By Raymond Neupert/South Metro Observer

WESTON, Wis. – D.C. Everest officials are making their case for a yes vote on a proposed multi-million dollar school improvement referendum.

The district released a booklet to parents and the community outlining how the proposed $59.8 million dollar program would benefit schools, students and the community. Superintendent Kristine Gilmore says that the age of the district’s facilities is starting to show, and that there needs to be efforts to bring the buildings up to modern levels.

“Just like a home, there’s a year you need a furnace, a new roof and new windows,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore is breaking down the upgrades into four categories.

The first set of upgrades is based on improving student learning, and will reconfigure classrooms and learning spaces at the elementary schools to better allow for collaborative teaching. This will “support new and innovative teaching practices that develop future-ready students,” according to officials.

A second set of upgrades will focus on safety and security of students. That includes a new secure entrance for the junior high school, security upgrades at three of the elementary schools, and new and improved fire systems across the district. Riverside Elementary will also be getting new water filtration systems in order to make the tap water there safe for students.

The third set of upgrades is focused on general remodeling in the district. A number of the elementary schools will be getting new additions, improved classrooms, and new cafeteria spaces. The senior high school will be getting a number of new classrooms and more room for the music and drama programs as well as new tech ed space. The junior high will be seeing some remodeling, as well as a new restroom in the basement area near the art and language rooms, in order to make the building ADA compliant.

The last set of upgrades is focused on general upkeep of buildings and general maintenance of facilities. Gilmore says that includes heating, roofing and windows, as well as general beautification of facilities.

“Although we’re doing great things in our schools, appearance does matter for a lot of people. So it’s it’s time we refresh, remodel and renew those schools for our future,” she said.

Officials say the overall cost of the project will increase tax bills on a $100,000 home by $24 dollars a year, and put the district’s annual cost per student to around $4,386 dollars, which is still less on average than most other districts in the area.

The referendum will come up for a vote in the April election.