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Karl Sonneman: I do have an alternative plan to fix school buildings

November 3, 2018

A recent letter charged that Save Our Schools and I had not offered a workable alternative financial plan to fix our public school buildings. In fact, I have proposed several models that could well serve our school district and our taxpayers. Based on my experience on public bond issues, there are many workable alternatives.

Last winter I presented a model to illustrate how elementary schools could be repaired on a pay-as-you-go basis using the district’s legal authority to do a capital funding referendum. My model could easily be changed to add or subtract spending or choose different buildings or projects. At the time, my priority was to show how our district could renovate a modern Madison School, but I could do similar projections for any school building.

The present school board has chosen to go with a limited bond referendum that raises $9.5 million, which will need to be repaid over four years with interest. My pay-as-you-go model would have raised more money over four years for school repairs and renovations at the same cost to taxpayers. My model also could allow the district to prioritize health and safety projects and then either select similar projects or focus on completing one building at a time. I understand finance and can do more for education by being flexibility and choosing from the possible alternatives.

Karl Sonneman, Winona