Districts look to pass Nov. 6 referenda for new schools, security, technology

Several school districts in southern Wisconsin will ask voters for a “yes” or “no” on referenda for the Nov. 6 election. Below is a breakdown of some of the major referenda in our area, including funding for new elementary, middle and high schools, as many districts project enrollment growth. A majority of the districts are also hoping to invest in more safety and security features for school buildings. Technology updates and accommodations for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classrooms and labs are also a top priority for the upcoming vote.

School District of Beloit Turner

The district will have a one-question referendum to approve spending for a new elementary school and renovating the high school. The referendum failed to pass in April 2018 by three votes, so the Board of Education has approved a new referendum for the Nov. 6 election.

Question 1:

  • $26.49 million for a new elementary school and renovations to the high school

  • High school renovations include STEM expansions

What differs from April 2018?

  • Single-court gymnasium and multi-purpose room for a new elementary school instead of a two-court gym

  • Larger investment in safety and security improvements at Powers Elementary and the middle/high school

  • Inclusion of new art spaces

If the referendum passes, the district would close Townview Elementary School and build the new elementary school (grades 2-5) on district-owned property northwest of the high school. Second grade would be moved from Powers Elementary to the new school. According to the district’s website, Townview Elementary is the district’s most inefficient building to operate. The district also found a need for improvements at the middle/high school, including school security and the gymnasium.

Tax Impact: Annual increase of $99 per $100,000 of property value

Informational Meetings:

  • Oct. 24; 6:30 p.m. at Turner High School Library

  • Nov. 1; 6:30 p.m. at Turner High School Library

More Information on the Beloit Turner Referendum

Big Foot Union High School District

The district hopes to build a new outdoor athletic facility with a two-question referendum. The current outdoor athletic facilities no longer fill the needs of the school, and certain fields and surfaces have not seen any attention in more than 20 years. The tax rate is expected to drop after 2018 if the two questions pass.

Question 1:

  • $7.8 million for building an outdoor athletic facility on district-owned land

Major project items include:

  • Lighted, turfed baseball/softball quadplex with concessions and bathrooms

  • Turf football/soccer grass practice field

  • New “Home” bleachers

  • Football/soccer ticket and concession building

  • Additional two tennis courts and lights for evening community use

  • New track facilities

  • Auxiliary parking lot with ADA compliant stalls

Question 2:

  • Exceed the revenue limit by $350,000 per year for three years, beginning with the 2019-20 school year

  • The money would be used for employing a school resource officer, technology improvements, and maintenance improvements, including roof repair, and site and parking lot improvements

Tax Impact: The levy from 2014 referendum is expiring at the completion of the 2018-19 school year. The levy dollars used to address the two 2018 referendum questions is less per year than the 2014 referendum. The tax rate is expected to drop by $7 per $100,000 of property value between 2018-19 and 2019-20. It is then expected to drop by $2 for every $100,000 each year for two years.

Informational Meetings:

  • Oct. 11; 7 p.m. at Sharon Elementary

  • Oct. 17; 7 p.m. at BFHS Auditorium

  • Oct. 30; 7 p.m. at BFHS Auditorium

More Information on the Big Foot Union High School District Referendum

Dodgeville School District

The district hopes to provide new opportunities to student and community groups, as well as groups outside of the Dodgeville area, by building an auditorium and gym.

Question 1:

  • $10 million for a new auditorium and gymnasium at Dodgeville High School

  • Auditorium seating for 500 people, dressing and green rooms and a dedicated lobby

  • Competition gym with 1,200 seating capacity, a multi-purpose room, and training and team rooms

The Dodgeville School District does not currently have a dedicated space for plays, musicals, recitals, concerts and large group activities or presentations. According to the district’s website, there is a “need for additional gym space to meet the District’s expanded programming and community needs.”

