On January 15, 2018, the Sparta Area School District (SASD) Board of Education approved a resolution to place two facility referendum questions on the April 3 ballot.
On April 3rd, the community voted yes on both questions and approved the referendum projects.
Enrollment Growth & Overcrowding
Over the past 5 years, we have seen an enrollment increase of 287 students in the Sparta Area School District. This steady growth has pushed enrollment past capacity in all but one of our elementary and intermediate schools. As capacity is reduced, we have repurposed non-traditional spaces for educational use, including an unfinished basement as a temporary library/computer space, and a nurse’s office in a custodial closet. While these spaces are a short-term stop-gap, they are untenable for our continued needs and basic educational requirements given our current and projected growth rates.
Educational Inadequacies for Modern Learning
Because student enrollment growth exceeds capacity, we have made concessions in the learning environments of all our schools. We cannot currently support large and small group instruction, flexible student grouping, sensory spaces, and hands-on, active learning to the degree that we should be. In order to provide the most modern learning opportunities to our students, we need to address our space shortages now and give our students room to learn.
Debt Reduction/Fiscal Responsibility
SASD has low overall debt. Because we incur debt judiciously, a portion of your state tax dollars comes back to Sparta for projects like new buildings and building upgrades. This project would be state funded at somewhere between 67% and 70%. Without this judicious debt, your state tax dollars would go to benefit other communities and school districts. The current debt for Meadowview Middle School will be paid in 2019. The Meadowview debt is NOT the same as a traditional loan or mortgage; it is state aided. Therefore, when it is paid, taxes will go down somewhat, but only for the non-aided portion of the total debt. Because of our strong financial position, we would receive about 66% state aid on new debt for both referendum questions.
Reallocating Existing Space for Growth
Building a new elementary school and improving current elementary schools would enable us to reallocate space in existing buildings for better capacity distribution.
The following questions were on the April 3rd ballot.
Base Plan – $28.5 Million
Shall the Sparta Area School District, Monroe County, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $28,500,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of acquiring land, preparing the land for construction and constructing and equipping a new elementary school?
Build a NEW 800-student Elementary School to expand capacity.
- Acquire 18-23 acres of land
- Prepare the land for construction
- Construct a 105,000 SF building
- Equip the new elementary School
Base Plan + Project – $4 Million
Shall the Sparta Area School District, Monroe County, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $4,000,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of constructing improvements and updates to Southside School, Maplewood School, Lakeview School and Lawrence-Lawson School?
Improvements to existing Elementary Schools to address ALL capacity needs for foreseeable future.
Referendum Tax Information
What Will Be My Tax Increase?
The estimated maximum mill rate increase is $0.21 (Base Plan) or $0.38 (Base Plan + Project) per $1,000 valuation.*
*20-Year borrowing at a rate of 4.25%. Mill rate based on 2017 Equalized Valuation (TID-OUT) of $1,130,046,010 with annual growth of 1.00%. Tax impact estimates provided by Robert W. Baird & Co.
Why Is My Tax Increase Minimized:
- The District will make the final payment on the 1998 Referendum in 2019.
- The local cost of the 2018 Referendum will be reduced significantly by state aid reimbursement.
Timeline of Events
- April 3, 2018
- Vote Day
- April-Sept. 2018
- Educational Programming
- Sept. 2018-Feb. 2019
- Design Documents and Bidding
- Feb. 2019-Aug. 2020
- Aug. 2020
- Estimated Completion
New Elementary Bubble Diagram