DeForest School District to vote on $125 million referendum for facility upgrades

DEFOREST, Wis. (WMTV) - The DeForest School District has seen growth over the past ten years.

“We’re projected by the year 2030 to have over 5,000 students,” says Superintendent Eric Runez. “That’s a growth of around 100, 150 students annually.”

Runez says DeForest isn’t alone in seeing a spike in population.

“I think the reality is Dane County in particular is experiencing a lot of growth both economically and residentially,” he said. “That’s resulted in our enrollment climbing and continue to project to climb.”

The two question referendum will ask for $125 million dollars. Of that cost, $57.4 million is for a new intermediate school for grades 4-6.

The next largest request is around $60 million dollars for an addition to the high school. It would include a new pool which Runez says is very outdated.

“We have a pool that was built in 1969 that has really kind of hit the end of its life expectancy,” he said.

The addition would also include a three-station gymnasium which allows the high school to expand its cafeteria and common area spaces.

The referendum also calls for the closing of Morrisonville Elementary School and Holum Education Center which both no longer meet American Disability Act requirements.

“When we look at the cost of addressing those ADA issues it just isn’t cost effective when you compare how much it would cost and the actual benefit to students or staff,” Runez explained.

Other improvements include renovating a portion of the middle school and Yahara Elementary. The DeForest Area School District Operations would move into the new intermediate school.

Currently there are four K-4 elementary schools, one 5-8 middle school, and one high school. The proposed would be three K-3 elementary schools, one 4-6 intermediate school, one 7-8 junior high, and the high school.

Question Two on the referendum asks for $2.5 million to help fund staffing costs and focus on staff-retention for the district.

As for the tax impacts, the district outlines its $180 per year for a property value of $100,000 for question 1. For the same property value, question two is about $94 per year.

The rounds out to be about $275 per year for a property value of $100,000.

“There are clearly tax impacts,” said Runez. “But it’s a reality that as communities grow infrastructure needs to grow along with it.”

To read more about the referendum, head to the DeForest School District website.

To read more about the other referenda in area school districts, head to our Election Page