Tax Impact: An annual increase of $17 for every $100,000 of property value

Informational Meeting: Oct. 23; 6:30 p.m. at DHS Commons

More Information on the Dodgeville School District Referendum

Edgerton School District

There will be a two-question referendum to fund a new combined primary and intermediate school on the Community Elementary School property, and an improvement project throughout the district.

Question 1:

  • $40.6 million total

  • $29.9 million is budgeted to expand and renovate Community Elementary School to create a primary (K-2) and intermediate (3-5) school

  • Combined facility would offer flexibility for future growth

  • The renovation would include and addition of more than 46,000 square feet of classroom space

  • Renovations at the high school, including science labs, cafeteria and a secure entrance

  • District-wide building infrastructure and maintenance improvements

Question 2:

  • Exceed the revenue limit by $1.25 million starting with the 2018-19 school year for operational expenses

Many of the classrooms are too small and have not been updates since their original construction. The classrooms need greater flexibility and electrical capacity to meet technology demands. The district wants to update the middle and high school science labs to support “hands-on, project-based learning.”

Tax Impact: $48 annual increase per $100,000 of property value for Question 1; $50 annual increase per $100,000 of property value for Question 2

Informational Meeting: Oct. 23; 6:30-8 p.m. at the high school cafeteria

More Information on the Edgerton School District Referendum

Evansville Community School District

The district will ask voters two questions to approve spending for a new middle school, and more than $1 million per year in operational expenses.

Question 1:

  • $1.2 million referendum for each of the next five years, for a total of $6 million

  • Maintain school class size, continue to offer college and AP courses, and invest in staffing and curriculum, textbook and technology updates

  • The district says funding from the 2014 operational referenda will end in 2019

Question 2:

  • $34 million for a new middle school and improvements to the high school and Grove Campus

  • New middle school built on JC McKenna Middle School site

  • Cafeteria and library would remain, but additions include a secure entrance; two-story classroom wing; STEM classrooms; new gym, fitness center and locker rooms; band, choir and art rooms; and separate bus and parent drop-off/pick-up areas

  • Safety, security and building infrastructure would be improved for Grove Campus

  • New roof for Evansville High School

Tax Impact: Question 1 would increase annual taxes by $9 per $100,000 of property value, and Question 2 would result in a $15 annual increase

Informational Meetings:

  • Oct. 17; 6 p.m. at Middle School Cafeteria

  • Oct. 28; 10:15 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church

  • Oct. 29; 6 p.m. at Grove Campus

More Information on the Evansville Community School District Referendum

Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District

The district will have two questions on the Nov. 6 ballot, asking voters to approve spending for a new elementary school and its operational expenses.

Question 1:

  • $138.9 million for a new elementary school by Pope Farm Conservancy

  • Demo and reconstruct part of Middleton High School

  • Build a cafeteria addition on Park Elementary

  • Remodel Clark Street Community School

Question 2:

  • $4.8 million for staffing and operational expenses for the new and expanded facilities

According to the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, enrollment is expected to be more than 1,100 students over capacity in four years, and more than 2,200 students over capacity in the next 10 years. If the referendum passes, the high school will have 3,000 students when renovations are complete. The district decided not to pursue building another high school due to unequal programming and higher costs.

Tax Impact: If the two questions pass, the tax rate would increase by about $199 annually for every $100,000 of property value

Informational Meeting: Oct. 15th; 7 p.m. at Middleton High School

More Information on the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District Referendum

Mineral Point Unified School District

The district will ask voters to approve spending for renovations and expansions to the elementary school, and to exceed the revenue limit for operational costs.

Question 1:

  • $11.92 million for renovations and an addition to the existing elementary building

  • Renovate and update first and second floor

  • Parking, bus lane and storm water improvements

  • Construction of a secure lobby, office and classroom addition

  • Gym and Phy Ed addition

Question 2:

  • Exceed revenue limit by $350,000 annually for operational costs

Tax Impact: Question 1 would increase the tax rate by $178 annually for every $100,000 of property value, and Question 2 would increase the tax rate by $74 annually for every $100,000 of property value.

