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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is now the best time to update our facilities?

How did we go from $.77 per $1000 of property value to $.36 per $1000 of property value?

Why do the Middle and High School learning environments need to be updated?

Why does the middle school need a new gym?

What dollars have already been spent on the investigative process for the referendum?

What is the direct cost to the tax payer for the referendum information (cards, mailers, website etc)?

If the referendum is approved, will the conceptual plan be the end design?

If the referendum does not pass what will be the tax impact?

Will the passing referendum impact the operating budget?

Why haven’t you been able to take care of capital projects in the year-to-year operating budget?

Why do you need more space?

What would be the expected start and finish date of the project?

With the Kewaskum Career Academy (KCA) in the conceptual plan of the high school, what would become of the current KCA?

What happens if the project is more or less expensive than the estimates?

Why is now the best time to update our facilities?
The Long Range Planning Committee and the District determined there is a compelling need to renovate our middle and high schools.  The District has been good stewards of taxpayers' dollars allowing for the debt from the 1999 elementary school project to retire early, which creates an opportunity to renovate our facilities without a large fluctuation in the tax rate.  Additionally, interest rates are at a historic low.

How did we go from $.77 per $1000 of property value to $.36 per $1000 of property value?
We listened to the community by analyzing the survey results.  We reduced the scope of the project by reducing the size of the middle school gym and office.  Moreover, we reduced the amount of new construction by renovating existing space and eliminating new cafeteria and special education space. 

Why do the Middle and High School learning environments need to be updated?

Tech Ed (Shop class to many of us) - There is a growing demand for skilled trades and professionals in manufacturing, engineering and design in our region. Our goal is to integrate more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education into our traditional technical education program. However, the current layout of our classrooms limits the ability to incorporate technology and equipment to provide hands-on learning opportunities. The renovation would create flexible learning spaces and improved woods, metals and manufacturing spaces.

Science Labs - The school science facilities have not been updated since they were originally built. These labs are too small and many plumbing fixtures, gas jets, electrical infrastructure, and work stations are worn out and need to be replaced. The spaces were not designed to support the current science classes nor any new offerings. The project would place a new agricultural science classroom and greenhouse next to renovated high school science labs to allow for collaboration and shared resources.

Classroom Renovations - Many classrooms have remained untouched for more than four decades. Due to their age, the classrooms have insufficient lighting, poor acoustics, inadequate ventilation, and lack sufficient electrical capacity to support technology. In addition, today’s classrooms require flexible space for large group and small group collaboration.

Why does the middle school need a new gym?
The middle school currently uses a hallway as the cafeteria. The area is too small for the student population, requiring students to be served lunch over multiple periods. A larger cafeteria area will allow for more efficient serving and increased seating. The re-purposing of the middle school gym into the much needed cafeteria will also allow for a needed large group instruction area that will be beneficial for classroom activities as well as community use.

The current middle school gym is inadequate to meet the physical education needs of middle school students.  Specifically the height dimensions of the ceiling limits the curriculum options of our physical education classes and after school activities. Consequently, it is prudent to re-purpose the current gym. With the middle school kitchen located next to this space, the most cost effective way to re-purpose this area is to utilize it as a cafeteria as well as a large group instructional space. Constructing a new gym with appropriate dimensions enables us to fully utilize the gym area with classroom activities and sports, as well as recapture the lost gym space that occurred during the remodeling of the high school which turned Rose Hall into the library and theater.

What dollars have already been spent on the investigative process of the referendum?
In April 2015 the Board approved an action to hire Bray Architects to examine possible building needs with expenses not to exceed $15,000. The district has paid $14,000 to Bray.  The district has also worked with PMA Securities.  Their fee is contingent on “closing of the transaction.” In other words, their fee is only charged when there is a successful referendum, subsequent financing(s), and closing of the financing(s).  Construction Manager CD Smith is not requesting fees as it pertains to the referendum planning. The reason they do not request a fee is two-fold.  They have a past relationship with the district which they value.  Additionally, they have employees who live and are involved in the district.  They look forward to a successful referendum and to be the general contractor for the potential project.   

