WB School Board to vote to approve $35,000 for community survey on possible $80 million referendum

 

 

May 7, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend School Board will hold a special meeting at 5:15 p.m. tonight, to approve spending $35,000 on a community-wide survey regarding Jackson Elementary School and the West Bend High Schools.

The survey would be created by Slinger-based School Perceptions. Bill Foster is president of that company. During an April 30 meeting when Foster then went through some slides of what the survey would say he indicated the options for a response would be four choices: High, medium, low or not sure.

One note, there is no selection to decline a specific project or vote ‘no’ on an answer.

In March when the board hired and met with consulting firm McPherson & Jacobson the board asked whether it should move forward with a referendum while it was looking for a new superintendent at the same time.

McPherson & Jacobson said “it would be wise to wait and do it right.”

Board member Nancy Justman said “we’re in a really unique situation … and I think we should play it out.”

https://youtu.be/rC_HJBoVbJ0

Below are notes from an April 30, 2018 meeting that put numbers over $80 million on a proposed referendum.

Funding Support: The cost to address all the projects identified in the survey is estimated at nearly $80 million. (again – discussion about adding taxes and interest to that number). Given the cost it may not be realistic to complete all of these projects at one time. Therefore, the work may need to be completed in phases, based on the priorities of the community and its willingness to financially support the projects.

Jackson Elementary:  Build a new school          $23 million (2-story school,  82,000 square feet significantly larger than current Jackson)

High School Projects:

Classrooms, Libraries and Science Labs                   $10.5 million

Cafeteria                                         $2.2 million (CFAC members said this was never discussed in their meetings)

Technical Education (Shop) and Engineering Labs   $7.6 million

Weight Room/ Locker rooms                                    $4.0 million

Safety and security                                                    $1.5 million (WBSD has applied for a state grant which could cover this cost or a portion)

Building infrastructure                                              $31.3 million

 

There was a note about being a good steward of taxpayer money and paying off a portion of the debt. “This drop in loan payments gives the community an opportunity to borrow up to $35 million in facility upgrades with no tax increase over the current level.”

A CFAC member indicated the tax may not go up but the lifetime of payments would be extended 10 to 20 more years.

Board member Kurt Rebholz also campaigned on being able to save taxpayer money with energy grants and upgrades. So far no figures have been released on any energy program or potential savings.

On a history note:

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.

The target date to completely pay off the debt on both referendums, totaling about $61 million*, is 2029.

 

The final segment of discussion provided a table showing the tax impact for various referendum amounts. The tax impact on a 20-year bond with an estimated interest of 4.5% was not calculated into the total.

For example: If the referendum was $40 million the estimated increase on a home valued at $100,000 would be $5 per year.

For an $80 million referendum the tax impact on a $100,000 home would be $48 per year.  This would be over the span of 20 years, again without taxes and interest calculated into the total.

A clarification was made asking that in the spirit of transparency the board make it clear on the survey the tax impact would only be for the school referendum. Taxpayers would be made aware their bill would also include an annual tax impact from the state, county, city, MPTC, and the school district which annual has voted to tax to the max. The referendum amount would be on top of those other annual charges.

The work session concluded with an attempt to sign off on the survey questions by May 7 so the survey could be mailed before the end of the month.

The district indicated it is aiming for a November referendum.

CG Schmidt has been hired as the contractor for the project.

(*request is being made to confirm current referendum debt)

Also tonight the board will move into close session to get an update on the superintendent search, the contract – which is reportedly up to $175,000 per year.

The last superintendent was signed at $155,000 a year and in 2016 the superintendent received a 2-year contract extension. In December 2017 the school board released the superintendent.  

The amount of benefits received in the agreement were not disclosed and are part of a second open records request in January. Details from that second request were never received.  According to a story posted Jan. 18, 2018

The agreement also indicates Olson would receive full salary “less applicable withholdings” for the remainder of his contract. He will also receive moving expenses of $10,000 and unused vacation of $10,432.63.

 

During tonight’s executive session the board will also look into purchasing more property. That purchase site has not been disclosed.

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