Details on Kewauskum School Referendum

This is a letter to the editor in the West Bend Daily News.

The true cost of the Kewaskum School District Referendum

I attended the presentation on the Kewaskum School District referendum last Tuesday at Farmington Elementary School. The points stood out:

The amount of money that the school district is asking to borrow is $28,420,000. We would have to borrow the money at an interest rate of between 2.75-3 percent. That leaves us, the taxpayer, paying back a total of $38 to $40 million dollars over the next 20 years. The true cost of the loan is approximately $2 million dollars a year for the next 20 years.

Superintendent Jim Smasal said the current pupil cost is approximately $9,700/ student. If the referendum is passed, the cost per student will be approximately $11,400/student. With 1,839 students in the district, that leaves us with more than $3 million more to pay next year than we paid this year. The referendum loan will account for $2 million. How does the other $1 million get paid? Higher taxes?

If one is to borrow money now, it is a good time to do it with interest rates being so low.

We are paying off a loan from the 1999 school referendum, scheduled to be paid off in two years. At that time our taxes will drop significantly if the new referendum does not pass.

What the district is asking is not only to pass a new 19 cents per $1,000 tax increase (not guaranteed), but to continue to be taxed and to continue to pay the old tax rate voted on in 1999 of about 46 cents per $1,000. The true cost of this referendum is more like 65 cents per $1,000.

As a Kewaskum School District taxpayer for the past 23 years, I want to be sure that we are spending money wisely. We need improvements in our high school and middle school. Is $40 million dollars too much, too little, or just right?

Mike Koepke Campbellsport

Too much.