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