Update: Voters in Unified School District of Antigo reject referendumSubmitted: 04/05/2016
Update: Voters in Unified School District of Antigo reject referendum
Story By Karolina Buczek

ANTIGO - Voters in the Unified School District of Antigo faced a tough decision Tuesday. They voted against a referendum that would have closed down five of its district's seven elementary schools, renovated the remaining two, and built a brand-new, centralized school in the city.

If voters had said yes to the $25.9 million plan, North Elementary, East Elementary, West Elementary, Pleasant View Elementary and Spring Valley Elementary would have closed.

Two rural schools—Crestwood and Mattoon—would have stayed open.

The school board president thought this referendum—unlike the past three, which also failed—offered a good compromise designed to please all parties.

"With referendums that we've tried to run in the past, that has not been the case," says School Board President Mike Boldig. "It has been more 'close all the rural schools,' and this time around, the board is very cognizant of the fact that a rural presence needed to be maintained. So that's why we came up with this, basically very much a compromise-type plan to do that."

The district would have also spent almost $23 million to build a brand-new, large, centralized elementary school in the city.

Its current elementary schools were built in the '50s and '60s. Boldig believes modern education requires more modern spaces.

The new school would have also kept most of the teachers in the same building, which would give them more time with students.

"We have a lot of teachers that spend a lot of what we refer to as "windshield time," going back and forth between schools," says Boldig. "They have to pick up their supplies, go to that school, spend an hour or so there and finish up, pack everything up, and go on to the next school."

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