suggestions, or just hope someone will do something about it while you gripe about not enough being done to solve the issues.

  5. Jim, I appreciate that you, unlike our GOP leadership, will at least entertain the possibility that we have to pay for the services we receive rather than solely considering cuts to programs.

    The local school tax: was it just an additional levy on property or sales tax? Or was there some other enforcement mechanism?

    More local taxes are exactly what Daugaard, Russ Olson, et al. are banking on. One way or the other, we pay for it; so why not have Pierre step up to the plate and tax everyone in the state who benefits from the K-12 system... including Wal-mart?

  6. It was a per person tax. It was a millage tax based on the number of taxpayers in the district. You were billed for it just like property taxes. Now they collect it from your check. But PA is know for being in the top 10 of most types of taxes in the country.


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