Informational Meetings:

  • Oct. 23; 5 p.m. Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce Board at Chamber Office (225 High Street)

  • Oct. 24; 7 p.m. Open House in the MP Elementary Gym (611 Cothern Street)

More Information on the Mineral Point Unified School District Referendum

Monona Grove School District

The district will ask voters to approve spending for a new elementary school and its operational expenses.

Question 1:

  • $57 million total for facilities

  • $33.5 million would be used for a new elementary school (grades 3-5) on district-owned land in Cottage Grove

  • $14.8 million budgeted for maintenance and repairs

  • $7.2 million would be used for safety and security improvements

  • $1.5 million budgeted for reconstruction of the high school track and athletic field

Question 2:

  • $930,000 annual spending to operate the new elementary school

The Monona Grove School District expects to grow by more than 700 students in the next 10 years. The new elementary school would be completed in the summer of 2021. Taylor Prairie Elementary School is projected to exceed capacity in the next two years, Glacial Drumlin Middle School in the next three years, and Cottage Grove Elementary School in the next five years.

Tax Impact: Approval of Question 1 would increase the tax rate by $29 annually for every $100,000 of property value, and Question 2 would increase it by $46 annually for every $100,000

Informational Meetings:

  • Oct. 15; 6:30 p.m. Village of Cottage Grove Board Meeting at Village Hall

  • Oct. 24; 9 a.m. Donuts with Dan at School Grounds Coffee in Cottage Grove

More Information on the Monona Grove School District Referendum

School District of Monroe

The district will ask two questions to fund operating expenses and to address maintenance projects and immediate needs at Parkside Elementary School and Monroe Middle School. If the two questions pass, there will be no tax increase.

Question 1

  • Exceed the revenue limit by $1.5 million per year beginning in the 2019-20 school year for five years

  • Maintain current programming, services, class sizes and elective offerings

  • Reauthorizes the expiring 2016 referendum at the same amount

Question 2

  • $3.36 million for school improvement program

  • HVAC improvements, energy efficiency projects, safety updates, and capital maintenance projects at Parkside Elementary School and Monroe Middle School

Tax Impact: None

More Information on the School District of Monroe Referendum

New Glarus School District

There will be two questions on the ballot asking voters for a referendum to exceed the revenue limit for operating expenses and for future planning. The increase in spending would not raise the tax rate.

Question 1:

  • Exceed the revenue limit by $500,000 starting in the 2019-20 school year

  • Covers operating expenses and to pay for curriculum and facilities updates as the high school sees a significant increase in enrollment

Question 2:

  • One-year referendum to exceed spending limits by $1.2 million to purchase land

  • Land would be used to plan for the future

According to the New Glarus School District’s website, there are no specific plans for the land at this time, but a facilities study is being conducted to review current buildings and educational spaces. The new land would be a 45.9-acre plot in the Village of New Glarus. It is bordered by Legler Valley Road and has outlets to Windlach/8th Street and 10th Avenue. Leaders say the high school is expected to grow by at least 90 students in the next four years.

Tax Impact: None

More Information on the New Glarus School District Referendum

Oregon School District

The Oregon School District is hoping to pass a referendum to build a new elementary school to address overcrowding issues in grades K-6.

Question 1:

  • Build a new K-6 elementary school for $44.9 million

  • New school will be built in Fitchburg, which is in the northern part of the district – the area that is experiencing the most growth

Question 2

  • Approve $2.1 million annually to cover operating expenses for the new school

  • This would extend a previously approved maintenance referendum

The new middle school would open for the 2020-21 school year. The cost of the referendum includes land for a new middle school as well, which is Phase 2 of the plan. The district is projected to grow by 2,000 students by the year 2030. Rome Corners Intermediate and the elementary schools are expected to be overcrowded within two years, and Oregon Middle School is projected to reach capacity by 2025.

