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People get to weigh in on high school

MONTICELLO -- Heather Torrens is a business owner and mother of two kids in Monticello schools and she says, if she had a choice, she wouldn’t want to rebuild the high school.

MONTICELLO -- Heather Torrens is a business owner and mother of two kids in Monticello schools and she says, if she had a choice, she wouldn’t want to rebuild the high school. WCIA-3's Lindsey Gordon has the details.

"Right now I think we have the space, I just don't think it's being utilized properly and I think if we remodeled, I think we could do that more efficiently," she said.

But the district is giving parents like Torrens a chance to weight in. This week they sent out surveys asking what to do with the 91-year old building.

It needs new science labs, bigger gyms and air conditioning. They could remodel or rebuild it.

"I felt like we didn't need a huge, shiny, 21st century-looking building," said Torrens.

If there is a new school, the elementary schools would move into the old high school building.

"If that high school isn't appropriate for our high schoolers, why is it then appropriate for elementary children who are going to have to use that space?" said Torrens.  

"I'm more apt to redo what they have. Because they have good schools," said John Padgett, who is a 30-year resident of Monticello.

The district says building a new school would cost $40 million, while renovating would cost $32 million.  

Consolidating the elementary schools to the high school site would save the district $500,000, according to superintendent Victor Zimmerman.

"I think you can make the numbers look however you want to," said Padgett.   

Either way, to pay for it, property or sales tax would have to go up. That keeps business owners like Torrens paying attention.

"We're funding our children's futures and that I don't have a problem with," she said. 

Voters will first have to approve the new school. That vote would come in the fall. The school would be ready to open in the fall of 2017.

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