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Driving force

SPRING VALLEY — Hall High School is one step closer to an April referendum that would ask voters for permission to borrow $32 million for a new school after choosing two chairpersons for a referendum steering committee Wednesday.

Hildi Grivetti and Mike DeAngelo, both of Spring Valley, were chosen to head up the committee which will oversee efforts to promote and garner votes for a referendum on the April ballot.

“I just felt like we needed to get something started,” Grivetti said.

Superintendent Mike Struna said the board will likely vote to put the referendum on the ballot in January after a special waiver for the school sponsored by Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The waiver would allow the school to legally borrow the $32 million for the school and pay it back over 30 years instead of the regular 20- or 25-year periods. Struna said the House has already passed the waiver, and the Senate will likely pass it when it returns for sessions in early January.

Struna outlined his vision for how the referendum committee will likely be run. He said a referendum is driven by the community and much must be done before Election Day.

“April isn’t too far off,” Struna said.

According to Struna, there are three keys to passing a referendum: Community leadership, community involvement and communication. The steering committee will be the driving force of the referendum movement with several subcommittees reporting to it.

The committee is designated with creating a strategy and theme for the movement as well as coordinating the various committees. The largest committee will likely be Get Out The Vote committee, which will examine voter analysis and registration, door-to-door canvassing and other subcommittees.

“We need people from every committee to help get the vote out,” Struna said.

The communications committee is in charge of advertising and media attention in both newspapers and radio, developing a social media platform and creating pamphlets and signage for the movement.

The finance committee will be in charge of fundraising, volunteer labor, in-kind donations and legal compliance. Once the resolution is passed by the school board, no district funds or facilities can be used for the movement.

The final group would be a speakers bureau that would identify clubs and groups in the area where people can speak and recruit community partners.

Struna was part of a successful referendum while superintendent at Putnam County High School, but he was quick to mention that every referendum is different and his presentation was only a guide. The groups may find they need more committees, etc., but the first step is to get things moving.

“A lot of this has to be behind the scenes work,” Struna said.

The groups won’t likely begin a major push until March, but they need to start getting their ducks in a row.

The steering committee will meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 to develop a theme, message and create a name for the referendum movement.

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