Tax Impact: $65 annual increase for every $100,000 of property value for Question 1, and $69 annual increase per $100,000 in property for Question 2

Informational Meeting: Oct. 15; 6 p.m. at Rome Corners Intermediate School

More Information on the Oregon School District Referendum

School District of Poynette

The district will ask one question to approve a $28.39-million-dollar budget for a new elementary school and other updates.

Question 1:

  • $23 million for a new elementary school on district-owned land

  • $1 million for high school safety and security updates

  • $2.9 million for district-wide infrastructure updates

  • $1.5 million for updated to high school STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Agriculture and Math) classrooms and labs

The district determined that enrollment is not increasing, but the elementary school lacks “appropriate spaces for today’s teaching and learning needs.” Many of the classrooms are segregated from their peers, and are too small and have no access to natural light. The new K-4 school would be built near the Poynette Dekorra Fire Department, west of Highway 51 along West North Street.

Tax Impact: An annual increase of $139 per $100,000 of property value

Informational Meetings:

  • Oct. 17; 6 p.m. at Poynette Public Library

  • Oct. 30; 6 p.m. Referendum information shared at the PHS Athletics Code of Conduct Meeting at Poynette High School

More Information on the School District of Poynette Referendum

Viroqua Area Schools

The district will have a one-question referendum asking the community to support an investment of $36.8 million into updated classrooms, technology and security.

Question 1:

  • $20.3 million for improvements at the middle/high school

  • $16.5 million for the elementary school

  • New and remodeled classrooms, tech and ag labs, and flexible learning spaces

  • Secure entrances and safety features in all the buildings

  • New and remodeled student and community spaces

  • Investment in building infrastructure

Enrollment in the Viroqua Area School District is growing, classrooms are crowded, and space is tight in the gyms and cafeterias. The schools also have outdated security systems and learning spaces. The one-question referendum is the district’s way of planning for the future.

Tax Impact: An annual increase of $315 per $100,000 of property value

Informational Meetings:

  • Oct. 10; 6:30 p.m. at the high school band room

  • Oct. 12; 9:30 a.m. at the district office

More Information on the Viroqua Area Schools Referendum

Watertown Unified School District

The district will ask one question to partially fund educational programs, services and building maintenance. The goal of the referendum is to help with the current and future deficit, and its passing will not impact the tax rate.

Question 1

  • Exceed the revenue limit by an average of $3.3 million per year for each of the next five years

  • District is facing a budget deficit of $2 million for the 2018-19 year and $4 million annually over the next five years

  • The primary reason for the deficit is declining student enrollment, and years of low-spending and making reductions

Tax Impact: None

Informational Meeting: Oct. 29; 6 p.m. at Watertown High School in the Media Center

More Information on the Watertown Unified School District Referendum

School District of Wisconsin Dells

One question will ask voters to approve spending for a new high school and other updates.

Question 1:

  • $33.69 million

  • Money would build a new high school and convert the existing high school building into a middle school for grades 6-8

  • Some spending would preserve Lake Delton, Neenah Creek and Spring Hill Elementary, and provide relief to the overcrowding at Spring Hill

Todd and Shari Nelson, 1979 graduates of Wisconsin Dells High School, donated 80 acres of the Brew Farm for the new high school in 2017. The district also received a $23.5-million pledge from the village and city, and another $500,000 donation. Leaders say the new high school and conversion of the current high school would allow the district to create a “middle school learning environment customized to our middle school staff and student needs.”

Tax Impact: Annual increase of $86 per $100,000 of property value

Informational Meetings:

  • Oct. 16; 7:30 p.m. at the WDHS library

  • Oct. 29; 7:30 p.m. at the WDHS library as part of the board meeting

More Information on the School District of Wisconsin Dells Referendum

If your school district is not on our list, or if you have a story idea regarding the Nov. 6 referenda in your area, please email us at news@nbc15.com.