State College

State College High School project referendum could be moved to February

In an effort to accelerate the entire timeline of the State College Area High School project, the district is considering holding a special election for its referendum in February 2014 instead of May.

School board member Jim Pawelczyk, who has said previously that the board is behind in the process, expressed concern that further truncating the remaining time could be a problem. He said the board would need to submit a referendum question by early December to make the proposed new time frame work.

Architect John Beddia said Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates would be able to get the design ready in time for the new date.

The firm will begin to develop a concept into a fully formed option with as much public information as possible at the time of the referendum when the board selects its final choice at its Sept. 9 meeting.

A new referendum date could affect turnout. Because it would no longer fall in line with the May primary, the outcome would be based on voters who went to the polls specifically for the issue.

It would also come with a price tag.

Preliminary talks with the county elections office yielded a potential number of $60,000 to run the special election, but district consultant Michael Paston, of the 501 Group, said he thinks that number is high and there would be some negotiation.

The board will be tasked with coming up with a final budget and tax increase percentage to fit the project.

There has been no action or scheduled action for the special referendum, but there will be continued discussion in the coming weeks.