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POLL QUESTION | Transparency in upcoming proposed West Bend School District Referendum


August 16, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend School Board (WBSB) met Monday night, Aug. 13.

As of Wednesday night, Aug. 15, 2018 (11:30 p.m. ) the video of the WBSB Monday, Aug. 13 meeting nor the minutes had been posted on the District website.

Cobbling together some of the details from the board agenda there appears to be 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.

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 again in the coming week Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday 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.


American Commercial Real Estate


  1. I believe it is important to include the interest cost on the referendum so the people know for a fact, what they will be paying.

    I was on the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee and am very disappointed in the entire process of the decision to go to referendum. The entire process has been once again less than honest. While we are following a 25 year plan, in what world of business do we have a 25 year plan without the plan on how to pay for what it. If I were to vote today, I would have to vote no and send the administration back to the drawing board. There are way too many issues to address before moving forward on a building plan. With being on the CFAC committee I had a first hand look at the issues they say they are trying to correct, while I could see many of them stemmed from very poor planning and execution to begin with. These are things that have to be addressed so we don’t spend 80 plus million today and end up with the same issue in the future. I will be writing more in the near future as to more specifics on the issue.

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