2020 Referendum

April 7, 2020

Public Meeting - March 31, at 5:00 pm in the School Commons has been canceled due to the mandatory closure.

Ask your Referendum questions, click here!

For Brochure document click here.

Responses to questions:

  • 1. My neighbor saw the amounts of other districts' referendums and had a question about how we compare with the other districts' populations, number of students, cost per student and a cost per taxpayer. I'm not sure how to answer beyond I think we are all districts with low populations and high percentages of non-resident property owners, which makes us look like rich districts and hurts us in state aid formulas. But can you explain for us the per student spending? I'm sure it varies from year to year with the student population. Thank you!
    • A: Per pupil spending between school districts is generally not an apples to apples comparison. Small rural schools generally have lower class sizes which will increase the per student spending. An example would be the per pupil cost in a math class of 10 students will be higher than the per pupil costs with a math class with 25 students. Another example would be when two school buildings are approximately the same size and one holds 100 students and another one holds 200 students and the cost of utilities are approximately the same, however the per student cost in the building with 100 students would be higher than the per student cost in the building with 200 students. Another example would be bus cost. Whether there are 20 students or 50 students on a bus, the cost to run that bus is the same because the miles it travels is the same. If the cost to run a bus per day is $100, then the per pupil amount for 20 students is $5.00. If there are 50 students on the bus, the cost per pupil is $2.00. This is often referred to as economies of scale. More demographic information about different school districts can be found on the department of public instruction website. https://wisedash.dpi.wi.gov/Dashboard/portalHome.jsp
  • 2. What would the estimated school tax impact be on the 5 year referendum?
  • 3. How much does this district currently spend per pupil?
    • A: $14,318.00. This information can be found on the DPI School Level Reporting District Report 2019/2020.
  • 4. How big of a generator is the school going to get?
    • A: We are still receiving quotes on different designs that fall within our budget. The latest quote included a 3 phase, 208 volt, 150 kw natural gas generator.
  • 5. Will you provide detail as to how the last referendum monies were spent?
    • A: This is the last year of the current 5 year referendum and we are projecting a $163,391.00 budget deficit. In the last referendum, we remodeled the science classroom and addressed unsafe parking and sidewalk issues along with roof and road drainage problems on the northside of the school. The northside project was a cost effective project done in conjunction with a road and drainage project that the village completed.
  • 6. How much is the bus garage going to cost?
    • A: We have budgeted $100,000 per year for 5 years to complete the 4 projects identified in the referendum brochure. At this point we only have rough estimates of the outdoor storage/bus garage.
  • 7. How does our students academic performance compare to the state average?
    • The district met expectations on the most recent district report card. The High school exceeded the state average in growth in English language Arts and math. The elementary school was less than 1 point from obtaining an exceeds expectations rating on the district report card.
  • 8. Do you have a quote for a bus garage?
    • See answer for #6.
  • 9. How big is the bus garage going to be?
    • We are working on a design that will hold up to 3 buses and up to 2 district vans. In addition we need space for outdoor maintenance equipment. The bus garage will generate revenue in the form of rent from the bus company that we contract with for student transportation.
  • 10. How does the generator help the school provide a community shelter?
    • The generator will provide electricity to the school in case of a power outage in the community. The district has an agreement with the Red Cross to be a shelter for the community in case of a disaster. A generator would give the school the ability to provide lights, water, and shelter for the community if needed.
  • 11. I have some questions here regarding the brochure and the referendum. 1. Under Why A Referendum? You say that it is "to maintain current academic programs and extracurricular activities for students." But then in the gray box at the bottom of the page, it says that the Referendum will address four deferred maintenance projects. What negative effect have these deferred projects had or will have on our students, if they continue to be deferred? 2. The budget deficit listed for the coming years shows that a referendum of 700k will cover the school for 2020-2022, but will be inadequate to cover costs starting in 2023. Will the surplus of $278,131 be set aside to cover the deficit of $244,557 in the last two years? 3. The difference between the surplus and deficit is $33,574. Is the estimated cost for the 4 items that have been deferred under $33,574? 4. In the event that this Referendum fails, what will the school use as collateral to borrow the 1.5 million dollars needed to cover 23/24 and 24/25 and how will it be paid back? 5. Can we expect the deficit to continue growing by $100,000 a year or will there be something to slow its growth?
    • The district is asking to exceed the state revenue limited by $700,000 per year for 5 years which we project will cover operational costs and the identified deferred maintenance cost beginning with the 2020-2021 school year and ending with the 2024-25 school year. The 4 deferred maintenance projects identified in the referendum brochure are needs that the district has had and has not been able to address with the current school funding formula. If the referendum is not approved, the district will not do any deferred maintenance projects and have a projected operational budget deficit of $556,765 in 2020/2021, $590,388 in 2021/2022 and $674,716 in 2022/2023 at which time we no longer have money to operate. The district's only option to increase the allowable revenue to meet operational deficit is through a referendum.
  • 12. With White Lake having only about 178 million dollars of taxable property within the district, wouldn’t a increase of 400 thousand dollars, increase real estate tax by about four times the amount paid here, versus schools like Wabeno, and Elcho, where Real estate taxes are paid on around 800 million of property ?
    • The school tax rate is determined by dividing the district's tax levy by the district's equalized value. School districts with higher property value will generally have a lower school tax rate.
  • 13. What would the estimated school tax impact be on the 5 year referendum?
    • 2020-21......$12.76 or $1,276 on a $100,000 home