What is the direct cost to the tax payer for the referendum information (cards, mailers, website etc)?
There are miscellaneous costs associated with the distribution of referendum  information which is included in the 2016-17 approved budget.  The referendum is informational in nature and a robust communication plan is necessary to ensure all district residents are aware of the facts before they are presented with the ballot question.  A budget of $15,000 was available, as of November 21 $8,543.94 was incurred.

If the referendum is approved will the conceptual plan be the end design?
A conceptual plan is the initial step in the design process. The project itself can not vary out of the scope of the ballot question. There is a high cost to develop the full design.  Without an approved referendum we would not want to incur the cost of a final plan.  Upon referendum approval, a full design and complete engineering of the project takes place.  

If the referendum does not pass what will be the tax impact?
If the referendum is not successful, the District’s tax rate and levy for debt will decrease over the next couple of years.  A number of factors affect a homeowners tax bill and it's impossible to predict the impact on an individuals property tax.  However, the tax rate is projected to decrease by an average of $0.46 per year in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

Will the passing referendum impact the operating budget?
We do anticipate an increase in costs associated with maintaining the additional square footage, however, we also predict energy efficiency savings due to the improvements in building systems.

 Why haven't you been able to take care of capital projects in the year-to-year operating budget?

Wisconsin school districts have been subject to State imposed revenue limits since 1993. Kewaskum, like most school districts in the State, works hard to balance the budget on an annual basis and keeps spending within these revenue controls. However, it is difficult to fund large scale capital projects, including renovations and additions to facilities, within the constraints of the normal operating budget. This creates the need for referendum approval by the taxpayers of a school district.  The Board of Education did not believe stacking more debt on top of the existing elementary school debt was fiscally responsible. If the 2016 referendum is successful, the repayment of the new debt will begin after the 1999 elementary referendum debt is retired.

Why do you need more space?
Kewaskum Middle school was built in the 1970's when the enrollment and learning space considerations were much different. Per School Planning & Management’s 20th Annual School Construction Report the regional median square feet per student at the middle school level is 207.2. With a student population averaging just above 400 students over the last few years, the "right-sized" middle school should be between 80,000 to 85,000 square feet. Our current middle school size is roughly 58,000 square feet  The new construction, which will connect the middle and high schools will help make KMS the "right-size". The addition will include science labs that will allow all students to participate in labs and a gym that will allow the physical education teachers to have the appropriate amount of space to effectively deliver their curriculum for both of their individual classes.

What would be the expected start and finish date of the project?
It will take approximately 8-9 months to design, engineer, and bid the project. We anticipate construction to start in the summer of 2017 with a completion date in the fall or witner of 2018.

With the Kewaskum Career Academy (KCA) in the conceptual plan of the high school, what would become of the current KCA?
By moving the KCA back into the high school, we will be able to move the district office space into the KCA building.  This would allow the district to save on rent costs associated with the use of the Regal Ware building.

What happens if the project is more or less expensive than the estimates?
The question on the ballot is "Shall the Kewaskum Area School District, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan and Washington Counties, Wisconsin, be authorized to issue, pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $28,420,000 for the public purpose of paying for the cost of site improvements, new construction, renovation and modernization of Kewaskum Middle School and Kewaskum High School and acquiring furnishings, fixtures and equipment related to same?" By State Statute, the amount borrowed cannot exceed the amount stated on the ballot, and the funds can only be used for the purpose listed. Consequently, no more than $28,420,000 can be bonded for additions and remodeling of the middle and high schools, as well as equipment for these schools. This means money cannot be reallocated and spent on the elementary schools or addressing outdoor facility needs such as the Doc Mitchell Athletic Complex.

Contact Us
1675 Reigle Drive, Suite 100
P.O. Box 37
Kewaskum, WI 53040