The following page is archived information and past resources/materials regarding our 2022 Referendum"
Addressing Our District’s Facility Needs By Focusing On Right-Sizing and Modernizing our Schools In Support Of Financial Stability
As a result of much hard work and planning, our district is on a solid financial footing. Over the years, our West Allis-West Milwaukee School District has overcome significant fiscal challenges that threatened the long-term viability of our district. Our improved finances has created an opportunity where our district can focus on its other significant challenge, its facilities.
Our school district faces three facility-related challenges.
We Listened to the Community
Over the last year, the school board and district have engaged the community on possible solutions to address our schools' most significant facility needs.
Last year, our West Allis-West Milwaukee School District's Facilities Advisory Committee Team (FACT) began a six-month-long process to evaluate all district schools’ current condition and find consensus on a set of solutions that were presented to the school board. Agendas and minutes from the FACT meetings can be found here. With over 40 members, FACT included teachers, school and community leaders, and local residents .
In addition, this September, our district conducted a community survey in which all members of our school district community were asked to consider our district's needs and weigh in with their thoughts about possible solutions. More than 4,000 people participated in the survey, the results of which can be found here.
Based on the work of community members from across our district and feedback from the community survey, at its regular board meeting on December 20, our school board approved a referendum question that will appear on the April 5 ballot.
A Thoughtful Solution That Creates More Efficient Facilities While Providing Our Students With What They Need
The referendum question that will be forwarded to voters on April 5, 2022 is a thoughtful solution, built with the input of thousands of district residents to address our district's facility needs.
If approved by voters on April 5, the referendum will…
Close both high schools and reuse the Nathan Hale High School building to create a new, merged comprehensive and modern high school.
Merged high school: If passed, students in our district would all attend one comprehensive high school, creating the opportunity for cost savings for taxpayers and a better high school experience for students.
A new modern school from repurposed space: By closing both high schools and repurposing and remodeling the current Nathan Hale building, our district will provide students with the modern high school that our students deserve at less cost than building new.
Expanding School to Work Programming: The new high school will have expanded career and technical education ("shop") spaces that build on our district community's rich manufacturing history while creating new school-to-work pathways for our students.
Creating more efficiencies by reducing positions and having less square footage to manage.
100,000 square footage less to heat, cool and clean.
Consolidating the two (2) Comprehensive high schools would result in the following efficiencies: reduction in positions such as principal, assistant principal, secretaries, custodial and others, reduction in utility costs (electricity, eater, gas, telephone), reduction in waste removal costs, reduction in annual facility maintenance costs at the consolidated site. Total annual savings with consolidation is between $2.5 million and $3 million dollars.
If Passed, The Projected Tax Rate Would Still Be Less Than What It Was In 2020.
In creating the solution placed on the April ballot, our board evaluated community survey data and information from a community committee. Subsequently, our board created a facilities solution that addresses our district's most urgent needs in a thoughtful, responsible and fiscally conservative way.
The original project plan was a $180 million referendum. After community feedback, our board reduced the project's scope, and our district earmarked $10 million to support the project.
The borrowing amount of the referendum would not exceed $149,800,000 and create a debt service tax levy increase of roughly $119 for every $100,000 of property value.
If the referendum was approved by the voters, community members will be able to take advantage of historically low-interest rates and because of good financial planning, the projected tax rate would still be less than what it was in 2020.
What happens if this referendum does not pass?
If the high school referendum does not pass we will still need to address the infrastructure updates in our two current aging high school buildings (Hale $25.2 million and Central $36.7 million. To do this within existing budgets will mean cutting programs and increasing class sizes. We will also continue to operate two inefficient high school buildings with reduced offerings.
Our board approved a Long Range Facility Master Plan that includes a plan for consolidation and renovation of all schools.
If the high school referendum does not pass, our board will consider other parts of the long range plan and will likely come back to voters with a different and smaller referendum question to begin the process to right size and modernize our schools. What we know for sure is that the district’s facility challenges will not go away on their own and that the state funding formula for schools never expected school districts to fund major renovations within operational budgets.
Regardless of the outcome of this referendum question, our board will consider recommendations to consolidate some elementary and possibly intermediate schools that can be accomplished without the need for a referendum.