    • 2021-22......$12.81 or $1,281 on a $100,000 home
    • 2022-23......$12.60 or $1,260 on a $100,000 home
    • 2023-24......$12.37 or $1,237 on a $100,000 home
    • 2024-25......$12.14 or $1,214 on a $100,000 home
    • In 2016-17 the school tax was $13.52 or $1,352 on a $100,000 home
  • 14. I see that a bus building already exists, why the need for another?
    • The district's bus garage is currently falling apart and only has room for two buses. It doesn't provide room for district storage, outdoor equipment or secure storage for our school vans.
  • 15. How can the current bus garage be falling apart? It doesn't look that old.
    • The bus garage was built in 1979 for approximately $16,000.00. It has numerous issues with the floor, siding, roof, doors, and interior ceiling. The district receives rent from our bus contractor to house the buses used for the 3 district bus routes. The bus garage is also too small to house the district vans, outdoor equipment and much needed outdoor storage such as desks, chairs, tables, etc.
  • 16. There was something said about a ballpark??
    • Funding for improvements to the recreational field behind the school is not part of the referendum. The football/baseball field is not one of the deferred maintenance projects identified in the referendum informational flyer.
  • 17. Where does the public send in estimates or bids for the bus garage? Was it posted publicly? I haven’t seen it.
    • We currently only have rough estimates on costs to replace the bus garage. Included in the referendum is a budget of $100,000.00 per year for 5 years to complete the 4 deferred maintenance projects identified in the referendum flyer which will be spread out over the proposed 5 year spending plan. Bids that are posted for future projects can be sent to the district office.
  • 18. All the monies and donations from the Shawn Wickersheim events were never used for the dug outs or the new field at the school, nor upgraded sports equipment. I have not seen one block or brick with the names of people that paid for those either. Where are all the proceeds from that? Is it possible to use those donations and lower the referendum amount? In his memory, I thought all proceeds were to be used for the school?
    • All Shawn Wickersheim events were hosted by the public and in no way associated with the school district. All funds raised for the recreational field behind the school are still reserved for that project. With grants and fundraising we currently have $20,790.85 set aside for that project. Those funds cannot be used to lower the referendum amount as they have been provided for the field project and we are required to use those funds for such.
  • 19. Wasn’t updating the playground included in the last referendum? Why is it needed again?
    • The playground was not included in the last 5 year referendum.
  • 20. If Lamers has been charged rent all these years and no building updates have been done, where did the yearly rent monies get applied to?
    • We have completed repairs to the bus garage over the years. Revenue received from rent is applied to operating revenue and used for operating expenses. The bus garage was built in 1979 and no longer meets the needs of the school district.
  • 21. How are any of the 4 projects noted “maintaining current curriculum of the students”?
    • The deferred maintenance projects are only part of the referendum, the rest of the funds will be used to maintain current academic programs and extracurricular opportunities for students. See deferred maintenance project budget in answer to #17.
  • 22. Who is in charge from the school if the school would have to become a shelter in case of a disaster?
    • The School District Administration would work in cooperation with the Village of White Lake and County officials.
  • 23. What is the definition of a disaster that would trigger the school becoming a shelter?
    • A recent example would be the major storm that went through the county last July. Other examples include times when there have been prolonged power outages and tornadoes.
  • 24. As read in previous answers, am I understanding that for the bus garage there would be $100,000 per year for the next five years totaling a $500,000 total for the cost of a garage?!
    • No. There will be a total of $500,000 budgeted over the 5 year spending plan for the 4 deferred maintenance projects identified in the referendum flyer.
  • 25. Will you have actual coats broke down for everyone to see the exact amounts before the election? All of what I am seeing now is estimated guesses.
    • No. We currently only have estimates. Costs may vary depending on bids and what year of the 5 year spending plan projects are completed.
  • 26. What are the specifics on this garage? Pole building? Heated? Plumbing? If it’s just for the buses and storage, $100,000 is a crazy amount when those funds could go where it’s actually needed.
    • We currently only have estimates based on approximate square footage which is subject to change based on final budget, design, and when the bids are received.
  • 27. A 100 foot by 50 foot building has an estimated cost of $37,000. That is huge and would provide the space your asking for. Please explain where $500,000 would be needed. Let’s keep this accurate.
    • Please see answers to number 24, 25, and 26.
  • 28. I’d like to know who does the budget? Some have gone through past costs and budgets and there is plenty of waste and trim that could be used. Was it necessary to send teachers to a culinary class? We don’t even offer home economics as a choice course. The waste that has been put to areas un-needed should have been a concern many years ago. Maybe this school wouldn’t be in this position now had it been done.
    • The district budget is developed by the administration and staff. The budget is presented at the Annual Meeting and approved by the school board. Cost reduction efforts are made annually. The operating referendum is a result of the school funding formula which has reduced the district's state aid from $1,169,834 in 2008 to $174,811 in 2019. In 2016-17, the district's expenditures were $2,941,626. In 2019-20, the budget is expected to be $2,933,899.
  • 29. Has the school taken a poll or survey to see the interest people would have to come to the school if it would be used as a shelter?
    • The district has not taken a survey. We currently have an agreement with the Red Cross to be a shelter for the community if and when people are in need of assistance following a disaster or prolonged power outage.
  • 30. On question 13. Why does your answer show the tax going down in later years
    • The district uses a school forecasting model from Baird Financial to forecast school funding and projected mill rates. The five year financial plan presented in the referendum includes an annual 2.5% increase in equalized property value along with a projected revenue decrease which decreases the projected mill rate. As the property value increases, the mill rate decreases.