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POLL QUESTION | Is there transparency in upcoming proposed West Bend School District Referendum


August 20, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend School Board (WBSB) will hold a special meeting tonight, Monday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.

As of Sunday, Aug. 19 the meeting minutes from the WBSB Monday, Aug. 13 meeting had not been posted on the District website.

Cobbling together some of the details from the board agenda, there was a draft of a referendum question for the Nov. 6, 2018 Fall Election ballot.

According to the draft, the WB School District appears to be proposing a $50 million referendum for construction of a new Jackson Elementary School and capital improvements at the West Bend High School.

Details listed on tonight’s meeting agenda are below.


In a 6-page report from Baird the preliminary total interest on the referendum would be $35,176,350 for a total cost to taxpayers of a bit more than $85 million.



Taking a look at the current referendums the West Bend School District is currently paying off….

In April 2009, voters in West Bend approved a $29.3 million plan to renovate, as well as build an addition to Badger Middle School.

In November 2012 the West Bend School District passed a $22.8 million referendum to close Barton Elementary School, expand Silverbrook School and add classrooms and a gym at Green Tree Elementary School. The actual total cost of the referendum with taxes and interest was $31.975 million with a 15-year payback on borrowing.

After the Nov. 2012 referendum passed the $31.9 million total was added on top of the $29.3 million payment for the 2009 Badger referendum = $60.2 million.

The target date to completely pay off the debt on both referendums is 2028.



The poll question deals with a policy passed in January 2012 regarding fiscal management. The policy below hones in on key terms like “genuine transparency regarding the planned use of public funds” and  “a much more fully informed electorate” and “builds trust among all District stakeholders.”


The question is: Should the board move forward on a referendum, would you as a taxpayer like to see the total cost and interest listed on the ballot question ( $85,176,350) or would you prefer to see only the referendum amount ($50,000,000) as listed in the draft above?



West Bend School Board member Chris Zwygert, speaking as a person, indicated the board would be meeting Monday, Aug. 20 to discuss whether to move forward with the referendum. So far no meeting date has been posted on the district website.

Zwygert also indicated if the board decides to go forward with the referendum there is a time limitation when the board needs to declare a referendum and its language to get it to the municipal clerk. “My understanding is if we do that on our next board meeting, which is the last Monday in August (Aug. 27) that gives us one day to get that information to the municipal clerk,” he said.



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