Referendum

APRIL 4, 2017 - REFERENDUM INFORMATION

QUESTION NUMBER I

Shall the School District of Thorp, Clark and Taylor Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $4,500,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a district-wide school building and improvement program consisting of: renovations and additions for a locker room and a secured entrance; other capital improvement projects; site improvements; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment?

QUESTION NUMBER II

Shall the School District of Thorp, Clark and Taylor Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $3,200,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of the construction and equipping of an activity center on the current campus?

Why Now and Why do These Needs Exist?

Although regular maintenance has been done within the school buildings, it’s time for some renovations, repairs and space needs. The district’s current debt payments on the Agriculture/Technical Education addition will be paid in full in 2017. We can address current capital needs now before the existing facilities deteriorate more and while construction costs are low. The existing High School was constructed in 1963 and has served the district well. However, there are significant issues that need repair such as flooring, locker rooms, space needs and others as described in the information above. The existing Elementary School was constructed in 1992 and it needs minor upgrades in finishes that have lasted for over 25 years. These are capital needs that must be addressed immediately and in the near future to avoid more costly repairs/replacements. Capital projects would be addressed and completed in approximately 2 years.

Is the proposed referendum a result of deferred maintenance?

No, the district has done a good job of maintaining the schools. Some components have been maintained beyond their expected useful life and it’s time to replace them (finishes, casework, painting, doors and hardware).

School District Building Improvement Actions since 2009-10

* ACT 32 Energy Efficient upgrades resulting in lower utility costs.

Purchased Chrome books for every student

New elementary roof

New high school lockers and new 5th and 6th grade lockers

Remodeled Ag and Science classrooms and elementary office

High School Multi-Purpose Room received facelift

New bleachers in high school gym

Refinished high school gym floor

New curtain in high school gym

Upgrades to distance learning lab

Added parking to elementary school

Purchased new playground equipment and basketball hoops

New sound system for elementary, high school, and football field

Resealed high school parking lot

New greenhouse

Repaved track

Painted several classrooms and hallways

How much will it cost? / What is the current mill rate and what will it be if the referendum passes per question?

The current mill rate for the 2016-17 school year is $7.73/$1,000 of property value.

When would the proposed projects be complete?

If approved, projects would begin in Fall 2017 and would continue until the end of the Summer 2018.

What will happen if the referendum doesn’t pass?

The capital needs to be addressed with this referendum won’t go away if the referendum doesn’t pass and will likely get worse over time. Currently, interest rates for new debt and construction costs are low. Delaying the projects will make it tougher and more expensive to address in the future as costs will likely be higher and needs will become more extensive. The Board of Education will determine next steps if the referendum questions do not pass.

Will local contractors be used?

The district has agreed to work with a Construction Manager on the project should the referendum pass. The entire project will be put out to bid in various bid packages to ensure local contractors will get the opportunity to bid. This will keep the bid packages small and allow the district to get the best value for the money spent.

Why should I be concerned about these projects?

Research shows that public school quality is one of the most important determinants of home value. Schools directly affect a community’s vitality and home resale values. The more attractive a community, the more likely people are to live, work and shop there. Strong schools mean strong communities!

How many Seats will the new Activity Center Hold?

The current layout will allow the district to hold 600 in the platform seating that it will contain. There is the potential to hold more seating on the floor if need be or add to the platform seating for additional seating should the need be there.

How will the community benefit from the Activity center?

In last week’s article, the community was informed that on April 4, people will have the opportunity to vote in favor of passing a referendum to address a number of needs brought forth by the Building Committee. One of those needs is that of an activity center.

An activity center would help resolve many of the complaints from parents, etc. in regards to seating during concerts. The concerts present a problem due to the lack of seating available. Since the seating is not tiered, people are forced to look over or between the people sitting in front of them if they want to see their child perform. With only two tiers (levels) that can be used, the school is limited on the number of chairs that can be set up for a performance. Even with two performances being offered for the elementary concerts, the second performance at night is so full that many people end up standing in the back due to a lack of space.

The activity center would also allow for earlier practices for the elementary students in basketball and volleyball. There are nights when these students are not done practicing until 8:30 – 9:00 P.M. The reason for the late practice stems from the middle school either practicing or playing a game in the elementary gym on those nights.

Another key component of the activity center would be the availability to be used by the community for meetings. The plan calls for a meeting room and restrooms within the facility. By providing restrooms, people using this area do not need to go into other parts of the school. The meeting room would be accessible during the day and could be reserved in advance.

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE REFERENDUM?

WOULD YOU LIKE US TO RETURN A CALL OR SET A TIME TO VISIT IN PERSON OR AS A SMALL GROUP?

PLEASE CONTACT US:

District Superintendent - John Humphries - jhumphries@thorp.k12.wi.us - 715-669-5401 ext. 2020

High School Principal - William Hass - jhass@thorp.k12.wi.us - 715-669-5401 ext. 2010

Middle / Elementary Principal - Tyler Nelson - tnelson@thorp.k12.wi.us - 715-669-5548 ext. 1090

Board of Education:

President - Marie Karaba - mkaraba@thorp.k12.wi.us

Vice President - David Burke - dburke@thorp.k12.wi.us

Clerk - Jeanette Kodl - jkodl@thorp.k12.wi.us

Treasurer - Brenda Henke - bhenke@thorp.k12.wi.us

Board Member - Ty Schneider - tschneider@thorp.k12.wi.us